Facebook Messenger Ads: What Are They and Should You Use Them?

Facebook Messenger ads are one way to interact with potential customers. Read on to find out if they're right for your company.
Co-founder, Gentlemint
July 18, 2017

Facebook Messenger is the social media platform's de facto messaging app—and odds are you use it. In April, head of Facebook Messenger David Marcus posted an announcement that the app had passed 1.2 billion active monthly users. Now the platform is offering something that may be of interest to businesses: Facebook messenger ads.

No matter what your niche or customer, there's a good chance that they're part of the 1.2 billion using Messenger. And there may be a chance that a sliver of that population is looking for a service your business provides, no matter how obscure. Just like Facebook ads, you can target interests and audiences that would be likely resonate with your brand with Facebook Messenger ads.

What's really interesting about Messenger ads is the engagement that you can get from the ad format. You can actually chat with a potential customer, interacting with them throughout the sales cycle and creating an interaction that goes beyond what a traditional display ad would.

Let's explore the ins and out of what Facebook Messenger ads are, whether or not they might be right for your business and how you can navigate this new ad platform.

The Two Types of Facebook Messenger Ads

Currently Facebook is offering two different types of Messenger ads: ads that send users directly to a Messenger conversation from Facebook's newsfeed, or ads placed directly in the Messenger inbox.

1. Ads are sent to a Messenger conversation.

These ads are nearly identical to a typical Facebook ad. The ads have an image, they appear in the newsfeed and you can target interests. But unlike a normal newsfeed ad, when the visitor clicks the ad they're sent to a Messenger conversation with your brand page.

With Facebook Messenger ads, you can have conversations with potential customers as they reach out to you—not the other way around.

With this feature, you can give potential customers a way to interact with you immediately. They can ask questions, and you can reply with helpful information. It's the inverse of old-school telemarketing: Instead of cold calling someone at dinner time and hoping they pick up the phone, you're giving potential customers a platform to contact you with their questions.

2. Ads are displayed in the Messenger inbox.

The other option is to display the ads at the top of the user's Messenger inbox. These ads look and behave just like a conversation in Messenger, but instead are used to prompt a conversation between your brand and the customer.

There is a caveat with these type of sponsored inbox ads: You can only target people who have already conversed with your brand.

Facebook Messenger's Extra Features

Facebook Messenger ads also have the ability to retarget potential customers who are already aware of your brand or product.

Consider this scenario: a Messenger user has already visited your website, but left without buying your product. You can then retarget the customer with a Facebook Messenger ad, giving them an open invitation to contact your business directly. You might ask why they didn't finalize the sale, and if they needed any questions answered.

Keep in mind this isn't a cold customer, but someone who is already interested in what you're selling. They just may need a push to make the sale. The ability to engage with a potential customer who has dropped out of the purchase funnel can be a great one.

You might be thinking that this newfangled ad platform is great, but it comes at a cost: someone needs to monitor Messenger 24/7 to chat with all of these people interacting with your brand.

But you don't have to. You can instead use a messenger bot to immediately respond to a conversation, and even give information based on keywords, geographic location and other helpful data about the user. You can also use a bot to communicate with customers based on the questions they ask. You can send them media, helpful links and other information while you're sleeping.

With Facebook Messenger ads, you can have conversations with potential customers as they reach out to you—not the other way around. If used correctly, it could be make a difference to your customer acquisition strategy.

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Photo: Getty Images
Co-founder, Gentlemint