Friday, July 14, 2017

Ready to have your text message interrupted by an ad?

Facebook is taking on a new ad frontier — by starting ad placement in Messenger. The social media giant claims that this is a development to further user experience, but many industry analysts are skeptical, saying this is just a play to get more ad revenue dollars in Facebook’s pocket.

How it works:
  • A user clicks on an advertisement in their newsfeed. 
  • The user would be sent to the Facebook Messenger app to initiate a conversation with a customer representative (or receive pre-programmed data responses). Note that this is only one option among many that an advertiser can choose to send the user to (others include: their website, a retailer’s website, an article).

  • Facebook states that the user is looking for more information and that messenger opens up a direct dialogue between the user and advertiser. 
  • Zuckerberg states that messenger needed to be in a separate app because each app should only specialize in one function/expertise, so FB couldn’t be both a social media and messenger app. 

Mobile is the fastest growing technology platform and digital advertisers are exploring tactics to get ahead of this trend. It makes up over half of the average American’s device usage on a daily basis and continues to grow. Even more significant is the fact that messaging is the only mobile activity more widely used than social media. All other messenger apps are serving ads on their platform, with the exception of WhatsApp which is also a Facebook property. Given the business model of launching free services and monetizing later, it is likely that WhatsApp could also convert to an ad-serving platform if Facebook Messenger is deemed a successful proposition. 

From search and displays, to social media, to email and messaging, digital advertising continues to gain access more personal areas of our lives. The more pervasive digital advertising becomes, the greater the risk that users become apathetic and more difficult to influence due to ad prevalence, or they more actively support ad-blocking to maintain personal boundaries. Either outcome is not great news for marketers — the battle for share of voice will only get more difficult from here.  

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