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Facebook broadens Messenger's reach to promote shopper convenience, publisher monetization

Facebook?s positioning of its Messenger application as a platform focused on content aims to offer both a seamless journey for consumers and new monetization capabilities for publishers as the social media giant increasingly takes on the look of an all-encompassing mobile hub.

Continuing its degrading of Google as the go-to-site for consumers on mobile, Facebook unveiled at its F8 developer conference Businesses on Messenger, which will allow people who purchase something from a Web site to receive updates in Messenger and continue their conversation with the business in the app. Facebook also is extending LiveRail's existing video ad platform into in-app mobile display to allow publishers to manage and optimize yield across all of their advertising opportunities, including ads directly sold to advertisers and ads from programmatic sources, ad networks including Facebook's Audience Network and agency trading desks.

?Everything Facebook is doing right now is significant because they are completely overshadowing Google as becoming the most vital aspect for advertisers and marketers,? said Ken Wisnefski, founder-CEO of WebiMax. 

?Facebook is becoming more and more of a true destination site,? he said. ?You login to Facebook, you have your news, your shopping, you?re connected to your friends. You have everything you need in one place.?

Relevant messages
Businesses on Messenger will allow people to receive relevant messages from the business including order confirmations and shipping status updates. Users also will be able to take basic actions like modifying, tracking or returning an order.  They will also have the option to ask a business questions, make requests and get quick responses. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at developers conference.

The key feature is that interactions and features will be unified in a single, ongoing thread between the person and the business, streamlining the customer journey.

Facebook?s other major marketing-related announcement ? extending LiveRail's existing platform into in-app mobile display ? stemmed from the challenges created for online publishers by the rise of connected devices and multi-screen media consumption.

To solve these challenges and successfully monetize across screens, publishers need to be able to accurately target ads and drive measurable results for their advertisers. 

Publishers have told Facebook they want better ways to manage and optimize their advertising operations to generate the most revenue, and the ability to provide people with ads that do not detract from their overall in-app experience.

Starting soon, Facebook will address challenges in mobile monetization by extending LiveRail's existing platform into in-app mobile display. 

This move will allow publishers to manage and optimize yield across all of their mobile advertising opportunities, including ads sold directly to advertisers and from programmatic sources such as demand-side platforms (DSPs), ad networks and agency trading desks.

Advanced controls will allow publishers to prioritize buyers, block certain advertiser categories for brand safety, run real-time reports and get suggestions for optimal inventory pricing. 

LiveRail will power native ad formats as well as standard display placements such as interstitials and banners.

In addition to offering access to real-time bidding (RTB) demand through LiveRail's connections to major ad networks and DSPs, mobile publishers will be able to use Facebook's Audience Network to access more than 2 million Facebook advertisers. 

Facebook?s move means the right ad can be delivered to the right person at the right time, and publishers can segment and sell their inventory more effectively, more accurately target their impressions, reduce the waste created by inaccurate delivery, and deliver better ROI for their advertisers.

Initial test partners for the new marketing capabilities will include A&E, Dailymotion, and Univision. 

The announcements are in with Facebook?s efforts to become a platform that touches all parts of the mobile ecosystem.

Power and influence
An important development in the weeks and months ahead will be the degree to which marketers accept Facebook's terms. That will indicate how effectively Facebook is wielding power and influence across the mobile landscape.

Expanding content consumption for Facebook users.

Nearly 1 billion Facebook users will access the platform each month from their mobile phones this year, an increase of 15.2 percent from 2014, according to eMarketer. By 2018, 75 percent of all Facebook users will regularly access the platform via mobile.

?I?m in no doubt we will see Messenger develop into a platform for Ecommerce business to facilitate personalized shopping experiences and process transactions, presumably creating a commission-based revenue stream for Facebook in future,? said David Serfaty, vice president for social at Matomy.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York