Yesterday, we let you guys know BlackBerry is testing ads in their external BBM beta program, and that more than likely, sponsored content would be making its way onto the official apps as well soon. BlackBerry has decided to publish a blog post “The Truth About Advertising In BBM” this afternoon detailing what exactly this will mean for BBM users in the future.

Right off the bat, BBM’s Jeff Gadway makes it clear that BBM chats are untouchable as far as advertising is concerned. “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.”

Instead, advertising on BBM will focused around BBM Channels, its users and content in three ways. Gadway clearly breaks it down as follows:

1. Featured Placements

BBM Channel owners will have the ability to secure space on the Featured Channels tab to help promote their channel. As this is the landing page for BBM Channels, it is a great place for channel owners to promote their channel to millions of highly engaged and active customers.

2. Sponsored Invites

To help BBM Channel owners grow their channels, and help BBM Channels users find relevant, interesting channels, we’re offering channel owners the ability to invite BBM users to join their channel.

By defining certain characteristics like age, location and interests, channel owners can ‘invite’ select BBM users to join their channel. These invites will appear in the invites tab of BBM, clearly marked as sponsored invites. As with invites from contacts, BBM users will have the control to accept the invite from the channel owner (subscribing them to that channel) or decline the invite.

If a BBM user declines an invite they will not receive invites from that channel in the future. BBM will be tightly controlling the number of sponsored invites a given BBM user will receive. We anticipate that we will limit these to a maximum of three per month. We will also control which brands/businesses are able to utilize Sponsored Invites; we want our ecosystem to be populated with high-value content that our users will find engaging.

3. Sponsored Posts

Within the Updates tab in BBM, we will allow BBM Channel owners to place sponsored posts alongside updates from your BBM Contacts and the BBM Channels you are already subscribed to. In the spirit of being open and transparent, these sponsored posts will be clearly labeled.

The ability to block a company, team or person’s sponsored posts from your Updates tab will also be made available.


Now that we know what BBM’s plans are for the future in terms of advertising, has this calmed your worries or are you still unsure? Sound off in the comments.