A document which Facebook sent out to some of their largest advertisers has been leaked. The document contained information about Facebook beginning to allow advertisers to reach their audience through the messenger app from Q2 in 2016. If carried out properly, without a stumbling launch, this will be a hugely significant new opportunity for advertisers. Despite having a rocky start, Facebook’s messenger app is now approaching one billion users.
This is great news for businesses who want to take a more personal approach with their customers. However the 800 million active users of the app will also be happy to know that Facebook won’t simply allow advertisers to bombard them with messages. Advertisers will only be able to send ad messages to those who have previously chatted voluntarily with the Facebook page of the business. For advertisers this means you won’t have the ability to send ad messages to everyone who has liked your page, just those that have messaged you at some point.
This has come as a surprise to many people as Mark Zuckerberg himself stated “I don’t personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging” in 2014 after Facebook acquired WhatsApp. Naturally Facebook didn’t want to comment on proposed plans and said “our aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type.”
How the advertising within the messenger app will take form is still unclear. However it would be reasonable to assume it will allows businesses to inform users about new product launches, promotions or to allow a business to follow up with a customer who didn’t follow through on a purchase.
The advertising possibilities that ads within messenger offer are a welcome addition to Facebook. However it’s user base can be very resistant to change, so in order for this to be an effective advertising medium it will have to be rolled out in a sensitive manner that doesn’t impair the functionality the app or irritate it’s huge user base.