The places you will see advertisements are in Telegram audiences and sometimes problematic One-to-many channels. These can be easy to ignore if you’re exclusively using Telegram as your chat app. They are usually managed by one person or organization and can have millions of individual subscribers. They act more like a Twitter thread than an SMS conversation, and like Twitter, they will benefit from the ad serving treatment. Durov points out that some popular channels are already showing ads through third-party platforms to monetize their subscribers. “The ads they post look like normal messages and are often intrusive,” Durov said, adding that inbound internal Telegram ads would respect your privacy and not harm the user experience of the app.
In addition, the company plans to introduce various premium features aimed at its business and power users. Durov did not provide details on what they might look like, but said they would be paid by those same users.
It might seem like an oxymoron for a startup that claims to be privacy-focused to suggest that it can monetize its platform with ads while protecting its users’ data, but a handful of companies have managed to do so. For example, the privacy-focused Brave browser allows its users to opt for pre-packaged advertising, and rewards them for doing so with tokens they can exchange for real-world currency.
It appears Telegram is considering taking a similar approach. “If Telegram starts making money, the community should benefit as well,” says Durov. As an example of such an approach, he said the company could sell premium stickers, with the artists who created them getting a share of the sales. Ultimately, he says the company’s monetization plans won’t change the Telegram experience too much. “With our current scale, we will be able to do this in a non-intrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any changes. “