This week we are launching a very small test in Australia and Thailand that gives businesses the opportunity to place ads on the Messenger home screen. This means that a business is able to place an ad in an area of Messenger below your recent conversations, similar to how we surface birthday notifications or where we let you know if a friend is currently active on Messenger. No one will see an ad in a conversation without clicking on an ad experience on the Messenger home screen or starting a conversation with a brand – these test ads won’t originate in your conversations. The test group of people in Thailand and Australia will start to see these ads in the coming weeks.
Businesses have long been telling us that they are very excited about the potential of the Messenger platform to reach their customers and help them to drive sales, build brand awareness and increase customer satisfaction. Our current offerings like ads that take people to Messenger conversations from their Facebook News Feed and sponsored messages have demonstrated that people are interested in hearing from and interacting with business and brands on Messenger. In fact, people are already regularly messaging businesses with over 1 billion messages sent between people and businesses on Messenger each month.
We believe this new test for the very small group of people in Thailand and Australia reflects a lightweight, relevant and useful approach to helping people and businesses connect on Messenger. For the Messenger community, it may enhance the discovery of new experiences to make it seamless to interact with businesses on their terms. For businesses, it could offer a new way to surface their products and services to current and potential customers.
Of course, the few people who are in this test are in complete control of their Messenger experience and can choose to hide/report specific ads using the dropdown menu in their Messenger. Advertisers will still not be able to message users directly unless a person starts the interaction and people will not see a message from a business that they didn’t initiate.
We hope to learn a lot from this test, but we will take our time before considering further expansion to ensure that we deliver the very best experience to both advertisers and the 1 billion people who use Messenger every month.