Telegram Ads: A New Front in Digital Marketing


Once an effective messaging app, Telegram is now becoming a key digital marketing platform.

Since its establishment in 2013, Telegram has been spreading like wildfire. The platform is expected to reach 1 billion users this year, according to the founder and CEO, Pavel Durov. In Ethiopia, Telegram has become the go-to application. This holds several implications for local businesses-especially in terms of marketing. Telegram also seems to understand the immense potential it has as a marketing platform as it started running ads in 2021.  In a country where many businesses are already utilizing Telegram, the Ads feature holds countless benefits. Before we get into that, however, let’s explore what Telegram Ads are. 

What Makes Telegram Ads Unique?

Telegram announced plans to run ads in 2021 as a way to monetize off of its huge user base. As a messaging app whose primary appeal was its privacy and security, running ads was going to be tricky. This is what makes Telegram Ads unique from what you may find in other social media; Ads are run on public Telegram channels. There are no video or banner ads, instead, Telegram allows ads in text format, which is visually consistent with content posted on a Telegram channel. This means that users will not get visually interrupted by ads and will be more likely to engage with them. Also, the app doesn't target ads based on user data as Telegram refrains from gathering or analyzing user data for ad-targeting purposes. Instead, advertisers can choose which topics or channels their ads appear in. This type of advertising keeps content high-quality and encourages users to engage more. Another unique aspect of Telegram Ads is that it doesn’t allow external links. Advertisements instead lead to the brand’s Telegram channel. This will let users see and interact with the brand's products right on Telegram, making it more likely they'll engage with them.

It becomes a no-brainer that local businesses should opt for Telegram Ads in their marketing campaigns. Telegram’s user base in Ethiopia is much higher than any other social media. The presence of countless Telegram channels means numerous open billboards are waiting to promote brands to the Ethiopian public like never before. Telegram has become an ideal source of information, entertainment, education, and more for Ethiopians. With the right marketing strategy and content, brands can make a lasting impression on Telegram users. 

Unique Ads, Unique Approach

The unique nature of Telegram Ads means that brands should be more considerate of the content they put out in their advertisement. Brands must understand that Telegram is a messaging app. This means that Telegram users use the app to communicate. This must be at the center of any brand’s Telegram Ad campaign. The advertisements must be engaging and inviting enough for users to decide to click on the brand’s channel. But that’s only half of the work done. As mentioned earlier, communication should be central to Telegram Ad campaigns. Nowadays, users prefer to communicate with brands via text messaging instead of emails or phone calls. Thus, brands must create dedicated bots and customer service representatives ready to interact with users. Telegram groups are also the ideal platform for this as they have the potential to create a community centered around the brand. Furthermore, a lack of targeted ads in Telegram means that brands have to carefully choose the topics and channels they put their ads on. This means that brands must give time to create engaging marketing content that can grab the attention of users. 

For the Creators…

For content creators in Ethiopia, Telegram Ads presents a great monetization opportunity. As of March 31, 2024, Telegram has announced plans to share ad revenues with creators. Channel owners with more than 1000 subscribers can now get 50% of the revenue generated from ads run on their channel. The company has further stated that revenues will be paid through TON Coin, a cryptocurrency originally developed by Telegram. 

Monetization opportunities aside, Telegram’s Ads are still a double-edged sword. This is because channel owners have no control over ads displayed on their channels. This means that channels may feature ads from companies or services they don’t endorse. So, in theory, at least, a brand can run an ad on its competitor’s telegram channels, and there’s nothing that channel can do about it. 

Ultimately, Telegram Ads present not only a marketing opportunity but also a chance for businesses to redefine their approach to customer engagement. By utilizing the unique characteristics of Telegram and tailoring their strategies accordingly, companies can establish a meaningful presence on the platform and cultivate lasting relationships with their audience. Creators on the other hand will be incentivized to grow their channels and take content creation on Telegram more seriously. In due time, we might even see brands collaborating with Telegram content creators. Within its current prospects, Telegram Ads is bound to become a key tool for digital marketing, especially in Ethiopia.

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