Facebook has updated its Messenger Platform to allow brands to post relevant ads in a user’s News Feed that then open up into a conversation in Messenger. The new feature is designed to boost engagement and help businesses manage the customer lifecycle more effectively via targeted messages.
Facebook has been testing sponsored content since April and is now rolling out the ad format globally. This means that marketers will now be able to send ads and messages to users that have an “open and existing” conversation with them. These users will be able to converse with an chatbot, which will assist consumers with questions and queries while promoting products and services on Messenger.
To ensure that spam doesn’t become a problem, there are a few guidelines in place. Brands will only be able to include one photo and one link in an ad, and it cannot be modified to run simultaneously on the standard Facebook platform. Users will also be able to block any of the messages that they receive. Advertisers who run the new Messenger ads will be charged each time that they appear on a user’s screen and will have to pay for impressions even if the ads aren’t opened up.
“We believe that the combination of driving people from News Feed into a Messenger experience and having an additional opportunity to re-engage with sponsored messages is a game-changer,” Facebook Messenger Vice President David Marcus said at Web Summit 2016 in Dublin earlier this week.
The latest drive to increase ad revenue in Messenger is one of the ways that Facebook is looking to sustain growth following its strong third-quarter results. However, it remains to be seen whether the latest rollout will be welcomed by consumers, and experts believe that the new “one-to-one” communication will need to managed carefully for it be a success.
Jan Dawson, Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research, added: “Given the comments on last week’s earnings call about saturating ad load on the core Facebook app, it’s important for Facebook to continue to drive ad growth through its other apps. So far, outside of Facebook itself, that growth has come entirely from Instagram, but obviously, Messenger is a logical next step.”