Facebooks is rolling out ads in its Messenger app globally as it looks to offer advertisers more ways to reach consumers beyond its core social network.
The move comes after what Facebook says have been “promising tests” in Australia and Thailand. The rollout means any advertisers, large or small, will be able to buy ads that appear in the app, which has 1.2 billion users globally.
“We’ll now offer businesses around the world a way to use Facebook targeting to extend their reach to people in Messenger,” says Facebook in a blog post.
‘This means businesses of every size get a new tool for creating meaningful connections with customers and prospects. More than 1.2 billion people use Messenger every month, which gives marketers an opportunity to expand the reach of their campaigns and drive more results.”
The rollout will mean on the Facebook Messenger homepage, users will now see ads appearing amid their list of contacts. Ads will not appear within Messenger conversations.
The ads themselves will work in a similar way to those across Facebook and Instagram, with advertisers able to send consumers to a destination of their choice such as their ecommerce site. However, they will also be able to send them to a Messenger conversation.
The decision to show more traditional display ads in Messenger marks a shift in strategy from Facebook, which originally wanted to monetise the service by convincing brands to shift their customer service operations to Facebook by creating chatbots that could talk directly with customers. While this is still the case, and a number of brands such as Mastercard and UKTV have created chatbots, this use is yet to see widespread implementation.
The shift will also enable Facebook to meet every growing demand for advertising on its social network. It has previously warned that it is reaching the limit of how many ads it can show in the News Feed, leading to analyst concerns that revenue growth may slow.
Opening another area where it can show ads should help to slow that deceleration.