We suppose it was only a matter of time. After conquering the instant messaging market with its hugely popular Messenger app, Facebook is bringing ads to the platform. Pretty soon, companies will be able to buy ads which will be inserted directly into the message app. Lovely.
If you already thought Facebook’s ads were invasive, it’s about to get much worse. Following trials in Thailand and Australia, the social media giant is preparing to roll out promoted messaging to its 1.2 billion users. Initially, only a small percentage of users will receive the ads, but the “feature” is expected to eventually encompass everybody.
Here’s the slightly terrifying spiel from Facebook:
We’ll now offer businesses around the world a way to use Facebook targeting to extend their reach to people in Messenger. This means businesses of every size get a new tool for creating meaningful connections with customers and prospects. More than 1.2 billion people use Messenger every month, which gives marketers an opportunity to expand the reach of their campaigns and drive more results.
These ads will automatically appear in the home tab of a user’s Messenger app, which isn’t quite as horrible as receiving unsolicited messages from advertisers. In other words, it’s another low-key intrusion that will be pretty easy to scroll past and ignore.
If you’re bummed about this, it’s worth remembering that Facebook does not charge a subscription or membership fee (yet). This means the owners need to make money somehow. As we have noted in the past, there’s no such thing as a “free” application – if you’re not paying money for something, it’s highly probable that you are the product.