Over the course of the pandemic, Zoom became a prominent tool for people looking to connect and businesses attempting to adjust to employees working from home.
Alongside this growth there have been plenty of changes, notably the company has endeavored to improve its accessibility features with auto-generated captions and the use of pronouns.
Now the company is trying out a new function that may annoy some users, but it is likely reflective of the company’s move to convert more free users to subscription customers.
Zoom and adverts
Zoom has revealed in a blog post that the company will begin trialing adverts on its free ‘Basic’ tier accounts.
It has not been announced which regions will see adverts and the statement only notes that the change will happen in “certain countries”.
The adverts will only appear if a ‘basic’ tier account joins another a call with an account with the same status. Furthermore, Zoom states “ads will be rolled out only on the browser page users see once they end their meeting.”
Naturally, given the communicative nature of the platform, many will be concerned about their data and conversations being shared with advertising agencies.
Fortunately, the company has said that it won’t be using “meeting, webinar, or messaging content (specifically, audio, video, files, and messages)” to target ads.
Speaking about the change, Janine Pelosi, chief marketing officer at Zoom, said: “We have carefully and thoughtfully considered how to implement this advertising pilot program, and we have done so with the goal of ensuring user choice.
“Users will see a banner on Zoom’s website that provides a link that takes them to our cookie management tool.”
Pelosi added: “We are incredibly proud to provide a service that helps so many people around the world stay connected.
“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.”
This latest change accompanies other tier differences including a 40-minute limit on the length of group calls for those with a ‘Basic’ account. Whether further changes will come after this trial remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, software companies have introduced increasingly intrusive adverts in an attempt to push more paid subscribers. It will be interesting to see if this is a route that Zoom takes going forward.
This is particularly important as the technology remains embedded in the processes of a hybrid working environment for many.