Zoom was the app of choice for businesses and individuals at the peak of the pandemic. The app was there for millions of people who had no choice but to work from home. While things are gradually getting back to shape, the videoconferencing service remains popular. To enable it to continue to offer its services to free users, Zoom is piloting an ads program.
The pilot ads program will allow Zoom to show ads to users on its ‘Basic’ free tier. The ads, according to Zoom, will support investments and enable it to continue to provide its platform to free users.
“Today we are excited to roll out a pilot advertising program that we expect will enable us to support investment and continue providing free Basic users with access to our robust platform,” Janine Pelosi chief marketing officer at Zoom wrote in a blog post.
If you are a Basic tier user, you will only see ads if you join a meeting hosted by another Basic tier user. Ads will be displayed on the browser page users see when they end their meeting. It is not clear if Zoom will show ads in other areas of the user interface once its pilot program is concluded.
As part of the pilot program, you will see a banner on Zoom’s website that provides a link to its cookies management tool that allows you to manage what ads are shown. To this end, the company as assured its users that it will not use its meeting, webinar, or messaging content for marketing, promotional, or third-party promotional purposes.
Will ads be displayed during meetings?
Zoom has allayed the fears of its Basic tier users—ads will no be shown during meetings. While this signifies a big change in the company’s previous policy of not showing ads on its platform, it remains to be seen how people react to this. This change, however, seems inevitable if Zoom wants to grow its revenue base.
This change ensures that our free Basic users are able to continue connecting with friends, family, and colleagues with the same robust platform we have always offered,” Pelosi adds.
In related news, Zoom’s auto-generated captions; a feature previously only available to premium users, is now accessible to all. This is not a surprise since Zoom had in the past promised to allow access to all users.
Last month, the company announced that the auto-generated caption feature is now available to free users as well. However, the company is limiting this to English language for now, but plans to expand to other languages in the future.