Facebook Messenger, which started testing display ads with some users in Thailand and Australia in January is expanding its global beta test, including the number of brands that can run ads via the messaging app.
In a blog post announcing the news, Ted Helwick, a product manager for Facebook Messenger, said a small percentage of users will start seeing the display ads in their Messenger Home tab toward the end of July as the company builds native advertising inventory. Facebook will gradually extend the feature to more users over the course of the next few months.
“People already spend time on Messenger interacting and conducting commerce with businesses and brands they love, and now with Messenger ads, they have an opportunity to discover experiences directly on their home tab,” said Helwick in the post. “For developers, having a variety of ways to surface the conversational, visual and social experiences they’ve built for businesses and people is crucial. Messenger ads offer developers and businesses a way to use Facebook targeting to extend their reach to people around the world.”
Helwick noted more than 1.2 billion people around the globe use the Messenger platform every month. When a Facebook user clicks on the ad, they will be sent to an area or website chosen by the advertiser. That could be either a website or a Messenger conversation. The native advertising will look similar to the ones the social media network operator already runs in its News Feed.
When announcing the two trials back in January, Facebook said the people that are part of the two trials have complete control of Messenger, including data privacy, and can choose to hide or report specific ads by using a dropdown menu in Messenger. Advertisers won’t be able to message users directly unless a person starts the conversation.
“We hope to learn a lot from this test, but we will take our time before considering further expansion to ensure that we deliver the very best experience to both advertisers and the one billion people who use Messenger every month,” Facebook wrote.
Apparently that time is now up.