Facebook will now start placing advertisements within Messenger, its popular chat app.
The social network announced the change on Tuesday, allowing its business partners to market on Messenger worldwide. Facebook initially tested ads on Messenger in Thailand and Australia before rolling it out.
The ads won’t be shown directly inside a Messenger conversation. Instead, they’ll be featured in users’ inboxes — appearing above and below messages from your friends. Mark Zuckerberg and co. will start to trickle the ads into the conversations of its global users in the weeks ahead.
From a business perspective, the development is the latest push by Facebook to dominate online ad sales. Last year, the platform increased its digital advertising revenue by 62 percent, and it’s expected to haul in more than $33 billion in ad sales this year. Facebook and Alphabet — Google’s parent company — combine to soak up 85 percent of all new digital ad sales.
To keep up this pace, though, Facebook needed to find new platforms to highlight businesses. It’s been notoriously uneasy about cluttering the News Feed with ads, fearing it’ll drive users away from the product. That’s where Instagram and Messenger come in: Instagram is expected to pull in $5.3 billion in ad sales this year, and Messenger is fertile ground for marketers, with 1.2 billion users worldwide.
Later this summer, Facebook will debut its slate of original content, offering up another space for the company to monetize.