BlackBerry details plans for BBM Channels sponsored content

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| Published: March 4, 2014

BBM for Android app icon

BlackBerry first introduced us to BBM Channels in May of 2013, touting it as a way for businesses and celebrities to better connect with their fans. The feature hit BlackBerry 10 first and recently made its way to Android and iOS. Now that the feature is widely available, it appears that BlackBerry is ready to begin using it to earn some cash.

In a post on the official Inside BlackBerry blog, BlackBerry has confirmed its plans to build advertising into its BBM Channels service. The company promises that it only plans to offer "select, premier opportunities" to advertise inside of BBM Channels and that it plans to be strict about the kind of content that it allows to be shown to its users. BlackBerry goes on to name three specific ways in which a piece of sponsored content might appear in front of a user:

  • Feature Placements: BBM Channel owners can buy a space on the Featured Channels tab to promote their own channel.
  • Sponsored Invites: Using characteristics like age and interests, channel owners can invite users to join their community. The invitations will clearly be marked as sponsored content, and if the user declines the invitation, he or she won't receive any further invitations from that channel. BlackBerry expects to limit the number of sponsored invites that are sent to a user to three per month.
  • Sponsored Posts: BBM Channel owners can place sponsored posts within a user's feed of BBM Contacts and BBM Channel updates. The posts will be labeled as being sponsored. If a user doesn't want to see any further content from that channel, he or she can block future sponsored updates from it. BlackBerry also says that users can set their Update filters to only show content from their Contacts in order to avoid Sponsored Posts altogether.

BlackBerry says that user privacy is very important to it, and as a result, it makes no personally identifiable information available to its BBM Channel owners or advertisers. The company also makes sure to point out that it has no plans to insert advertising of any kind inside of actual BBM chats.

Most folks aren't huge fans of advertising in their mobile software, especially when it comes to a utility that they use on a regular basis, just like many people use BBM. It sounds like BlackBerry plans on being very careful about the sponsored content that it allows into BBM Channels, though, and it's smart for the company to keep ads out of BBM chats. It's also a good thing that BlackBerry explained its advertising plans before rolling them out to the general public rather than pushing them out quietly and risking some major user backlash.

What do you think of BlackBerry's BBM Channel advertising plans? Would you be ok with this sponsored content if you were a BBM user?

Via Inside BlackBerry