After launching a small test to place ads onto its Messenger app, Facebook revealed the global expansion of the beta on Tuesday. Any advertiser in the world will soon have the option to purchase ads in Messenger and some users will start to see them. The blog post explains the ads will give users more of an opportunity to discover brands and business straight from the Messenger home tab.
When Facebook first announced the test back in January, it only targeted a small group of users in Thailand and Australia who were able to see the promotional items. The ads are in a format similar to Facebook’s News Feed, popping up as you scroll through the messages tab. Since they’re placed in between your recent conversations — and clearly labeled as sponsored content — the company is confident it will enhance the experience of finding brands and items through a more seamless process.
Once you click on a particular ad, you’re brought to the brand’s site and can shop or browse around as you please without ever exiting the messenger app itself. Businesses can also choose to direct people to a Messenger window for a more conversational experience. With 1.2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is clearly looking to monetize what it feels is an untapped market on its own platform.
Users are limited in terms of control over the ads on their home tab and can only choose to hide and/or report particular ads using the drop-down menu. The ads won’t disrupt your private messages, but — thanks to Facebook’s update last year — companies can send customers sponsored messages if a conversation took place in the past.
When talking to brands directly through Messenger, the company can provide you with a unique and more personalized experience — whether it’s sending you links to items or answering questions. In terms of convenience, this new feature will always keep consumers in the loop about products and brands while also keeping users on Facebook’s apps. However, it is yet to be determined whether users will react well to receiving random messages from companies after the initial interaction is long over.
For now, only a small percentage of people will start to see ads in their Messenger Home tab by the end of the month as the company builds ad inventory and collects data on how to improve the new ads. It will continue to extend the beta gradually to more people over the upcoming months.