BlackBerry Bringing Sponsored Content To BBM, But It Promises Not To Put Ads In Your IMs


BlackBerry has confirmed that sponsored content will soon be coming to BBM Channels after ads were spotted in its latest BBM beta release. The Canadian company also insists, however, that it will not be inserting advertisements into your instant messages, and that it will be “very strict” about the amount of content that is pushed to the BBM community.

BlackBerry has this week published a new blog post entitled “The Truth About Advertising and BBM” that hopes to “set the record straight from the get go” and clarify the company’s plan for BBM ads. There will be three ways in which sponsored content gets into BBM — all of which use BBM Channels — and none of them will involve your messages.

  1. Featured Placements: If you’re a BBM Channel owner, you’ll have the opportunity to buy spaces in the Featured Channels tab to promote your channel. “As this is the landing page for BBM Channels, it is a great place for channel owners to promote their channel to million of highly engaged and active customers,” BlackBerry says.
  2. Sponsored Invites: Another way to grow your channel will be to invite BBM users to come and join it. You’ll be able to define certain characteristics like age, location, and interests to find the users most likely to be interested in your content. They will then receive your invite as a message under a new tab that’s “clearly marked as sponsored invites.” If a user declines a channel invite, they won’t receive invites from that channel again.
  3. Sponsored Posts: Channel owners will also be able to publish sponsored posts inside the Updates tab in BBM — alongside the updates users see from their contacts and channels they’re already subscribed to. The posts will be clearly labeled, and users will be able to block them if they wish to.

“I want to stress that when we offer these opportunities to brands, they will be select, premier opportunities and we will be very strict about the amount of content we would ever allow to be pushed to our BBM community,” writes Jeff Gadway on the BlackBerry Blog.

“We will not be inserting sponsored content of any kind in to BBM chats with your friends, family and colleagues. We understand that keeping the BBM chat experience you know and love free of this type of content is important to you.”

BlackBerry is clearly trying to monetize BBM as best it can without impeding the user experience, and it sounds like the company has come up with some good ways to introduce ads and sponsored posts without making them too intrusive. It has to turn its massively popular messaging service into a money-maker somehow — especially since it’s hardly helping to sell BlackBerry phones anymore — but it’s nice to know that it has the user in mind as it does that.