- Facebook is adding "messages" as an objective in Ad Manager, making it easy for advertisers to add click-to-Messenger functionality on their ads, David Marcus, vice president of messaging products, announced during a panel at Advertising Week on Sept. 26. The news was also revealed in a company blog post the same day.
- The messages objective in Ads Manager will also serve as the new home for Facebook's existing messaging ad products, including allowing businesses to reengage in existing conversations using sponsored messages.
- Marcus noted that 18 million business are using Messenger to connect with consumers, racking up a total of more than two billion interactions between consumers and companies each month. Facebook announced last week that Messenger surpassed 1.3 billion active monthly users.
Facebook's latest effort signals that it's looking to make conversations between brands and users a larger part of its business and monetization strategy. Previously, traffic and conversion objectives could be selected for click to Messenger ads. Now, advertisers can also choose the messages objective to start conversations with users and drive conversions or answer questions, as it lets brands reengage users in existing conversations via sponsored messages, per a Facebook Business blog post.
This is the latest in a series of moves demonstrating Facebook's push to elevate engagement on Messenger and give brands a way to tap into the power of messaging from the main Facebook news feed. At the company's F8 event in April 2016, it announced that brands could integrate chatbots into the platform to streamline some communication with consumers, and its artificial intelligence (AI)-fueled M now suggests things like GIFs, initiating calls and quick auto-responses based on the user's intent. Messenger is getting smarter, and more marketers are beginning to experiment with the platform and chatbots as part of their marketing mix.
Enhancing a messaging platform for people to connect with businesses seems to be a smart move by Facebook, as over 67% of people said they prefer text-based messaging when interacting with a business, per a Facebook-Nielsen survey. Of those surveyed, 59% said they use over-the-top messaging — text-based chat services by a third party — more than they did two years ago, regardless of age. Fifty-six percent predicted they'll increase their use over the next two years, which points to a significant opportunity for brands looking to leverage the growing space.
"Why on earth doesn't any company in the world allow its customers to communicate with them through the medium through which they're communicating with all their friends?" Nick Drake, executive vice president of marketing and experience at T-Mobile, said during the same Advertising Week panel that Marcus participated in.
By meeting consumers on platforms they already use — like Messenger — businesses can provide value and build upon continuing conversations over hours, days and even weeks when it's convenient for the user in one streamlined mobile app, Drake said.