With a maxed out Newsfeed ad load, Facebook has set their sights on a promising new revenue stream using the popular Facebook Messenger service. Facebook is expected to begin rolling out ads to Messenger’s 1.2 billion monthly users over the next few weeks. Ads will appear in the home tab, not within chat threads, in efforts to maintain the integrity of personal conversations. Brands will be able to employ the same targeting filters as other Facebook products, and Facebook maintains that the content of user’s messages will not be scrubbed for targeting purposes. Upon clicking on these sponsored messages, users may be directed to a brand’s website or launch a Messenger conversation with that brand, the ladder of which becomes much more valuable for future re-marketing efforts.
What this Means for Brands
Above all, brands looking to activate in this private space need to consider the value they can deliver in a messaging environment. Ads that lead the user outside of the messenger app upon click are wasting the audience engagement. Starting a conversation; at a relevant time, will be key. Brands with the ability to surprise and delight users during active conversations with unique giveaways, offers, or coupons will walk away a winner.
Now more than ever brands will want to begin experimenting with their chatbot capability outside of customer service so that potential customers can directly initiate conversations at any time on their preferred platforms.
Mediahub client; Harley-Davidson, tested the new messenger platform to drive traffic to their experience at the Summer X games.
Assuming Facebook is able to roll this out with relatively little backlash from its vocal user base, we expect WhatsApp ads won’t be far behind. Though currently an ad-free environment, we see this changing rapidly in the near future.
How far Facebook may be willing to push the boundaries of targeting within Messenger will also be crucial to watch. Conversation level targeting is currently off limits, but we see this as a delicate next frontier that Facebook may eventually begin testing to enhance and differentiate the ad product.