Facebook Brings First Ads to Messenger

chatbot messengerFacebook has introduced sponsored messages to Messenger – the services first ads.

Messengers version 1.3 update opens up the ability for brands to message users or highlight their messaging bot, trialled on a very limited basis earlier this year, to all advertisers globally.

The launch was announced at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon by Messenger VP of product David Marcus.

At least initially, businesses will only be able to message users who have previously initiated a conversation with them, and users will be able to block advertisers if they dont want to see future messages from them.

With this launch, Messenger moves from what CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week described as the second phase of Facebooks non-core businesses – “enabling people to organically interact with businesses” – to the third, when it starts to monetise by offering advertisers “tools to reach more people”.

That came during the companys Q3 earnings call, on which Facebook admitted that ads within the News Feed of its core app were reaching saturation point, meaning it would need to turn to the other services it has not yet monetised to continue growing. Its no surprise, then, to see this launch taking a step towards that.

This leaves one major part of Facebooks business still untapped – WhatsApp, which at least superficially would present the same opportunities for businesses. It currently remains untouched by the changes, but for how remains to be seen.