Facebook Messenger globally tests injecting display ads into inbox


Messaging is the center of mobile, and Facebook wants ads in front of all those eyes. After seeing “promising results from Australia and Thailand,” Facebook Messenger is expanding its display ad beta test that lets businesses buy space between your chat threads. Later this month, a small percentage of users will start seeing ads in the Messenger app’s home tab.

Facebook tells TechCrunch that where these ads appear in the inbox “depends on how many threads a user has, the size of their phone’s physical screen and the pixel density of the display.”

Over the next month, Facebook will gradually roll out Messenger ads to all advertisers globally. They’ll have the ability to buy through the Ads Manager or Power Editor, with Messenger becoming one of the automatic placements for Facebook ads alongside the main Facebook app, Instagram and the Audience Network of other apps and sites. Ads aren’t targeted by what people write in messages, and instead use the same Facebook targeting, measurement tools and minimum 50 percent pixels in view standard for viewability.

Facebook began testing the Messenger display ads in January, though the design has evolved from horizontally scrolling carousel design to single display ad design. This makes sense since Messenger’s recent redesign gave people tabs they could swipe through, which could have been accidentally triggered by people swiping through the ads.

The display ads are the most traditional way that Facebook is trying to monetize its 1.2 billion user Messenger app. As Facebook runs out of ad inventory in its News Feed, which it’s warned could slow the company’s revenue growth, it’s seeking to put ads on more of its properties.

Back in April 2016, Facebook started testing Sponsored Messages from brands you’ve already talked to before rolling them out to all developers. And Click To Message ads that send people from Facebook’s News Feed into a conversation with a brand started appearing in 2015.

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