Why use Facebook Messenger ads? As more and more people turn to private messaging on social media —and since FB combined its messaging backend with Instagram — Messenger ads have never been more relevant.
More than one billion people use Messenger every month, including the 78% of smartphone users who are sending messages.
Meanwhile, businesses exchange more than 20 billion messages monthly with Messenger users. (And yet for Gen Z, that’s still not enough: 60% of that age group wish they could message more businesses. Greedy!)
So whether you want to hedge your bets on the future of social, or you’re interested in the dozens of different ways you can use messaging apps to reach your audience right now, we’re here to show you how to use Facebook Messenger ads to converse.
Bonus: Download a free guide that shows you how to save time and money on your Facebook ads. Find out how to reach the right customers, lower your cost-per-click, and more.
What are Facebook Messenger Ads?
Facebook Messenger ads are advertising options that either start instant-message conversations with individuals, or appear within the Messenger app.
Whatever variety of Facebook Messenger ad you choose (and we’ll get to your options in a sec), the goal is to start a one-on-one instant message conversation with a potential customer.
It’s an ultra-personal way to connect directly, and privately: essentially treating customers like friends. This intimate interaction can lead to an above-average conversion rate.
So get your conversation muscles (fingers and brain) all warmed up and get your favorite emojis (Winking Face and Woman Playing Water Polo, obviously) at the ready. It’s time to get chatty.
Your options for Facebook Messenger ads include…
Ads that click to messenger
You can use a standard Facebook display ad to start a conversation with a potential customer.
These ads appear in the newsfeed, but feature a Call to Action button that opens up a Messenger conversation.
This hyper-targeted option allows you to send a sponsored message directly to people who have already chatted with your business via Messenger.
Messenger stories ads
Messenger Stories ads are full-screen mobile experiences that appear in the Messenger app. (Yes, these are distinct from Facebook Stories, for some reason.) (Don’t worry, we had to look it up, too.)
These ads are only available to buy alongside Instagram Stories ads, or as an add-on to campaigns already running in the main Facebook newsfeed.
Messenger inbox ads
Messenger inbox ads are not currently available in the U.S., Canada, Australia or France. But for those countries that do have access to this Messenger ad format, ads appear right in the chat tab within the Facebook Messenger app.
When a user taps on your ad, they are sent to a detailed view in Messenger with a call-to-action. Clicking on this will take the user to the destination you set during the ad creation: that could be a direct message conversation with your business, your website, or an app download.
If you’re going to implement any of these advertising options, you should be sure you’ve got a team that is able to be responsive once the conversation gets going. Ghosting a chatty customer? Not a great look.
Check out our complete guide to Facebook Messenger Bots, if you need a little extra help in the auto-customer service department.
Of course, before you dive into Facebook Messenger ads, you should review your brand’s Facebook ad strategy holistically. There’s a lot of ways to spend your money over there — make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
How to set up Facebook Messenger ads
Each specific type of Messenger ad requires a slightly different set-up. Whatever option you go for, the process begins with opening up the Ad Creation manager.
1. Select your objective in the Ad Creation manager and click continue.
- For Sponsored Messages: Choose Messages as your objective.
- For Click to Messenger ads: Choose Traffic, Messages, or Conversions as your objective.
- For Messenger Stories ads: Choose Brand Awareness, Reach, Traffic, App Installs, Video Views, or Conversions.
- For Messenger Inbox ads: Choose Traffic, App Installs, Messages, Conversions, or Catalog Sales.
2. Give your campaign a name, make additional optional decisions, and click next.
At this point you can also toggle a few other specific ad options, such as declaring if your ad is related to special ad categories or if you’d like to optimize your campaign budget.
3. Choose your message, or where to drive traffic.
Depending on your objective, you’ll be prompted to either…
a. Choose where you’d like people to message your business: either Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp Business, or Instagram Direct.
b. Choose to send users who click on your ad to your website, an app, Messenger, or WhatsApp.
4. Edit your Budget and Schedule, as well as your Audience
How much will you spend? How long should the campaign run? And who should see it?
5. Choose Automatic or Manual placements
If you select Automatic placements, AI will deliver impressions to the audience most likely to drive campaign results.
Note that if you’d like to place your ad intentionally in Messenger Stories, select Manual Placement. From here, select Instagram Stories or Facebook Feed to access Messenger Stories.
6. Add your creative
Depending on your specific ad type, this step will vary, but will likely involve some combination of text and images.
This is where you may also customize a Message template to go out to people after they click your ad.
Find all of the Facebook ad specs in one place here, and for help crafting the perfect ad, check out our guide to social media advertising here.
7. Click publish
Your campaign is good to go! You can check back on the Ad Creation manager at any time to pause, tweak, cancel, or extend your campaign, and to see how effective its reach is.
For a more specific step-by-step guide to any of these ad formats, check out the official Facebook FAQs for Sponsored Messages, Click to Messenger ads, Messenger Stories ads, or Messenger Inbox ads.
7 effective Facebook Messenger ads to inspire you
You’re probably amped up and ready to start talking with your customers, but before you dive into that Ad Manager, soak up some inspiration from brands who are using this format in savvy, innovative ways.
When people started organically using Messenger to request general info about the skincare brand and products — and even trying to place orders! — Kiehl’s saw an opportunity to meet customers where they were.
The company built a Messenger bot (named Mr. Bones, in reference to the Kiehl’s skeleton mascot) and created a series of targeted Stories ads that clicked into a Messenger conversation.
The campaign quadrupled the amount of Messenger conversations, and grew sales by 22%.
One Doc Laser and Aesthetic
The great thing about the One Doc Laser and Aesthetic campaign here is the direct call to action. The clinic ran a series of 15-second video ads explaining the benefits of treatment with animations, ending each with a prompt to “PM Us for an Appointment Now.”
Paired with the “Send Message” button, interested potential customers are able to act on the impulse to book an appointment immediately.
Because the shopping network already had a large quantity of customers reaching out with questions and comments via Messenger, QVC had a big audience for sponsored ads via Messenger.
Ads were targeted at people who already had open Messenger threads with the company. The results were impressive (no surprise, given that they’re reaching out to already-engaged clients), with a return on spending that was over five times higher than other types of Facebook ads.
Kia Motors America
The car company launched its virtual assistant with a Facebook ad campaign. From the newsfeed, potential customers were informed of the capabilities of adorable little “Kian” and encouraged to hit that “Send Message” button.
Users who clicked through initiated a Facebook Messenger conversation with the chatbot. Here, they could request vehicle comparisons or schedule a test drive.
(Bonus to this advertising method: participating customers are now able to be targeted with sponsored Messenger ads.)
As a company focused on advertising for real estate developments, Newsome Interactive is ultimately in the business of lead generation: finding the people out there who are looking to buy property.
For a development called Jasper Highland, ads prompted viewers to “Send Message” if they’d like a free booklet with more information. Clicking opened up an automated conversation with a chatbot, which collected contact information and some other key facts.
Subscription box company FabFitFun drew in customers with its own click to messenger ad.
The ad featured a dynamic video ad that revealed the sample contents of a box, as well as information about a discount code. But for those who clicked on “Get Offer,” a Messenger experience was kicked off.
The message reiterated the 40% off discount, but also allowed the user to redeem that offer right in Messenger.
Using a click to Messenger ad, insurance agency Haven Life encouraged viewers to tap the “Get Quote” button to strike up a conversation and get their life insurance quote directly in Messenger.
Emphasizing the simplicity and speed of the process worked to draw in customers. 12% more people completed the Messenger quote questionnaire, compared to the website’s more traditional quote form.
Of course, Facebook Messenger is only one direct-messaging tool out there that brands can optimize. Check out some inspiring examples from brands using messaging in creative ways across a variety of platforms… and then let the chatting begin.
Manage your Facebook presence alongside your other social media channels using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule posts, share video, engage your audience, and measure the impact of your efforts. Try it free today.