When we posted about ads making their way to BBM, we expected some concern from folks in how they all would work, whether or not you could opt out of them and many other questions.
Rather than leaving all those questions unanswered, as part of the BBM Product Marketing, Jeff Gadway has now laid out some further details of it all on the Inside BlackBerry Blog.
BBM advertising will essentially work in three ways in but and you can take comfort in knowing right now, that they'll never appear within chats.
1. Featured Placements
BBM Channel owners will have the ability to secure space on the Featured Channels tab to help promote their channel. As this is the landing page for BBM Channels, it is a great place for channel owners to promote their channel to millions of highly engaged and active customers.
2. Sponsored Invites
To help BBM Channel owners grow their channels, and help BBM Channels users find relevant, interesting channels, we’re offering channel owners the ability to invite BBM users to join their channel.
By defining certain characteristics like age, location and interests, channel owners can ‘invite’ select BBM users to join their channel. These invites will appear in the invites tab of BBM, clearly marked as sponsored invites. As with invites from contacts, BBM users will have the control to accept the invite from the channel owner (subscribing them to that channel) or decline the invite.
If a BBM user declines an invite they will not receive invites from that channel in the future. BBM will be tightly controlling the number of sponsored invites a given BBM user will receive. We anticipate that we will limit these to a maximum of three per month. We will also control which brands/businesses are able to utilize Sponsored Invites; we want our ecosystem to be populated with high-value content that our users will find engaging.
3. Sponsored Posts
Within the Updates tab in BBM, we will allow BBM Channel owners to place sponsored posts alongside updates from your BBM Contacts and the BBM Channels you are already subscribed to. In the spirit of being open and transparent, these sponsored posts will be clearly labeled.
Just as we give BBM users control over their privacy and contact list, we’re extending this control to which channel owners are able to present sponsored content in your updates feed. Allow me to explain. Let’s say you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and you are presented with a sponsored update from a competing hockey team. You can easily block future sponsored updates from this other team. The benefit to you, the user is clear – you won’t see sponsored updates from channels you’re not interested in. But the benefit also extends to channel owners as well as they won’t be wasting time and resources reaching uninterested BBM users.
One of the pieces of feedback we’ve heard from our customers is that they are looking for new ways to find interesting, relevant content in BBM Channels. Sponsored posts and Sponsored Invites are another way to help highlight posts from channels that customers might be interested in.
We will dynamically determine how frequently Sponsored Posts appear in the Updates feed. We know that some of you love the “social” aspect of Updates, and would love to hear from you as to how often and where Sponsored Posts should be presented. And, because BBM puts you in control, if you filter Updates to only show Contacts, you won’t see any Sponsored Posts.
So those are the three ways in which ads will be implemented within BBM. Now, when it comes to privacy, that has been addressed as well through the posting. As noted, "At no time is personally identifiable information about any BBM Channel user viewable by any channel owners or advertisers." which is a good thing to hear.
Honestly, I'm all for the advertising but maybe that's just me. I find the notion of having brands reaching out to me for attention on their channel intriguing and I'm rather interested to see who will be making use of it and who might appear that I might not even have found if not for their sponsored invite. I've actually avoided a lot of 'brand' channels for this reason alone. We've all known that ads would be coming so I genuinely want to see who organically reaches out to me.
At the same time, I can understand some of the concerns addressed in the comments after we posted that ads would soon be coming. For some, BBM is like a sacred zone and shouldn't be used in such a way but again, the monetization of BBM had to happen at some point and this is one way BBM is going to try and make that work.
So, now that's all a bit more clearer and laid out, how do you all feel about it? Let us know in the comments. Curious to see if anyone who didn't like the idea before now has a better outlook on it.