After forcing Facebook users to switch to a separate Messenger app to continue chatting, the social network is about to start pushing adverts on those using the function.
Facebook said on Tuesday that it was testing advertising on its Messenger app globally as the world’s largest social media company looks to further monetise its popular chat service, which has 1.2 billion monthly users.
Ads will be displayed on the home tab of the Messenger app, Facebook said, adding that users clicking on the ads will either be taken to the advertiser’s website or to a chat window where they can interact with the brand. Previously Facebook allowed businesses to chat with Messenger users directly and send them sponsored content.
The move follows Facebook’s initial tests in Australia and Thailand in January, and is a crucial step in its plans to continue to monetise users across its increasingly diverse and segregated platforms, which include the main Facebook social network, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Of the four, only WhatsApp does not contain ads.
Facebook gets about 85% of its ad revenue from mobile, but advertising through the main Facebook app is expected to cool off this year, meaning that multiple revenue streams from separate platforms are becoming more important.
But how Messenger users react to having ads inserted into their home screens remains to be seen. Users will be able to temporarily hide specific ads, but not stop them in their entirety.
In a world populated by ad-blocking through browsers, segregated apps such as Facebook’s and Twitter’s have remained isolated from the trend, and a place toguarantee eyeballs on ads for marketers, aided by Facebook’s wealth of user data and advanced targeting.