BlackBerry currently testing ads within BBM Channels

Ian Hardy

March 4, 2014 7:16 am

BlackBerry was seeking to fill the position of “Director Media Sales for BBM Channels” last year. This was a role that hinted the Waterloo-based company was potentially going to made its new social platform a source a revenue, specifically for users to “advertise their Channels by sending invites to BBM users within the channel owner’s target demographic.”

Many months later it seems the puzzle is coming together as select Beta Zone members for BBM for Android are now testing two types of ads within BBM Channels — sponsored invites and sponsored channels posts. BlackBerry notes that the sponsored invites ads will, as expected, appear in the invites section of BBM, and the sponsored channel posts arrive in the updates section. Very Twitter-like with ‘sponsored Tweets,” or how Facebook sells its ads.

BlackBerry has over 80 million BBM users and this might revenue generator might only be heading for cross-platform BBM (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone). BBM for BlackBerry device will reportedly remain clear of ads.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 10.40.00 PM

Source: BerryReview

  • WhoCares1000

    I have noticed that things seem to move quicker since Chen took over. Most promises that were made by him have been on time or earlier. It’s a positive change to see.

    • wahwah

      From a consumer standpoint, ads are a positive change?!!
      Shake my head.

    • Stephen_81

      based on the popularity of gmail, or really any Google product including Android, consumers WANT ads.

    • WhoCares1000

      Don’t forget most of the popular games have ads.

    • barrist

      keyword: popular. Is BBM Channels popular?

    • Ryan Rodrigue

      The real question is BBM popular? I’m sure Channels is fairly popular among BBM users. And the user base is quite large, but the adoption rate seems to be quite low among iOS and Android users.

    • barrist

      lol no. People tolerate ads if the product is good enough. BBM Channels hasn’t taken off at all and will just deter people from joining it. This is why companies wait until their product is popular enough before trying to get revenue through ads (See Twitter or Instagram)

    • Stephen_81

      People tolerate ads because they want something for no financial cost. NOT because the product is good enough. People accept Ads when a product becomes so involved in their life that to not use it because of ads isn’t an option which is what Twitter and instagram did.

      And arguably BBM has already achieved for over 60 Million users, with another 20ish million who probably could go either way but are so used to ads it wont make a difference.

      My resistance to adopting BBM channels had nothing to do with my distaste for advertising in a product I’d gladly pay for. I avoided Cannels because I saw no value, like I have no need for Facebook, Pintrest, tumblr. But Channels is being adopted and I’ve even now witnessed companies with private channels for sales staff. If BlackBerry can monetize BBM, all the power to them they can’t rely on Hardware margins.

    • wahwah

      Hmm. That’s funny. I use the whole slew of Google services and haven’t seen a single ad in over 10 years. Actually, that goes for anywhere on the internet, period. Meh.

  • Lamar

    lol once the whatsapp deal closed.. BBM had to make money quick!

  • fashu

    downfall of bbm

  • St. Misery

    I’m certain this will be minor in comparison to what Facebook is going to do with whatsapp

    • Ryan Rodrigue

      BlackBerry should have waited for Facebook to add in advertising before they jumped on board too.

  • Amused_Droid

    An option to opt-out of these Ads in Facebook or BBM (Not that I would ever use BBM) would be nice.

    • Stephen_81

      BBM Gives you the option by buying a BlackBerry.
      FaceBook, gives you the option by not using their service.
      Google never gives you the option. they are sucking in details in every facet of online life.

    • Amused_Droid

      Google search? or Gmail? the only Google service I’ve seen ads on lately is YouTube, but that is probably my Adblocking.

      As for the Opt-out options for BBM, that is kind of bitter sweet. Buying a BB device just to get Ad-free BBM and then go right back to using Android apps is a messy concept.

    • Stephen_81

      Ad Block != Opt-Out but it is a great option if your goal is just Not to see, but if your goal in opt-out is not to be included well you’re a long way off.

      I do agree with the Going BlackBerry to use Android Apps just to avoid BBM Advertising would be foolish, if you’re concerned about advertising infiltration into your life avoiding all mobile usage really is your only option

    • Amused_Droid

      Wait does Ad Block = Opt-Out or not haha?

      But I agree that there is a clear difference between simply removing ads and preventing yourself from being targeted. Currently I prescribe to the Chris Ziegler school of thought that Targetted ads can be good as long as they show me things that I want to buy (just not in my email). Realistically I’m 9/10 happy with my Ad control options in my mobile ecosystem.

    • Sweet

      “Wait does Ad Block = Opt-Out or not haha?”

      I think it depends on whether the ad blocker allows the ad to contribute to tracking or not.

    • Amused_Droid

      I was just referring to the fact that those two things had been equated and differentiated in the same comment. That is all.

    • Sweet

      Google takes the info it gathers from users’ content (Google searches, Gmail, etc) and uses it in their ad program which allows websites to display ads on their sites, which is where Google makes their money.

      I would be surprised if we ever saw ads on Gmail or Google search.

    • Amused_Droid

      For the longest time I thought when people talked about Google Ad money, they meant money from actual Ad Space sales haha which isn’t true anymore as you pointed out

    • Amused_Droid

      For the longest time I thought when people talked about Google Ad money, they meant money from actual Ad Space sales haha which isn’t true anymore as you pointed out

    • wahwah

      Again, I use Google’s full suite of services and have yet to see a targeted (or other) ad, and within reason also prevent them from sucking anything personal of my life online or otherwise.
      It works like street smarts and you either have them, or don’t.

  • Stephen_81

    This is one time I really hope that BlackBerry acts like Apple!

    I truly hope BlackBerry has advertisers submit demographics they want and BlackBerry serves the ads to those users, which is how Apple does things. I don’t want them to be like facebook and google which both hand over raw data to advertisers for them to filter and select which users to target.

  • ding dong

    no other platform is as good as the moment as telegram with self destruct option in secret chat. it is the best and most secure. while everybody is looking to make a buck no matter how that is possible in respect to being a pure capitalist and profit maximization goal in mind. seems telegram has been the best soo far since whats app got sold to nsa’s little poodle. by the way those who think its justified for blackberry to do so because of how poor they are doing financially should also think about how their phones are a let down and so is their software. they really need to do something about side loading android apk so atleast using it wont be soo painful and irritating

    if you havent i high recommend trying out telegram you will not be disappointed.

    • Stephen_81

      I have looked at Telegram and do like the idea. I don’t like their cross device syncing as that leaves users vulnerable to middleman attacks and silent surveillance without any required skills on the person doing the surveillance apart from a little social manipulation skills .

      I also don’t know how they plan to maintain their servers long term, being cloud based they will have to maintain servers and infrastructure with zero monetization strategy in place. Being open source means the code base can be maintained but there is a big business to run, especially managing 200 user group chats.

      They’ll remain on my radar but I will continue to happily be using BBM for the time being

  • barrist

    … for another Blackberry outage?

    • wahwah

      Hahaha. So true.

  • Sweet

    The Inside Blackberry blog posted an article entitled The Truth About Advertising And BBM which gives a pretty detailed explanation of how the advertising will work.

    It seems fine to me so far, at least on paper. Let’s see how it works in practice.