Every mobile and web app needs to make money and advertising seems to be the favourite way of making money on the Internet. Facebook will soon be publishing ads within Facebook Messenger. According to a leaked document that Facebook recently sent to biggest advertisers, the company will be launching ads within Facebook Messenger in the second quarter (Q2) of 2016 (news source).
According to the classified document, businesses will be able to send ads as messages to people who have had some sort of Facebook Messenger interaction with the company. Facebook has suggested its advertisers to initiate communications with prospective customers so that they are not caught off guard when the actual ads begin to appear within Facebook Messenger.
The social networking website also has a URL shortner link that can be assigned to particular businesses. For example, if you want your prospective customers to initiate a chat session with you within Facebook Messenger, you can give them a short link and when they click the link, a chat thread with you instantly opens and they can have a chat with you.
There are around 800 million people using Facebook Messenger and this can be a big advertising potential for the company. But they will have to make a delicate balance because a messenger window is considered to be quite private. People will be taken aback if suddenly they start receiving business messages. For example, Facebook and Twitter timelines seem quite public and all sorts of content is expected within the timeline. But while checking a messenger, people assume that only private messages are coming and messages from unknown people are instantly blocked. The same may happen to ads from businesses when they begin to appear within Facebook Messenger.
To discourage random ad messages appearing in Facebook Messenger, Facebook won’t allow just any business to post messages. Businesses will be able to send ads to only those people who have previously interacted with them using Facebook Messenger. And those interactions will have to be voluntary. The logic that applies to receiving messages from one’s friends will also be applied to messages coming from businesses.
Will ads in Facebook Messenger succeed? It depends. Personally I feel they won’t. Then how should instant messaging apps make money because after all they cannot sustain themselves unless they make money.
I think they should facilitate business transactions within the messaging interface and then take a portion of that revenue. Instead of allowing businesses to publish ads perhaps instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger should facilitate 1-1 relationships between businesses and prospective customers. Even small businesses would do.