At a certain point, every startup that’s benefited from the popularity explosion of the social media revolution has to take stock of their services and try to offer something new. For Facebook, that means taking its Messenger app and supercharging its revenue-generating capabilities.
TechCrunch reported that it had received a confidential Facebook document from an anonymous source that indicated the company is moving forward with plans to insert advertisements into its popular integrated and standalone Messenger platform. Instead of normal banner and pop-up ads though, Facebook is taking a path that might prove more suited to a generation of social commerce pioneers: If users have initiated a conversation with a business through Messenger before, that business will be able to send ads through the same channels back to those same customers.
“We don’t comment on rumor or speculation,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “That said, our aim with Messenger is to create a high-quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type.”
Facebook isn’t diving into the waters of conversational commerce completely blind. The social network launched Businesses On Messenger in March 2015 as a way to replace traditional phone conversations with text-based inquiries and responses through Messenger. It’s a simple way to solve a new problem: If buy buttons are a little too in-your-face for skittish online shoppers, in-app advice from a sales associate may be the intermediary step this changing retail industry needs.
TechCrunch explained that Facebook might use its new ad initiative as a way to promote more than just sales promotions from businesses. Imagine a direct line to shoppers for everything from info on upcoming events to content normally shared on more diffusely targeted channels, like Twitter or Instagram.
That is, if customers want businesses to start chatting them out of the Facebook blue.