Facebook adds adverts to chat threads in mobile app Messenger

Facebook is boosting its advertising empire by adding adverts to Messenger. Following a successful test run in Australia and Thailand, the company announced that Messenger would soon be running a beta test of display ads. That means, advertisers can now inject their ads between chat threads.

The move could add a substantial revenue boost to Facebook’s ad business given that Messenger (and also WhatsApp) are used by over a billion people per month.

According to Facebook, the roll-out will happen gradually over the coming months. Advertisers can log onto the their Ads Manager to buy these placements. However, the social network adds that adverts aren’t going to be targeted according to a user’s chat history. That would be a little creepy. Instead, targeting follows the usual outline on Facebook.

Facebook has been busy expanding its mobile ad network across its suite of apps. Instagram now generates $1.5 billion in annual revenue from mobile ads and integrating with Facebook has considerably benefitted targeting and measurement abilities.

The company previously warned that ad growth could be stifled, but the Messenger ad addition may seriously boost its revenue.

The company said in a blog post:

People already spend time on Messenger interacting and conducting commerce with businesses and brands they love, and now with Messenger ads, they have an opportunity to discover experiences directly on their home tab. For developers, having a variety of ways to surface the conversational, visual and social experiences they’ve built for businesses and people is crucial. Messenger ads offer developers and businesses a way to use Facebook targeting to extend their reach to people around the world.

In addition, Facebook made it clear that new modes of measurement would be added to its ad tools including app install measurements, which could drive advert volume from developers.

For Michiel Tops, Marketing and Communication Manager at David Jones, the Australian department store, the Messenger addition has been a real bonus. He says:

“Messenger ads have been a powerful addition to our digital advertising campaigns, helping us reach our customers where they are already active and engaged. Thanks to placement optimisation across Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and now Messenger, we’re able to continue to optimise our advertising spend and drive business results.”