Facebook reportedly plans to introduces ads to its Messenger app in Q2 2016.
That's according to a leaked document obtained by TechCrunch, which claims that users will only be served ads by businesses who they've previously initiated a chat with.
The challenge for brands, then, is convincing Messenger users to get in touch. To help with that, Facebook has launched a 'fb.com/msg/' shortlink format which instantly opens a chat thread with a business – TechCrunch reports Facebook has confirmed this launch, which it believes confirms the document's validity. Last September, Facebook also launched 'Click to Message' ads in the News Feed with a call-to-action to message the brand with a comment or question.
If these reports pan out, the approach sounds like the compromise Facebook has been seeking for its messaging products for the past couple of months. It'll be interesting to see how if this has any impact on the way it monetises WhatsApp, which recently dropped its subscription fee and passed the 1bn user milestone which CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously identified as the point he expected Facebook's non-core products to contribute to the company's bottom line.
We reached out to Facebook for comment on this report but at time of writing haven't heard anything back.