They had already been trialed in Australia and Thailand, but now, Facebook Messenger ads are rolling out globally. These will be found in the Home tab in Messenger, between your conversations, giving brands access to Messenger’s 1.2 billion-strong user base.
As well as more traditional ads that take users to a product homepage, Facebook says that it will also allow for “Click to Messenger” ads which will launch a conversation (with the promoted business) after being clicked. Facebook also mentions an opportunity for these brands to re-engage with users after this initial conversation has been started (should we prepare for booty calls from Coca-Cola?).
“People already spend time on Messenger interacting and conducting commerce with businesses and brands they love,” wrote Facebook, on its Messenger blog. “Now with Messenger ads, they have an opportunity to discover experiences directly on their home tab.”
Facebook says that “a small percentage” of Messenger users will begin seeing the ads towards the end of the month, and this will gradually increase “over the coming months.”
I know it seems rich to complain about this after happily using the free Messenger service for years now, and I can’t hold it against Facebook for wanting to monetize 1.2 billion users, but this sucks. Not because of the advertising itself, but because it will be injected into a service that has already been welcomed by billions. What I mean is, many of us have become accustomed to using Facebook Messenger, hooked in, so that switching platforms now would be a pain. Instead, we’ll have to suffer the ads and without a “pay to remove”option (which can be found in many other Android apps). What’s more, it might only be a matter of time before we see this crop up in WhatsApp too — it’s owned by Facebook.
Is this the kind of thing that would stop you using Facebook Messenger? Are you somebody who, perhaps, welcomes the changes? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Messenger Discover tab now live
June 28: The new Discover tab in Messenger is now available to all users in the US. This basically lets you connect to the businesses you like, while at the same time allowing companies to promote their services to you. There are a number of different categories available including News, Entertainment, Finance, and others that can narrow down the search and help you find what you’re looking for faster. You’ll also find popular bots from brands like CNN, Nike, and the NBA, among others.
Filters and reactions for video chats
June 26: With this update, Facebook added color filters, animated reactions, and even more masks and effects to Messenger video chats. You can now react while video chatting with someone with each emotion you choose popping up on the screen for a short period of time. There are five emoji icons available: love, haha, wow, sad, and angry.
You can also tweak the lighting or even the color of your entire screen with the new filter feature, and take a screenshot of your video chats and share them with others. Additionally, the update added more masks, which are essentially Facebook Messenger’s take on Snapchat’s face filters.
Facebook Messenger getting a UI change
May 19: With the latest update, the company has reorganized the Messenger interface to make it easier to connect with friends and catch up on what you’ve missed. Across the top of the landing page, you’ll now find tabs for your “active” friends, messages and groups, while at the bottom, you’ll see buttons for the home screen, calls, camera, games and contacts. Essentially, all of the main areas are now just a tap or swipe away.
Facebook Messenger Instant Games
May 2: Facebook begins rolling out Instant Games globally, including the ability to weave in leaderboards/tournaments, add players via threads, use Game Bots and more. Words With Friends is among the first games to take advantage of these features. EverWing will also be updated with the new capabilities, and 8 Ball Pool will soon be added as a new title.
Facebook Messenger gains chat extensions, M improvements and more
April 18: Facebook’s F8 developer conference brought plenty of news and Messenger obviously didn’t stay behind. The social network announced a new Discover tab, Messenger Codes, Chat Extensions and M improvements. One can now do things like share songs, order food from a chat, find business information with a QR code and more.
Group payment support
April 11: Facebook Messenger now lets you make and receive group payments. To get started, open the Messenger app, pull up a group chat, then tap the plus sign button in the bottom left corner of the conversation. Find the payments icon ($), then tap it. After that, you can then choose who to send or request money from. You can easily select everyone in the group, or select only a few members. Then enter the amount of money you’d like to send or request, specify what the money is for, then tap Request. Easy, right?
“M” comes to Messenger
April 7: Facebook has announced the launch of suggestions in its Messenger app, delivered courtesy of its AI assistant M. This is a big step for the company: M has itself has been in development since 2015, and though all of its features haven’t been finalized yet, its suggestions component is now live.