It’s been said that “nothing in life is free.” Then it should come as no surprise that Zoom is rolling out an advertising program to its individual users who don’t pay for access to the platform’s products and services. According to a blog post by Janine Pelosi, Chief Marketing Officer of Zoom, the platform will be showing ads to basic-level users in “certain countries” on the browser page that is shown when the meeting ends. Ads won’t be shown during the meeting itself, but showing ads to basic tier users is a definite shift in their service.
Zoom during COVID-19
Zoom started in 2011, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that Zoom became one of the most popular video platforms. Its mission is to “deliver happiness by bringing people together.” In 2020, the BBC reported that sales jumped 169% in the quarter from the previous year. Zoom turned a profit of $27 million in one quarter of 2020, more than it had in its entire previous financial year. Even with all its profits from the pandemic, ads will help support investment in the basic-level platform to keep providing users with the capability to connect with friends, family, and colleagues.
After some privacy issues last year, the platform is careful to explain its stance on the advertising program. According to their Privacy Statement, content from the meeting or webinar will not be used to determine ad content. Users will be able to access a link that takes them to a cookie management tool to manage the ads they are shown.
Based on other platforms that started out offering basic services free, it’s likely that Zoom will continue to develop its advertising policy to add more ads to its interface. There are other video platform options that still offer free, no-ad services, though that may also change in the future.
Again, nothing in life is free, but it was nice while it lasted!