Facebook is currently testing a new Messenger feature that lets businesses and advertisers build their own self-serve sponsored messages.
It’s essentially a bot for companies that cannot build their own bots. Dubbed Messenger Broadcast, the feature is already being tested in the US, Mexico and Thailand.
Facebook launched the feature following an increase of consumers using Messenger to get in touch with companies and feedback from small brands that they lack the resources to create bots.
Although its free of charge right now, a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that it would eventually be carry a charge.
To ensure that bot messaging doesn’t become too spammy, messages are being capped at a certain number. Additionally, brands cannot talk to anyone who hasn’t already contacted them on Facebook.
Given a strong user base of 1.3 billion, it’s obvious that Facebook has big plans to monetize. However, messengers are a different platform to the public News Feed. They serve as a private space for people to exchange conversation. Brand messages and promos could potentially annoy a lot of users.
Indeed, Facebook has already added display ads to Messenger.
Given that Facebook also owns messaging app WhatsApp, perhaps it can afford to experiment to see how willing users are to accept ads and promo messages in their inboxes.
The Messenger Broadcast Composer allows a business to simply target a group of consumers who have previously messaged. A call to action is also included in the message. It is likely that Facebook may establish a charging plan based on audience size.