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Facebook Messenger now lets brands send you ads that look like messages

Facebook has updated Messenger to allow brands to send you ads that look like messages, as well as to create News Feed ads that redirect to Messenger.

Published onNovember 9, 2016


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to deny any company the ability to make money, but isn’t there a line somewhere that shouldn’t be crossed? Maybe not. Facebook, in its never-ending pursuit of pleasing advertisers rather than users, has just updated Messenger to allow brands to send you ads disguised as messages. Hooray.

In the Messenger Platform 3.1 update, Facebook informs all advertisers that they can now create News Feed ads that open a conversation in Messenger. If you ever clicked on one of those ads, in future you will be able to be contacted by that brand in Messenger directly.

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While users will have the ability to block or delete troublesome “advertimessages” we’re likely going to be seeing more and more of them because they clearly work. Absolut, a company that has been trialling the News Feed-Messenger feature in beta form for months, provides a convincing testimonial regarding exceeded expectations. As Absolut’s vp of marketing states:

Using News Feed ads to open conversations in Messenger allows Absolut to move beyond the call to action – it’s a call to conversation, which ultimately leads to a conversion. It’s a novel way to use Facebook ads to drive consumers from content to commerce. So far, our activation rate has exceeded execution benchmarks by 2x.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the blog post continues: “but driving people to Messenger isn’t enough. How can businesses continue to engage and excite people to keep coming back? This is where sponsored messages can play a role.”

Sponsored messages are ads delivered straight to your Messenger inbox, bypassing any initial interaction with a News Feed ad (because you must have interacted with the brand in the past). The only way to avoid advertimessages is to either never interact with ads in your News Feed or to block each one as it comes in.

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