via Business Insider
After a successful initial test, Facebook is set to debut display ads in the Messenger home screen, Venture Beat reports. Facebook started testing this format with Messenger users in Thailand and Australia in January and is now expanding the trial to all markets worldwide.
With more than 1.2 billion monthly users as of April 2017, Messenger serves up a massive captive audience. That’s up from the 1 billion monthly users that Facebook reported in July 2016. And on top of adding scores of new users, engagement on the app is in “double-digit growth,” said Messenger head David Marcus. Brands will be licking their lips at the prospect of reaching an enormous and highly engaged audience.
- Messenger display ads would live in symbiosis with chatbots. Last year, Facebook opened Messenger to promotional posts from branded chatbots, enabling businesses to send messages about daily deals, coupons, discounts, and sales directly to users, though with restrictions — users had to initiate the conversation, and then a chatbot would have 24 hours to reply, during which promotional posts could be sent.
- Ads could be the trigger to initiate these chatbot conversations. A well-targeted ad could be the “conversation opener” that leads to a user communicating with a brand. Facebook’s plans for monetizing its products always follow a three-stage plan: build an experience and get it to scale; help people interact with businesses and other public entities; then give businesses tools to reach people beyond organic interaction.
This falls into Facebook’s plan to make Messenger a new Yellow Pages with much broader functionalities. It builds upon the new Discover tab in Messenger by further encouraging connections between consumers and brands and more specifically helps set Messenger up as a channel for e-commerce and customer service. As of April 2017, Messenger is home to more than 20 million businesses and 100,000 bots, up by over 320% from 30,000 bots in November 2016.