Messenger Is Getting Ads and Businesses Have URL Short Links
Oh, snap. A leaked document that Facebook sent to some of its biggest advertisers reveals that Facebook is going to launch ads within its Messenger service in Q2 2016.
TechCrunch deserves the credit for obtaining and verifying the document. Their source says that businesses will be able to send ads as messages to anyone who previously initiated a chat thread with the company. To prepare for the launch, Facebook recommended that the businesses get consumers to start message threads with them now so that they’ll be able to send them ads when the feature launches. To further back up the validity of the document, Facebook quietly launched a URL short link, fb.com/msg/ that will instantly open a chat thread with a business.
This is a smart move because Messenger is one of Facebook’s most popular and fastest growing products wit 800 million monthly active users – the perfect space to monetize. Luckily, Facebook won’t let brands send ad messages to just anyone – nope, not even people who have already liked their Pages. This is definitely a good effort on their part to limit the spam potential and annoyance.
Even though Zuckerberg said on an analyst call, “I don’t personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging,” there is limited space in people’s News Feeds – already filled with content form friends, news publishers, video makers and brands. Facebook isn’t the only major social media platform willing to let advertisers pay to directly message people. Today, Twitter announced new ways for companies to offer customer service through DMs.
So what would be in the ads? Here are some ideas:
- Inform customers about a flash sale, free gift or other promotion
- Announce a product launch, and encourage foot traffic or provide a link to buy the item online
- Deliver a new video, GIF or other piece of content created by the brand
- Follow up with retargeting-style reminders that an item the user previously considered buying is no longer out of stock or has dropped in price
I wouldn’t expect this to be cheap either. Prepare for steep rates.
Anyway, let’s get back to that URL short link. Brands can share and promote their own link. When a user taps the link, it starts a conversation with the brand. Yes, this is the new version of the 1-800 number. If businesses achieve a 90 percent response rate to messages within 24 hours over the past week, their Messenger handle will become searchable on Facebook – go for gold!
So, for now you can expect it to be your friend when your Messenger pings, but watch out – the ads are coming. However, don’t be too worried about spammy ads because I don’t believe that is Facebook’s true aim here. That’s right, this is simply a way to get more businesses using Facebook.
If you want to learn more, check out The Motley Fool’s Technology Industry Focus with Sean O’Reilly and Dylan Lewis. They run through the details, talk about Facebook’s blueprint for monetizing platforms and speculate what this might mean for Facebook’s other properties.