It turns out there’s a reason Facebook made you download that new Messenger app a few years ago: They planned to monetize it all along.

After months of testing in Australia and Thailand, Facebook has officially rolled out Facebook Messenger Ads, which turn one-on-one virtual conversations into interactive, real-time marketing tools for businesses.

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Considering messaging apps have far surpassed social networking platforms in terms of active users (by about a billion, according to recent stats), it’s pretty obvious there’s potential here.

In fact, Facebook Messenger alone boasts more than 1 billion users—1 billion potential customers who can be targeted, reached and marketed to right on their mobile phones.

Let’s dive in and see what these new ads are all about.

Credit: Facebook IQ

How Do Facebook Messenger Ads Work?

Facebook Messenger ads come in three formats, also called placements including:

  • Newsfeed to Messenger Ads
  • Messenger Home
  • Sponsored Message

 
The first is the big one: Newsfeed to Messenger ads appear in a user’s Facebook newsfeed just like traditional ads on the platform do. Instead of funneling them out to a designated URL though, the ad includes a “Send Message” call-to-action button.

When clicked, it opens up a customized Facebook message from the business.

These messages can include images, carousel pictures, videos, slideshows and most of the other items traditional Facebook ads feature, as well as buttons that link out to the advertiser’s website or other URLs.

Targeting options are also similar to traditional ads; drill down by interests, behaviors, geographic locations or other demo stats, or use custom-built audiences.

Pro-Tip: These ads are only available for campaigns with Traffic or Conversion objectives.

The second type of Facebook Messenger is just an add-on to the above format. Called the Messenger Home placement, it lets you display your ad right in the home screen of a user’s Messenger app.

The third and final ad type is called a Sponsored Message. These function more like a Facebook message received from a friend, popping up in a user’s Messenger inbox anytime without warning. You can include text, links, images and other info like you would a traditional Facebook message and even add in buttons to drive traffic outward.

There are a few big restrictions to Sponsored Messages, with the big one being its targeting options. You can only send Sponsored Messages to users who have already messaged your page. You’ll have to go in and build a custom audience out of users who have previously messaged you before, then select that audience when creating your campaign.

Sponsored Messages are also limited to two campaign objectives: “Send people to a destination on or of Facebook” or “Website conversions.” Advertisers who use them are charged based on impression, so expect to pay whether the end user opens your message or not.

BLOG POST: Should Retailers Develop Facebook Messenger Chatbots?

How to Use Facebook Messenger Ads

Now that you know the types of Facebook Messenger ads that are out there, how do you use them? Which situations are they best for and when should you cough up the extra cash to try them out?

Though these ads are pretty new, there are a few goals we can see Messenger Ads being really helpful with.

Here are a few:

1. Retargeting – Use Messenger ads to get back in touch with people who have brushed paths with your brand before. Encourage them to ask you questions, learn more about your company or address any hang-ups or concerns they had when initially encountering you. It may be just the extra push someone needs to become a customer.

2. Raise awareness – This won’t work with Sponsored Messages (because of the targeting limitations), but basic Messenger ads can certainly help expose your brand to new potential customers in your target demo. Just make sure to create an ad that prompts conversation or sparks a question.

3. Creating special offers – Messenger ads are a great way to deliver special offers and discount codes directly to those who stand to benefit most. This can also help in retargeting efforts.

4. Personalized quotes – Have a service that you can’t accurately priced without more info? Use messenger ads to get users to contact you, provide more info and get a customized quote in return.

5. Building a bigger messenger audience – Go broad with your Messenger ad targeting, and inspire more users to get in touch. Once you’ve built up a big enough arsenal of users, you can use that audience to reach more with your Sponsored Messages.

Note: Facebook Messenger Ads can work well for brands that have a great community engagement (example: via on-site chat) & are socially active.  CPC Strategy is currently testing new ways to monetize both these mediums a bit more –  check back soon for more data!

 

How Facebook Users Engage With Your Ads

The Facebook Consumer Survey 2017
 

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.