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BizReport : Social Marketing : December 15, 2017

What FB Messenger opening to ads means to marketers

Facebook's recent move to allow direct marketing to consumers through their messaging app surprised many in the digital sector, not the least of whom are the customers themselves. Many wonder what this move means for them, and for advertisers, the race is on to determine how to engage wary consumers without alienating them. We asked three experts what they thought of the move.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What are some of the reasons Facebook opened Messenger to advertising?

Jason Beckerman, CEO & Co-founder, Unified: Facebook's ad tech platform is already serving ads across their network, which includes Facebook, Instagram, and their Audience Network. Since they have strategically built the same underlying infrastructure for all of them, it has made it easier for marketers to quickly test and learn new options for messaging. This is another example of Facebook not only opening up new inventory sources to marketers, but doing it in a way that enables them to adopt it quickly. This means more consumers to reach, new ways to message to them, and an expanded Facebook footprint in the advertising world.

Eloise Bune, CEO of ScribbleChat: Facebook is essentially an advertising platform, that is long how they've made money. By opening advertising inside of Messenger, Facebook has created an entirely new revenue channel that could be incredibly valuable to marketers, as well shareholders, provided it is significantly differentiated compared to its competitors.

Jason Hansen, Director, Media Buying, HYFN: Facebook is one of the world's largest pathways to information, and millions rely upon it. As real estate continues to dwindle on the newsfeed, it's only natural for Facebook to look for other options.

Kristina: What problems might marketers find in using Messenger to advertise to customers?

Jason Beckerman, Unified: Marketers who approach Messenger as a new channel to deploy old Facebook creative will be taking the wrong approach. The Messenger environment is unique, and should be treated differently from the main Facebook feed. Marketers should understand this from the beginning, and factor it into new creative concepts that resonate in this new environment.

Eloise Bune, ScribbleChat: Messaging platforms are a very competitive medium, so it could be challenging for marketers to reach their audience here, although Messenger has impressive numbers. It's possible that users will just continue to use iMessage as their preferred messaging platform.

Jason Hansen, HYFN: Marketers will need to find a balance between providing value for consumers and ensuring the ad is being seen. We, as the consumer, all make better and quicker decisions when we're engaging with something we want and need - and we want to know the narrative. This is what makes an ad engaging and gives the consumer more incentive to interact with it. Finding that balance will be key when it comes to customer retention.

Kristina: What are some benefits to this type of marketing?

Jason Beckerman, Unified: Having more Facebook advertising touchpoints means more creative retargeting opportunities. The ability to message and re-message across the Facebook network before pushing someone into a customer care experience, will be very powerful for the entire Enterprise.

Eloise Bune, ScribbleChat: Within messaging platforms marketers are capturing users in the moment when they are taking an action and writing a message. One could argue this is a great time to grab their attention, even if they do not click an advertisement they will be in an active mode rather than passive and may be more likely to remember or take an action by clicking the ad.

Jason Hansen, HYFN: By opening up Messenger for advertisements, brands, retailers and businesses have new opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Kristina: What implications, for social marketing as a whole, do you expect this move to have?

Jason Beckerman, Unified: Social is the most innovative media of our time. New ad units, tactics, and measurement capabilities are being released faster than any advertising channel before. Additionally, more teams and tools are being added at explosive rates, fragmenting the data and insights brand marketers need to make sense of their investment portfolio.
Serving ads on Messenger adds a new channel into an already challenging mix. As a result, marketers need to make sure they have total access and ownership of their data so holistic measurement is complete and accurate. This is a necessity for marketers today as social continues to expand into new areas like this.

Eloise Bune, ScribbleChat: I think it's too early to tell, but I am very interested to see if this becomes something users will be ok with. I am sure you will have to eventually pay Facebook to get ads out of your feeds whether it be Facebook proper or Messenger, much like Spotify does now. Again, this could be a another great revenue stream for Facebook.

Jason Hansen, HYFN: Facebook messenger allows advertisers to connect with their users in a different way than any other platform or medium. No longer is there a barrier or wall between a brand and its user base as they can now connect in real time.
Eliminating these walls may also lower the barriers to garnering key conversions; for instance:
• Allow customers to ask questions before making a big purchase decision
• Allow brands focused on lead quality to nurture "hot" leads or eliminate those that are simply not interested.
• Allow advertisers to submit offers or messaging to key customers
Simply put, Messenger increases the number of touch points brands can interact with the customers along the purchase journey. This can pay huge dividends at a time when there are a lot of choices for performance marketers and brands in the digital world.

Kristina: How should marketers begin using Messenger as a marketing tool?

Jason Beckerman, Unified: For advertisers, showing ads on the Messenger platform provides them with more ways to reach consumers beyond Facebook's core social network. It also allows them to reach consumers right before a direct dialogue with a brand via chat. Combine that with the existing scale of Messenger--1.2 billion users per month--and you end up with an exciting new opportunity for social marketers.

Eloise Bune, ScribbleChat: Like any new marketing channel, advertisers will need to test carefully before putting large budgets behind this new form of marketing.

Jason Hansen, HYFN: Facebook Messenger presents a new channel for advertisers and marketers to think outside the box. Whether this is through video or gamification, marketers and advertisers will need to bring the dynamic ads found on the main newsfeed into Messenger.

Tags: advertising, facebook marketing, HYFN, ScribbleChat, Social Marketing, social marketing trends, Unified

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