Messenger Platform v1.3: News Feed Ads Launch Messenger Conversations; Sponsored Messages Debut

Monetizing Messenger is moving full speed ahead with Facebook’s launch of Messenger Platform v1.3, which includes News Feed ads that launch Messenger conversations and sponsored messages.

Monetizing Messenger is moving full speed ahead with Facebook’s launch of Messenger Platform v1.3, which includes News Feed ads that launch Messenger conversations and sponsored messages.

Vice president of messaging products David Marcus introduced Messenger Platform v1.3 in a blog post, saying that more than 34,000 developers are now building via the platform and providing more details on the two new advertising options:

One of the most important requests we received from developers and businesses building on the Messenger Platform is the ability to promote their experience. This is why I’m thrilled to announce the rollout of News Feed ads that open Messenger conversations.

This is exciting news because now everyone can combine the powerful audience targeting and selection capabilities of ads on News Feed, and the identity and canonical nature of Messenger conversations.


But driving people to a Messenger conversation isn’t enough. We want to make sure businesses and brands building for the platform can manage the entire lifecycle of their customers. This is where sponsored messages come in. Sponsored messages enable businesses that have threads opened with their customers to re-engage them in a very efficient way.

Of course, people using Messenger shouldn’t worry about getting spammed, because the starting principles still remain: Businesses can’t send a sponsored message to threads that weren’t previously opened by their customers or prospects, and users have full control to block messages or people/businesses they no longer want to hear from.

We believe that the combination of driving people from News Feed into a Messenger experience and having an additional opportunity to re-engage with sponsored messages is a game changer, and we’re thrilled to roll this experience out starting this week.

Sponsored Messages Demo

Posted by Facebook for Developers on Monday, November 7, 2016

Marcus also revealed the following new features for developers in Messenger Platform v1.3:

  • Reference params for referral links: Developers can now add reference params to their vanity link, allowing them to determine where their bot traffic is coming from.
  • Deep-linking for referral links: With the new reference param, developers can also deep-link someone into a particular bot experience. For example, if someone clicks on the link from a particular section within a website, a developer can now send a message that references that section.
  • List templates: Developers can now leverage new list templates, which showcase information in an easy-to-digest list. You can add a call to action or image to items in the list to customize the look and feel of the template.
  • Pre-checked plugin: Developers can now add a checkbox plugin to easily allow customers to opt into a Messenger conversation with their business.
  • Improvements to search results: We’re also releasing improvements to our bot search results, which will make it easier for people to find and discover bots.

Product lead Mikhail Larionov shared details on two more tools for developers in a blog post—a vertical template for crafting messages and an easier way to give users the opportunity to opt in or opt out of Messenger interactions:

Now you have another way to build a structured information hierarchy into your messages. An alternate to our existing carousel configuration, this vertical template gives you flexibility around formatting: Each row is tappable and a CTA can be added to the bottom of the template, or to each individual row. The template works well when you want to show people a collection of items in an “at-a-glance” configuration so they understand their options in just one screen. More information here.


Another way we’re making it easier to communicate with the people who care about your business is by giving them the opportunity to opt in or out of Messenger interactions during an existing user experience, such as in a checkout flow, sign-up form or contact form on the business’ webpage. Developers can now add a checkbox plugin to easily allow customers to opt into a Messenger conversation with your business. If the customer is not signed into Facebook or the displayed identity is not the correct customer, they will be asked to sign in with Facebook and can subsequently opt into receiving messages from the business. The plugin can be configured to allow either an opt-in or opt-out experience. Learn more here.


Larionov also announced an update to the payments beta program (in the U.S. only) whereby businesses that are not integrated with Stripe or PayPal can process payments via messages or webview. He wrote:

When a user makes a payment, Facebook will send the business single-use, tokenized credentials, which will allow them to integrate with their preferred payment provider. It also allows developers that manage multiple bots to integrate payments without requiring additional setup for each bot that they manage. This feature continues to roll out in a closed beta. More information here.

We are also introducing the ability for businesses and developers to test their payment integration before submitting an application for the beta program. This enables businesses that have completed the payments integration to ensure proper setup of their payments experience prior to launch.

Finally, in addition to iOS and Android, the Buy CTA button is now supported on desktop web, allowing customers who are interacting with your Messenger experience to checkout via desktop. More information regarding payments can be found here.

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on Messenger Platform v1.3?

MessengerPlatform13BotsVideo from SocialTimes on Vimeo.

Messenger Bot Discount Demo

Posted by Facebook for Developers on Monday, November 7, 2016 David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.