Additional marketing opportunism could soon be coming to Facebook via its popular Messenger platform. Read of for more details…

“TechCrunch recently obtained a leaked Facebook document which reveals details of Facebook’s plans to test and launch ads within Facebook Messenger later in 2016.

This won’t mean an ads free-for-all to users with Messenger installed (approx. 800m currently) – not even to those that have Liked your page. But it will open up the possibility of re-engaging with users who have previously contacted a page via the chat functionality.

Facebook has been working hard to capture the customer service market as users have become more disillusioned with having to call (and sometimes be charged), wait in automated queues, and deal with poor service in call centres spread out across the world. It has already announced Business On Messenger and allowed 3rd party tool integration for message management, as well as enhancing Pages and the News Feed to allow users to easily contact businesses.

The leaked document seems to stipulate that ads should relate to, and carry on, and existing discussion that a user has started, but this could potentially include such things as:

  • Informing a user of a sale or promotion including promo codes etc
  • Announce new products or direct users to specific products online to buy
  • Send brand/product related content
  • Re-target users who have previously discussed certain items or inform them when something is back in stock

While Facebook hasn’t specifically confirmed this yet, they did tell TechCrunch ‘We don’t comment on rumour or speculation. That said, our aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type.’, while also recently having amended the ToS to their other messaging app WhatsApp to potentially open in up to B2C communications/ads.”

Update: Brad Smallwood, a Facebook VP, stated at the VentureBeat Marketing.Fwd event that in regards to WhatsApp “It is not advertising, but is marketing, It is utility that is being created by businesses inside the chat environment. It’s not directly what we consider to be advertising.”. And when questioned specifically about Messenger he followed up with “It will fit with the consumer experience, of what their expectations are.