Facebook Ekes Out More Ad Space, This Time In Messenger



Marketers want in on your conversations. Here’s what’s happening.


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Facebook dominates the display advertising landscape, owning nearly 40 percent of the market per eMarketer. Facebook’s total revenue topped $27 billion in 2016—and the platform is looking to grow this figure with new and different ad offerings.

One way they are doing this is by beginning to roll out Messenger ads for U.S. audiences. Messenger ads have been in test-mode overseas since the beginning of 2017.

According to Ad Age, Facebook is allowing media buyers to extend the reach of their campaigns beyond Facebook and Instagram to Messenger with the simple check of a box. With the exception of video ads (for now), marketers can run their single photo or carousel campaigns within Messenger. Facebook’s product team states that they are holding off on including video ads at this stage of the rollout, though it’s likely that these will eventually find their way to Messenger, as well.

One of the only factors threatening to slow Facebook’s ongoing growth is limited real estate. As the Facebook News Feed and Instagram feeds become more and more inundated with ads, the platform needs to find new spaces where marketers can effectively capture attention, influence decision-making and, ultimately, drive purchases.

“[Advertising is] not necessarily everything, but it’s definitely how we’re going to be making money right now, and going forward there are some other business models we are exploring as well, but they’re all around ads one way or another,” said Stan Chudnovsky, Messenger head of product, in a recent interview with VentureBeat.

Still, it will be interesting to see how Facebook users react to seeing brand messages in their conversations. The News Feed, once dominated by content from friends and closely followed companies and groups, has become overrun with marketing content and yet Facebook’s user base still tops 1 billion people worldwide. Will consumers simply “get used to” seeing ads within their one-to-one conversations or group threads, as they’ve done with respect to the News Feed?

It will also be interesting to see if and how Facebook will be able to target ads relevant to conversations occurring within  Messenger, similar to how Google uses email context to serve ads within Gmail. For example, if I ask my friend for a movie suggestion in a one-to-one chat, will Universal Pictures be able to offer up a selection or to that’s relevant to our conversation? Such an update would open powerful opportunities for chatbot style advertising, though Facebook isn’t quite there at the moment.


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