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BBM users, get ready for ads – BlackBerry starts testing sponsored content

Updated Mar 4th, 2014 5:59PM EST

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No, you’re not going to see advertisements pop up in the middle of your BBM chats… but BlackBerry just delivered on new CEO John Chen’s promise to adjust its BBM strategy to include actually monetizing the product. Now that BBM has dozens of messaging rivals and is no longer a draw that can attract new business and keep current customers locked in, BlackBerry is tasked with finding ways to turn BBM into a moneymaker. The first step, as we reported recently, is to toss in some advertisements.

Before he abruptly left the company last month, as BGR exclusively reported, BBM boss Andrew Bocking confirmed that BlackBerry planned to inject ads into its popular BBM messaging app. Now, BerryReview reports that the company has indeed begun to test ads in some beta versions of its BBM client. The ads will not yet appear in any public versions of BBM.

So, what kind of ads is BlackBerry testing, exactly?

As we stated, there will not be annoying ads posted in-line in BBM chats. Instead, the company is currently testing two types of ads, one that will see “sponsored invites” appear in BBM’s invites section, and a second that will be presented as “sponsored channel posts” displayed in the updates section of BBM.

BlackBerry has not stated when it expects to begin rolling ads out in public versions of BBM for BlackBerry devices, the iPhone or Android.

UPDATE: BlackBerry ran a blog post on Tuesday to further explain exactly how ads will work in BBM. You can read it on BlackBerry’s blog here.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.