The Facebook messaging app makes its ads more effective by serving them to consumers who are likely to respond.

Facebook Inc.’s Messenger app is enhancing its advertising tools available to retailers.

The social network has three ads for its messaging platform:

  • Placement ads are in the Messenger app within a consumer’s feed of conversations.
  • Click-to Messenger ads can appear on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger, and if a consumer taps on the ad, a conversation will open up with the retailer within Messenger.
  • Sponsored messages are ads sent to consumers who already have an existing conversation with the retailers within Messenger and the message will appear within the chat.

This week, Facebook announced its “messages objective,” which allows advertisers to serve these Messenger ads to consumers who are more likely to reply to messages. The goal of adding the messages objective is to help make the Messenger ads more effective in increasing interaction in Messenger, raising brand awareness, lead generation and conversion, says Ted Helwick, Messenger’s head of monetization.

Facebook will use data signals and its news-feed algorithm to determine if a consumer is more likely to chat within Messenger, Helwick says, without revealing any more specifics. Messenger is slowly rolling out these ad units to businesses and consumers.

Around 18 million businesses globally are using Facebook Messenger each month, Helwick says. Every month, businesses and consumers send 2 billion messages to each other, and these messages include automated messaged from bots. There are about 200,000 active bots on Facebook Messenger, he says.

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love your melonApparel retailer Love Your Melon, for example, used Messenger’s sponsored messages in July to communicate with shoppers who have already chatted with it in Messenger to ask questions about shipping or a purchase confirmation. Love Your Melon sent these consumers a message about its new hat collection with a link to the retailer’s website to shop. In the three-day period of the campaign, the retailer had a 19% click-through rate, and had 14 times return on its ad spend.

If retailers think about their re-engagement marketing channels, like email, a 19% click-through rate is exceptionally high, Helwick says.

This Messenger ad tool also is effective because the message lives in a chat that the consumer has already initiated on her phone, compared with a one-time email in her inbox or an ad she can scroll past, he says.

Similarly, apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters, No. 67 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, used Messenger’s click-to Messenger ad tool for its 2016 holiday campaign. The retailer displayed video ads in shoppers’ Facebook news feeds about how shoppers can chat with an American Eagle bot in Messenger to find the perfect holiday gift, and included a link to Messenger.

The campaign ran November 2016 to June 2017, and those ads generated a 25% click-through rate from the Messenger app to American Eagle’s website, and 4 million messages were exchanged during that period. The retailer plans to have another holiday Messenger campaign for this season, Facebook says.

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