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Zoom is testing ads on its free plan

The company is rolling out a pilot advertising program.

Sarah Tew/CNET

People using Zoom's free basic service to video chat with family or co-workers may start seeing ads once their meeting has ended. 

Zoom is launching a pilot advertising program that will show ads on "the browser page users see once they end their meeting," Janine Pelosi, the company's chief marketing officer, said Monday in a blog post. People using the service for free will see ads when they join meetings hosted by another person using the basic service. 

The test is running in "certain countries," though Zoom didn't get more specific. It's also unclear how long the pilot program will run. Zoom didn't immediately have a response to a request for more details. 

Zoom's use skyrocketed during the pandemic as it became the video chat app of choice for millions of people for both work and socializing. The company has added several new features this year -- such as Immersive View and a vanishing pen tool -- as it competes with rival services like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. 

Zoom said introducing ads will allow it to continue to support investment and access to the platform for people using the video chat service for free. Zoom also has subscription plans, starting at $15 a month, that offer more features and expand time-limits for meetings. 

"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," wrote Pelosi.

Correction: The story misstated the date of Zoom's announcement. It was Monday.