Will Ads Come to Facebook Messenger? Not Anytime Soon

Will advertising come to Facebook Messenger? Possibly somewhere down the line, but chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said it was still in the “very early experimentation stage.”

Will advertising come to Facebook Messenger? Possibly somewhere down the line, but chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said it was still in the “very early experimentation stage.”

Sandberg made those comments during a press event at Advertising Week in New York Tuesday, where she also touched upon the shift to mobile, saying:

The shift to mobile is not coming. The shift to mobile has happened. It is still happening for marketers.

She also addressed video, saying:

Video is exploding. The technology leads to consumer behavior. 1 million small businesses have posted videos to Facebook.

Vice president of ad technology Brian Boland addressed the topics of measurement and ad blocking technology, saying:

A lot of what we have done (at ad platform Atlas) is helping advertisers deal with the challenge of this multidevice world. We’re really excited about what these tools can to do help marketers determine the effectiveness of their ads.

Ad blocking is a very hot story right now. Fundamentally, it’s about relevance. The No. 1 thing people tell us is that they want more relevant ads. We are focused on tools that can bring more relevant ads to people, whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram or elsewhere.

Our best customers are our most skeptical customers. Every single digital campaign you run, you can understand the real business value you’ve created.

When asked about how the skyrocketing use of video on Facebook could impact campaigns for the upcoming presidential elections, Boland touted Facebook-owned video ad technology company LiveRail, saying:

We’re doing early tests where we’re seeing 90 percent on-target age and gender for video campaigns.

Vp of monetization product marketing Matthew Idema discussed the brand awareness optimization features Facebook introduced for advertisers earlier this week, saying:

(Brand awareness) is a really good predictor of driving a brand result. It’s early on brand awareness. As it rolls out, we’ll continue to see how it does, and we’ll go from there.

Instagram chief operating officer Marne Levine discussed advertising on the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network, saying:

One of the shifts we see happening is from words to images. Advertising is really powerful on Instagram, too. Ad recall is three times greater than the industry average.

Businesses big and small can now use Facebook’s ad targeting to reach customers with the right story at the right time.

Sandberg also said the social network has reached 2.5 million active advertisers, with 45 million businesses using pages on a monthly basis, adding:

If you’re a small business, it’s really hard to have a website. Building a mobile app is even harder, and getting distribution for your mobile app is even harder.

When asked about video from premium content providers on the social network, she replied:

We’re in an early test to work with publishers of premium content and put some of that content onto Facebook. We’re going to see how that goes. We are sharing revenue with premium content partners, but this is in very early stages.

In response to a question about the relative lack of buzz about Facebook’s stand-alone applications, Messenger aside, Sandberg said:

We are seeing other apps and trying things and experiments, and we’re going to continue to experiment. I think the core of what we’re doing is trying to increase engagement with our main apps.

We are really patient. If you watch our ads business, we follow consumer behavior.

Finally, when asked about M, the mobile personal assistant currently being tested for Messenger, Sandberg said M is in a “really early test,” only within the San Francisco Bay area, adding that there were no plans to expand its rollout anytime soon, “but it’s fun.”

Readers: What did you think of Facebook’s announcements during this year’s Advertising Week?


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.