Facebook embarks on aggressive strategy to monetise Messenger

Posted Jul 27, 2017 by James Walker
Facebook is planning to use its Messenger mobile chat service to attract advertisers away from purchasing banner ads on websites. The company wants to monetise conversations, showing you ads between messages that it believes will increase engagement.
Messenger ads are going global
Messenger ads are going global
Facebook started to roll out ads in Messenger earlier this month. The large and intrusive full-screen images have been hailed by Facebook as a "powerful addition" to its advertising toolset. The company has broad ambitions for the future of Messenger ads, telling Business Insider it wants them to replace the role of mobile webpage ads.
Vice President of Messenger David Marcus explained how he sees mobile ads as inefficient and overly expensive for purchasers. Mobile sites don’t often have space to display several ads on each screen. You're less likely to engage with a mobile ad because you typically tend to switch activities more frequently when you're using a phone.
"Let's say you're waiting at the dentist for an appointment and you see an ad for something you like, you click on that ad, you open a web page, a mobile web page, and then your name is called," Marcus said. "You go in for your appointment, you come out, you forgot you did that, and you're already onto another mindset."
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At this point, the ad you saw is forgotten as you move onto another task. The advertiser may now start tracking you around the web, displaying the product on other pages. This approach is costly and not guaranteed to recapture your interest though, making it more likely the advertiser will treat your view as a missed opportunity.
Facebook intends to offer advertisers an alternative. By putting ads inside Messenger conversations, it can provider a less fleeting chance to engage your interest. You'll see the same ad each time you open one of your conversations. Chatting to your friends or family will prompt you to reconsider the purchase, even if you'd previously forgotten it.
The strategy sees Facebook return to one of its oldest advertising techniques. The company has always had to battle traditional formats such as TV and the web for its ad revenue. It has to actively prove its worth by convincing brands it can offer a higher return on investment. Marcus believes that companies will be willing to spend their budgets on Messenger because of its potential for increased engagement over regular formats.
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"What we do is we're trying to help businesses get to their business objective, so if we have platforms that drive higher conversion rates then that's where they will go," said Marcus. "That's why we believe that opening conversations, if you have the right experience, drive higher conversions."
The comments make it clear that Messenger's ad "beta test" will soon expand into something much larger. After years of leaving Messenger to grow, Facebook's now preparing to aggressively monetise the platform. Your communications will make money for the social network as you send chats from an ad-filled interface.
Marcus' comments to Business Insider were published on the same day Facebook posted its second-quarter earnings, reporting a 71% earnings increase as it climbed past 2 billion users.