Where you will see the ads are on the public channels of Telegram and, sometimes, problematic “one for many”. This can be easy to ignore if you use Telegram exclusively as a chat application. They are usually 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, will receive ad serving treatment. Durov points out that some popular channels already show ads on third-party platforms to monetize their followers. “The ads they post look like normal messages and are often intrusive,” said Durov, and added that the initial Telegram ads will respect your privacy and will not harm the user experience of the app.
In addition, the company plans to introduce several premium features aimed at its corporate and advanced users. Durov did not provide details on how they could be, but said they would be paid by the same users.
It may seem like an oxymoron for a startup that claims it’s focused on privacy to suggest it can monetize its platform with ads while still protecting its users’ data, but a handful of companies have managed to do just that. For example, the privacy-focused Brave browser allows its users to opt for pre-packaged ads and rewards them for doing so with tokens that can be exchanged for real-world currencies.
It seems that Telegram plans a similar approach. “If Telegram starts making money, the community should also benefit,” says Durov. As an example of this approach, he said the company could sell premium stickers, with the artists who created them receiving a share of the sales. Ultimately, he says the company’s monetization plans won’t change the Telegram experience much. “Thanks to our current scale, we will be able to do this in a non-intrusive way. Most users are unlikely to notice any changes. “