Sooner or later, Facebook was going to leverage that huge active users base on Facebook Messenger to start making money. While the idea of Messenger ads might have seemed far-fetched to some, the reality was Messenger ads was bound to happen.
According to leaked documents obtained by techcrunch, Facebook is likely to include the ads feature in Messenger by the second quarter of 2016. The leaked document, which was supposed to remain a secret, was send out to big businesses and companies doing business with Facebook. The document outlined how these firms can utilize Messenger ads to improve productivity.
However, Facebook has already started implementing the service in a way. This is by way of the short url link. Some users are beginning to see these short urls in their Messenger pages. Although, you might only get these urls from only companies you’d had dealings with in the past. Clicking on the url would directly take you the the Messenger page of the company.
For instance, one might see a url like this, fb.com/msg/tp where ‘tp’ is the name of the company. By clicking on the link, the user immediately initiates a chat with the company or business. Facebook is actively promoting these method of contacting potential customers. The short url link is thought to be a precursor to flown blown Messenger ads that is likely to launch later this year if everything goes according to plan.
I expect to see a lot of resistance to this plan by Facebook if it is implemented. Messenger ads on a private chat between friends, families or couples is seriously akin to having a third party eavesdropping on your conversation. People are so used to not seeing ads on Messenger that these would be considered too intrusive.
But according to the leaked document, Messenger ads would not be as bad as people might think. The ads are targeted at people who really need to see the ad. So how can Facebook determine that? The user has to initiate contact first of all. Now you see how the short url comes into play? By inadvertently clicking on the url, a user has actually initiated contact with the advertiser. So the ads start flooding in from that firm to that particular user. That is targeted ads at its best. And in some ways, it is a sneaky way of getting people to start getting ads.
Messenger ads, if it finally happens, would seriously take the fun out of using Facebook Messenger. Now, when you get or hear a notification on your Facebook Messenger, you pick your device in anticipation of chatting with a friend. By the time Messenger ads come into play, you wonder if the new message notification is from a friend or just another annoying ad.
Depending on how well it is received during this testing phase, Messenger ads might be cancelled. That is to say, it is not 100% certain for now that plan would come to stay. But starring the marketers at Facebook is an active user base of close to a billion people. What they see is lots of money to be made even from a fraction of that number. So it is fair to say that Facebook Messenger ads is coming soon. One way or the other.