Zoom is experimenting with advertising. The company, which became synonymous with video chatting at the start of the pandemic, announced it was rolling out a "pilot advertising program" on Monday.
For now, ads will only appear on the Zoom browser page once users end their meetings. They'll be visible only to free plan users in certain countries if they join meetings hosted by other free plan users. The basic, free plan includes a 30-hour time limit for one-on-one meetings and a 40-minute limit for group meetings.
Zoom has updated its privacy statement to clarify how the pilot ad program affects user data. In a blog post from Chief Marketing Officer Janine Pelosi, the company emphasized that no content from Zoom meetings or messages will be used for advertising purposes. Zoom's cookie management tool can block advertisers from tracking users' activity on Zoom's website.
Pelosi said the move was inspired by the need to keep investing in free, basic accounts for individual users. Zoom's users have expanded from predominantly enterprises to individual people who want to connect in non-work settings. As we've entered a different stage of the pandemic, the company's future is relatively uncertain. More workers are returning to offices, and Zoom's share price has undergone a 23% decline over the past year.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct Zoom's time limit for one-on-one meetings.