It appears that Facebook may have plans to launch ads within its Messenger app, beginning during the second quarter of 2016. That’s according to a leaked document, obtained by TechCrunch.
More specifically, the document states that retailers would be able to package ads as messages to consumers who have been in touch with the business before. It advises that companies begin a conversation with customers in Messenger right away. The move resembles the collection of email addresses and could replace retailer newsletters for some. However, it does avoid the spam factor some emails represent, since customers would have made the initial contact.
Marketers could use the new feature to send out promotions, flash sales, announce new products, feature video ads, and follow up on consumer satisfaction after a purchase.
Facebook to roll out ads in Messenger
Facebook didn’t comment on the document, but said that it was aiming to provide the best experience for the 800m monthly active Messenger users worldwide and that also meant not spamming them with unwanted messages.
The move is a direct expansion of Facebook’s plans to improve the way businesses communicate with potential and existing customers. In March 2015, the company announced the Businesses On Messenger programme to allow eCommerce consumers communicate directly with sales representatives.
Since then, Facebook has added business page functionalities such as ‘Send Message’ and ‘Contact Us’ buttons to encourage conversations with businesses. At the start of 2016, it also added chat bots for some developers to test shopping features native to Messenger.
According to the document, Facebook has already launched URL short links for Messenger, such as fb.com/msg/. When such a link is tapped, the user starts a conversation with a brand in Messenger or on Facebook’s mobile/desktop site. Facebook aims to use such links to replace customer service hotline numbers. Facebook states it would reward fast response rates of 90% by making a business’s Messenger handle become searchable on the social media site.
It remains to be seen if the move will make Messenger to spammy for some people or whether Facebook can fine tune to feature to not interrupt the user experience.