Facebook announced that they will soon be releasing Ads in Messenger at today’s Open Book event, an educational series for Agency leadership and Social Media specialists. Similar to how ads on Facebook and/or Instagram can opt-in to be extended to the Facebook Audience Network, this will now allow expansion to Messenger.
As they typically do with their products, Facebook originally launched the Messenger app ad-free. This allowed their audience to adopt more easily to the platform, while also showing Facebook the natural user behavior within the app to dictate the format and experience of the ads themselves. With now more than 1.2 billion monthly active users, Messenger has over 2 billion messages per month being exchanged between people and businesses, according to Facebook.
With the pervasiveness of Artificial Intelligence in everything from Voice Search to messaging applications and note-taking, and the data that Messenger can provide to potentially further power and expand Facebook’s advertising sophistication, it is no surprise to us here at iProspect that these ads are entering the marketplace.
Until now, the only Messenger ads were News Feed ads that drove the user to Messenger to engage with the advertiser, or sponsored Messages targeted at those who have already interacted with a brand on Messenger. These new placements will show up like a page post, but instead of being in the News Feed, the ads will appear in between conversations in the user’s Messenger app.
For now, these new ad units will support all Facebook targeting currently available, with both click and conversion objectives. Brands will be able to use single images and carousel, with video coming soon and it will be available in all markets where Facebook and Messenger are supported.
So, what’s next?
When the beta moves to alpha or general release, we typically anticipate additional ad units and objectives to become available as well. We’re assuming that Messenger-specific targeting layers will be added in the future, potentially based on sentiment, topical analysis, or activity (photo sharing, etc.). This will of course come with limitations as privacy has been (and anticipate will continue to be) a priority for Facebook.
What can I do now?
With this additional inventory to tap in to, marketers have a new placement to test. If your placement meets your Brand Safety guidelines and clicks or conversions are one of your primary objectives, we recommend opting in to expand to Messenger. Keep tracking results to determine the efficacy of the placement and optimal budget allocation.
As these new posts will show as sponsored, we believe it will be clear to the consumer that this is an advertisement and not associated with the surrounding one-to-one conversations. We do not feel there is any brand safety risk associated with this new placement.
If you would like to be considered for this current beta or the alpha stage, please reach out to your iProspect team.
Michelle McNeill, Regional Director of Paid Social, also contributed to this blog post.