Facebook Debuts ‘Sponsored Messages’ AKA 'Ads' in Facebook Messenger
“Businesses will be able to send relevant promotions directly to people with whom they've already communicated,” reads Facebook’s announcement on Nov. 3.
An article published Tuesday in Adweek said:
[Facebook] announced today a number of updates that let marketers interact with users in the Facebook-owned messaging app, adding not just sponsored messages but also additional retargeting features, customized customer chat plug-ins and additional metrics for tracking Messenger performance. Publishers will also be able to reach users through a beta Broadcast API for breaking news alerts or game-score updates for teams. … The news comes just a year after Facebook began allowing brands to buy ads for their chatbots within the News Feed.
But only 9 percent of “veteran marketers” — or the most likely ones to use chatbots — are frequently using the option to communicate with customers, reads an announcement on Tuesday from LiveWorld about the results of the vendor’s new study, “Messaging Apps and Chatbots for Brand Marketing.” (Opens as a PDF)
Among the 43 percent of brands using messaging for marketing purposes, most use Facebook Messenger, reads the study.
In its announcement about the sponsored messages, the Facebook Business post says more than 54 percent of social media users prefer that brands message them in social channels vs. email, phone and other digital means.
It may require more B2B marketing from Facebook and other messaging platform providers to raise awareness of that finding among brands, because the research by LiveWorld, an online conversation management software and services provider, reveals:
Nearly 60 percent of respondents indicated they had not used chatbots for customer interaction at all.
LiveWorld reports that most brands (55 percent) are using messaging tools to offer customer service. Additionally: “58 percent of marketers surveyed indicated that marketing via messaging apps was not a high priority.”
And while marketers could use the new sponsored messages option for retargeting, the Facebook Business post shows two brands in its beta test used the option for new messages.
Qantas, an Australian airline that has been using Messenger for customer service since 2016, decided to test Messenger to reengage with people who expressed interest in flying. By adding sponsored messages to their media mix, Qantas found that Messenger was the most efficient digital channel for driving traffic during their spring flight sale. Over the course of their five-day campaign, the airline's sponsored messages had a click-through rate 4.5 [times] higher than its Facebook link ads.
A smaller brand in the U.S. used the messages to “reengage” with customers about hats in four new colors.
The Facebook Business post also detailed the way marketers had been interacting with customers, which effectively opted them in for the sponsored messages in the future:
Many businesses use click-to-Messenger ads every day to start conversations with customers; generating leads, driving transactions and offering customer support.
Perhaps, though, it’s not that brand leaders think that marketing through messenger platforms is useless, but that it’s difficult. For instance, LiveWorld’s survey responses from marketers found these obstacles to adoption among brands interested in chatbots: “integration of data from multiple sources, ROI measurement, resource management, connecting to in-house teams, and sharing customer data with enterprise systems.”
What do you think, marketers? Are sponsored messages the new wave of advertising?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Making Sense of Facebook’s New Ad Updates