Zoom video meetings will have ads: Free or Basic tier of popular video-calling app will end the 40-minute calls with promotional messages

Zoom Video Meetings Free Basic Tier Ads Promotional Messages
Ads in Zoom calls. Pic credit: Marco Verch/Flickr

Ads have started to roll out in Zoom video meetings. The video-calling and collaboration platform that shot to fame during the pandemic, is now resorting to pushing promotional content to “support investment and continue providing free Basic users with access.”

Zoom is experimenting with ads. Promotional messages have started appearing to a “select few users” in “certain countries”. Zoom has set multiple conditions to ensure ads do not negatively impact the calling experience or hinder interaction.

Zoom starts testing ads within video calls of free users:

The pandemic offered platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, and a few others a never-before-seen opportunity. Each platform has a free or basic version with a few limitations.

Microsoft Teams treats its premium or paid subscribers with several new features. Zoom too has been offering a few features.

Incidentally, Zoom rose to popularity owing to an important aspect. Besides the 40-minute call limit, there’s no difference between the free and the paid version.

However, moving ahead, this could change, and not for the better. In addition to the 40-minute video call limited for free users, Zoom is also experimenting with infusing ads within the platform.

Zoom is reportedly piloting showing ads to users on its free “Basic” tier. The company indicated its plans in an official blog post. Zoom, has, however, indicated that all its users, including those who use the service for free that it will respect the sanctity of the interaction.

Zoom will not show ads during a meeting, and no promotional messages when a paid user initiates a call:

The promotional messages that Zoom will insert within the service will be limited to the free “Basic” tier. This will be in addition to the 40-minute video call limit.

Zoom has indicated it is seeding ads to free users in “certain countries. However, the company hasn’t mentioned any regions. It is important to note that if a paid user initiates a call, Zoom won’t insert ads.

Simply put, ads could appear as a meeting is ending. Needless to mention, Zoom already knows the video call will end at the 40-minute mark. In case the meeting ends early, Zoom could show ads within the browser window.

Zoom has stressed that it won’t be using “meeting, webinar, or messaging content (specifically, audio, video, files, and messages)” to target ads. In other words, the company has indicated it is not listening and analyzing meeting content to serve ads.

Zoom’s Chief Marketing Officer Janine Pelosi claims the platform needs to start showing ads to help it “support investment and continue providing free Basic users with access to our robust platform.”

“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.”

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