Facebook expands ad options in Messenger

After promising tests in Australia and Thailand, Facebook is going global with the beta of Messenger ads, a new option for reaching customers on the platform.

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Facebook

Facebook continues its efforts to make Messenger a place to do business, announcing Tuesday that it's going global with its beta version of Messenger ads.

The social networking giant already offers businesses advertising options on Messenger, as well as other ways to connect with customers on the messaging platform. Messenger ads, however, is perhaps the most straightforward option: It's simply an ad placed in the home tab of the Messenger mobile app. When a user clicks on the ad, they're sent to a destination of the ad creator's choosing -- either a website or a Messenger conversation.

Facebook first tested Messenger ads in Australia and Thailand and saw promising results. On Tuesday, the service will be available in Ads Manager and Power Editor to a subset of advertisers, and in the coming weeks it will roll out to all advertisers globally. Later this month, Facebook will start rolling out ads to consumers globally.

Facebook is already an advertising powerhouse -- earlier this year the research firm eMarketer projected that Facebook and Google could collectively own 46 percent of the online ad market by 2018. Advertising accounts for just about all of Facebook's revenue. However, the company did say in May that it expects its high growth rates in ad revenue to slow down over the course of this year.

While its ad revenue may not be able to grow as quickly, Facebook's Messenger platform still offers plenty of potential for growth. More than 1.2 billion people now use the platform every month, and the use of messaging apps is only expected to grow in the coming years. Messaging platforms have been moving beyond simple social conversations and are more frequently deployed for business-related reasons. Ultimately, messaging services could replace mobile home screens as a portal to the internet.

Along with Messenger ads, Facebook's advertising tools for the platform include Sponsored Messages, which are messages delivered directly to a person who already has an established conversation with a business in Messenger. There's also "Click to Messenger" ads -- when a person clicks or taps on a business's ad in the Facebook News Feed or on Instagram, a conversation with the business will immediately open in the Messenger app. Now this is available in Messenger as well.

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