How to Leverage Facebook Messenger Ads in 2018.

Are brands about to start sliding into your Facebook Messenger DMs?
TJ Kiely
TJ Kiely
June 26, 2018 - 8 min. read

With 1.3 billion people around the world spending time on Messenger every month, it was only a matter of time before Facebook introduced Facebook Messenger ads.

So despite Facebook claims they’re running out of places to show people ads in their flagship News Feed, they still have a huge, mostly untapped market in the other platforms they own, like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

Facebook Messenger Ads

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2015. Source: Facebook

And after a successful beta test for Facebook Messenger ads in Thailand and Australia, which we mentioned in our 2018 Trends Handbook, the advertising option has been rolled out globally.

 Messenger has now become a key battleground for brands looking to interact with customers in a more personalized and direct way.

Facebook Messenger fast facts

  • Messenger has 1.3 billion monthly active users
  • More than two billion messages are sent between people and businesses every month on Messenger
  • 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly
  • 56% of people would rather message than call customer service

Messaging apps rise to dominance

So why invest in Facebook Messenger ads? Well, messaging apps have become so popular that they’ve actually surpassed social networks in terms of usage. Yes, it’s true!

The top four messaging platforms are estimated to have a staggering 4.4 billion monthly active users. So, if you’re looking to reach your customers, messaging apps are where you’ll find them today.

Facebook Messenger Ads

Messaging apps surpassed social networks in terms of monthly active users in 2015. Source: Business Insider

Got the message? Messaging apps are here to stay and they’re going to shake up your social strategy (if they haven’t already)—even Facebook knows it.

During a public Q&A in November 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.”

But it isn’t just people talking to their friends on apps like Messenger—they’re also chatting with businesses. According to Facebook, more than two billion messages are sent between people and businesses every month on Messenger.

With brands now able to actually initiate a conversation with a potential customer rather than having to wait for consumers to reach out directly, that number is likely to increase significantly.

So, what are Facebook Messenger ads?

Facebook has added three new types of ads that are meant to help businesses build relationships with their customers by encouraging more one-to-one communication.

The three new Facebook advertising options are: Messenger ads, Sponsored Messages ads, and Click-to-Messenger ads.

3 Types of Facebook Messenger ads

The three types of Facebook Messenger Ads

Facebook offers three types of ads for Messenger. Source: Facebook

  • Messenger ads: These ads will appear directly in the Messenger home screen alongside the other messages in your target audience’s inbox.
  • Sponsored messages: Sponsored messages allow you to deliver a message directly to anyone that you have an existing conversation within Messenger. So, if you want to message a customer directly about a new product or limited-time offer, now you can!
  • Click-to-Messenger ads: Unlike the other two options, these ads appear in the regular Facebook News Feed or on Instagram. However, unlike a typical News Feed ad, a CTA that reads “Send Message” is displayed and will open a Messenger chat with your brand once clicked.

Note: Given the popularity of WhatsApp in Europe, Facebook has enabled a WhatsApp messaging button which links from a Click-to-Messenger ad to a WhatsApp conversation instead of a Messenger conversation.

Where can you promote Facebook Messenger ads?

You can place Facebook Messenger ads within Messenger (obviously), Facebook and Instagram.

A demonstration of Facebook Messenger. Source: GIPHY

There are some recommended design specifications for Facebook Messenger ads—so before you launch your Facebook advertising campaign, you may want to review the Facebook ad specs page.

And once you’ve got the correct Facebook ad image sizes, your business can begin testing this new option in just a few clicks.

So how do you create a Facebook Messenger ad? Let’s explore…

How to run your first Facebook Messenger ad campaign

Before you begin creating Facebook Messenger ads, make sure that you’ve enabled messaging for your Facebook Page.

Only turn on this feature if you have the resources available to respond to inquiries properly because you won’t only get messages from people that click on your Facebook Messenger ads.

How to set up Messenger home screen ads

If you are looking to extend the reach of your ad campaigns, you’ll want to try placing ads directly in the Messenger home screen.

Facebook Messenger Ad: An example of a Messenger Ad

An example of how a Messenger ad appears in the app. Source: Facebook

  • From within Facebook Business Manager, select Create Ad.
  • Next, you’ll need to choose the objective: Traffic, Conversions, App installs, Reach, Messages, Brand awareness, or Catalog sales. Let’s select Traffic for the sake of this example.
  • Then you’ll need to give your campaign and ad set a name.
  • Now that you’ve chosen an objective (Traffic), it’s time to complete the Destination section. Here you’d likely choose Website since you want to drive traffic from the ad to your website. This option means that once a person has clicked on the ad, a browser will open to the URL you’ve indicated.
  • Then you’ll have to choose either Automatic Placements or Edit Placements.
    • If you want to ensure that your ad will appear in the Messenger home screen, click Edit Placements. The Home option will only be selected as long as Facebook Feeds has also been selected.
  • Now, you’ll need to add some more specific elements to your Facebook Messenger ad campaign, such as your Audience, Budget and Schedule.
  • Once you’ve added all of your targeting information, it’s time to build the actual ad. Here you’ll add the text, headline, URL, CTA and image. You can also choose from a variety of formats, including single image, carousel, video and dynamic ads. (Note: Facebook has just recently added video ads to Messenger.)
  • After adding all of the ad information, you’ll want to preview the ad to check for any errors.
  • If everything looks correct, click Place Order to publish your ad.

How to create Sponsored Messages ads

If you want to retarget existing customers or interested buyers, then you can try sending Sponsored Messages. As mentioned above, you’ll only be able to send this type of ad to people that have messaged your Facebook Page in the past.

This limited targeting option avoids making users feel like branded messages are invading their personal space.

These ads are only labeled “Sponsored” once the chat is opened, so they blend in with every other conversation on the Messenger home screen.

Facebook Messenger Ads

An example of a Sponsored Messages ad within Messenger. Source: Silicon Angle

  • To set up this type of ad, select Create Ad from within Facebook Business Manager.
  • Then you’ll select the Messages objective—this is the only one you can select for Sponsored Messages.
    • If you want to send multiple messages to the same person, you’ll need to select Create Multiple New Ad Sets at the top of the Ad Set section.
  • In the Messages section, select Sponsored Message from the ad type drop-down and then choose the Facebook Page you’d like to send the message from.
  • Then, a custom audience will automatically be created featuring the people who have engaged with your Page through Messenger in the past. The audience size must include at least 20 people.
  • Then you’ll have to select Automatic Placements as you cannot feature the ad in other places.
  • Click Turn On when the Messenger placement notification displays.
  • Now you’ll need to specify your budget and schedule.
  • Then you’ll need to choose whether you’d like the message to appear as Text Only or Image & Text in the Message Setup section.
  • After that, it’s time to select the Page you’d like the ad to be connected to in the Page & Links section.
  • Last, you’ll need to set a CTA such as Sign Up Now.
  • Once all the information has been added, you’ll want to preview the ad to check for any errors.
  • Finally, if everything looks correct, click Place Order to publish your ad.

How to create Click-to-Messenger ads

If you are interested in trying to engage your potential customers in a conversation around your products or services, you might want to explore Click-to-Messenger ads.

Once a person clicks on these ads that appear on Facebook, Messenger or Instagram, a Messenger window appears.

Note: If you chose to explore this option, it’s imperative that you also set up a predetermined response to automatically greet people after they’ve clicked on your ad.

Facebook Messenger Ad: An example of a click-to-message ad

An example of a Click-to-Message ad. Source: Social Media Examiner

  • To set up this type of ad, select Create Ad from within Facebook Business Manager.
  • Then you’ll select the Messages objective and click Continue.
  • Now that you’ve chosen an objective (Messages), it’s time to complete the Destination section. Here you’ll select Click to Messenger.
  • Next, you’ll need to add some more specific elements to your Facebook Messenger ad campaign, such as your Audience, Budget and Schedule.
  • Then it’s time to build the actual ad by adding the text, headline, image and CTA. Make sure that you use text and a CTA that would encourage someone to reach out to your business. Note: You can select any format except Canvas for Click-to-Messenger ads.
  • Once you’ve built the actual ad, it’s time to fill in the content that people will see in the message after they’ve clicked on your ad by selecting Messenger Setup.
  • When you’re finished adding the additional information, review your ad and click Place Order.

The final take on Facebook Messenger ads

Facebook advertising offers brands a variety of options for increasing reach and engagement on Facebook, but only Messenger ads offer brands a way to engage in a direct conversation with consumers.

This emphasis on building meaningful customer relationships allows brands to provide personalized care and carry out relevant retargeting.

As the shift toward private messaging continues to gain traction, Facebook Messenger ads should be considered an integral part of any Facebook advertising strategy.

If you’d like to discover more ways to improve your Facebook advertising, check out this piece on 5 Typical Facebook Ad Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Budget.

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