Where you want to see ads can be found in Telegram’s public and sometimes problematic “one-to-many” channels. These can be easy to overlook if you use Telegram exclusively as a chat app. They are typically run by one person or organization and can have millions of individual followers. They act more like a Twitter feed than an SMS conversation, and like Twitter, they get the advertising treatment. Durov points out that some popular channels are already showing ads through third-party platforms to monetize their followers. “The ads they place are similar to regular messages and are often intrusive,” Durov said, adding that Telegram’s incoming first-party ads respect your privacy and do not harm the app’s user experience.
In addition, the company plans to introduce various premium features aimed at its corporate and power users. Durov has not given any details on what these might look like, but said they will be paid for by the same users.
It may seem like an oxymoron for a startup that claims it is focused on privacy to suggest that it can monetize its ad platform while still protecting users’ data, but a handful of companies have managed to do so. just that. For example, privacy-focused browser Brave allows its users to select pre-packaged ads and rewards them for doing so with tokens that they can exchange for real-world currency.
It appears that Telegram is planning to take a similar approach. “If Telegram starts making money, society should also benefit from it,” says Durov. As an example of such an approach, he said the company could sell premium stickers where the artists who created them got a reduction in sales. Ultimately, he argues, the company’s revenue generation plans will not change the Telegram experience too much. “Thanks to our current scale, we will be able to do it in an unobtrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any change. ”