Facebook is reportedly planning to introduce paid ads to its messaging platform within the next few months. Tech website TechCrunch claims the social media giant has already distributed a document to businesses stating that they will have the ability to message customers directly from around April onwards.
The possible move by Facebook to monetise Messenger is aimed at making the service the primary means for consumers to interact with corporations for everything from shopping to customer support. It’s unclear in what form the messages will be, but TechCrunch has speculated that they will be different to the ads that appear elsewhere on Facebook. This means that they could be similar to emails and used to introduce new products, promote sales and engage with people who have previously opted in or made contact.
The report claims that businesses will also get a new personalised URL, which they can share across platforms and which is directed to a message thread with their Facebook page, offering consumers a new way to get in touch. TechCrunch says Facebook has already urged companies to get customers to message them now so that they will be in a better position to take advantage of the new advertising feature when it rolls out during the second quarter of the year. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the speculation, adding that its “aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world.”
So what will the introduction of ads on Facebook Messenger mean for marketers? Econsultancy has speculated that its arrival could create a new, dominant social CRM channel as users shun email apps in favour of simple communications via Messenger. It also believes Facebook may limit the amount of ads that brands can send to fans each day, and businesses themselves will have to exercise a certain amount of restraint and only send targeted ads that will remain relevant. Facebook may also have to update the UI to accommodate ads.
This could potentially be a big change in the way customers and enterprises interact with each other on the social platform, and it is expected that Facebook will divulge further details about its plans for ads on Messenger at its own F8 developer conference in April.