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Facebook introduces ads to Messenger

Facebook has announced that it is trialling advertising in its proprietary Messenger app, meaning users will soon see ads popping up on their mobile Messenger home screen. This move comes following “promising results from Australia and Thailand,” where Messenger ads have been in testing since January.

The size and placement of these new ads will reportedly depend on “how many threads a user has, the size of their phone’s physical screen and the pixel density of the display.” Messenger will also become one of the automatic placements for ads purchased with the social network, along with Instagram and the main Facebook app.

Users will be able to follow a link in the ad to a website which will be shown within Messenger’s internal browser, as well as start conversations with a brand via the Click To Message function. Once a user has engaged with an ad, they may then receive Sponsored Messages from that brand. These functions are another step towards what Facebook ultimately hopes will be a frictionless e-commerce experience to rival that of eBay or Amazon.

“For some, the Messenger ads will feel obtrusive, crammed in alongside your personal messages,” writes TechCrunch’s Josh Constine, adding: “If Facebook can avoid putting too many of these in the inbox, and only show them after a sufficient number of threads, they could help it monetise without significantly changing the feel of Messenger.”

Facebook recently celebrated reaching 2 billion global users, but has also struggled with poor viewability metrics relating to some video advertising on its platform. 85 per cent of the company’s current advertising revenues come from mobile, but this is expected to decline over the next year, so it makes sense that the Messenger team are looking into monetising their instant chat service and its 1.2 billion monthly users. Social apps like Facebook and Messenger remain a favourable proposition to advertisers, as content on these platforms still catch the eyes of users who might deploy ad-blockers in their mobile browsers.

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