Ad load has become a hot topic with regards to Facebook. News feeds on the flagship platform are running out of ad space. Now, the advertisements are spreading to Instagram feeds, Audience Network, and Facebook Messenger – a mobile messaging application.
There have been previous experiments with Messenger ads. The earlier sponsored messages were only visible in chat windows to consumers with an existing conversation with the brand.
Beginning with a test group in Thailand and Australia, Facebook will roll out ads on the Messenger app home screen in the coming weeks. In contrast to the previous Messenger ads, these new ads appear like Facebook news feed ads – a scrollable carousel with images. The five sponsored image thumbnails, along with text and a link, will appear below the recent conversations block, where there are currently birthday notifications.
For now, the advertisements will not originate within conversations. Facebook product manager Eddie Zhang reported that “no one will see an ad in a conversation without clicking on an ad experience on the Messenger home screen.”
However, when users click the ad, they are able to start a conversation with the brand or learn more about the advertised product. Zhang also reported that the test group will have control of ad block to hide/report ads using a drop-down menu within the application.
The Messenger app is a promising advertising platform to businesses because of its frequency of use and simple design. There are over 1 billion monthly users to reach with this platform, including users who do not have the Facebook application downloaded. Advertisements are more visible in the messaging app than on cluttered news feeds for both Facebook and Instagram.
According to Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for Messenger, these ads are “not going to be expanding anywhere for a long time.” Facebook plans to “run long-term tests.”