Earlier this year, Facebook started offering chatbot support in its Messenger instant messaging (IM) app. May companies and famous individuals including President Obama himself embraced this idea and soon rolled out their very own chatbots designed for a variety of reasons. However, most of these bots had one thing in common – they're programmed to help brands reach out to consumers and consequently make more money. Given how Messenger boasts over a billion users, that's a lot of potential customers, but such a large user base also means brands have a lot of competition when it comes to grabbing the attention of people who use Messenger. Of course, wherever there's demand, there's also money to be made, and Facebook was always pretty efficient when it came to monetizing its enormous user base.
That's why the social media giant recently introduced an experimental feature which allows companies to advertise their chatbots to Messenger users. This functionality became available back in August and was mostly met with praise from large brands. After all, many entities started developing their Messenger bots, and this trend led to a situation in which developers soon started having issues with letting consumers know their creations even exist. The Messenger chatbot advertising feature became available as a part of a Messenger Policy update but has so far only been available to select brands which Facebook approved in advance or upon request. However, the social media giant just started offering these ads to everyone.
So, as of today, all businesses can pay to advertise their Messenger bots in your Facebook News Feed, just like they were already able to buy ads promoting their brands and specific products. Once a user sees a chatbot ad on Facebook and taps on it, they will immediately start chatting with the advertised chatbot in Messenger. This feature was announced by David Marcus, Vice President at Facebook and head of the company's Messenger division. While speaking at this year's Web Summit in Lisbon earlier today, Marcus reiterated that brands are extremely excited about the prospect of launching their very own Messenger chatbots. He explained that Facebook believes Messenger chatbots can help businesses offer better customer support and shopping advice, so the ability to advertise them facilitates the process of reaching out to consumers.