Facebook Messenger is used by a lot of brands and businesses to communicate with their users, customers, or fans.
According to Facebook, 1 billion messages are sent on the platform each month between businesses and users. So it only makes sense that Facebook wants to monetize that and businesses want to take advantage of it to reach more users with special offers or product ads. And that's what Facebook is starting to do.
In the coming weeks, a test group of people in Thailand and Australia will start seeing ads in their Facebook Messenger app. These will show up on the Messenger home screen below recent conversations, as is the case with birthday notifications or the list of currently active users. The image at the top of the post shows how ads will be displayed — yes I know that's on iOS, but it's the only image Facebook provided of the change.
The Messenger team goes to great length to explain that ads won't be intrusive: they won't show up inside a conversation but only on the home screen, users can choose to hide or report specific ads, and only users can initiate a conversation with advertisers. Those are good rules, but the wording is still a little vague in a few places, so I'm not sure if businesses could send you ads in the conversation if you've spoken to them before. The team says it will take its time testing the feature with this small group of users in Thailand and Australia before thinking about expanding, but you just know that's inevitable.