- After TechCrunch reported that ads are coming soon to Facebook Messenger last week, Facebook VP of Measurement and Insights Brad Smallwood clarified to Venture Beat that marketing, not advertising, will be part of Messenger.
- In the talk at Venture Beat’s Marketing.Fwd event, Smallwood declined to further explain what Messenger marketing would entail, adding that he isn’t part of the Messenger team and didn’t want to comment further.
- The original report found that brands that had previously engaged in Messenger chat with customers would be able to instantly open chat threads to push marketing messages to those users.
In some form or another, brands will be able to reach consumers through Facebook Messenger. That much we know. What that will look like—and what exactly to call it—is up for some debate.
The most recent comments about "marketing, not advertising" seem to be a matter of semantics. Facebook may want to avoid any negative connotations with the term “advertising," which the TechCrunch report used repeatedly to describe the new functionality offered to brands within Messenger. Part of that reporting included uncovering that Facebook launched a URL short link — fb.com/msg/ — that opens a chat thread with a business. Facebook confirmed the existence of that short link to TechCrunch.
Smallwood told Venture Beat that advertising and marketing customs have become outmoded for the messaging experience. “We need to accept that [consumers] have moved to these new experiences and ask how do we build great marketing and how do we create great touch-points within those, as opposed to forcing what we’re used to in those new environments,” he said.
In early December, Facebook made a significant change with Messenger allowing businesses with Facebook plugins on their websites to include a Messenger box that allows visitors to initiate chat sessions with the company via Messenger from mobile or the desktop website. This gives marketers a more direct customer service link to concerned or engaged consumers. What’s enticing for marketers is Facebook doesn’t charge for the live chat plugin, and it allows marketers to tie into Messenger’s 700 million monthly active users.