It’s hard not to be bombarded with ads while online. Whether you’re just surfing the internet or looking at social media, ads are everywhere - and they’re about to be part of your Facebook Messenger experience too. It’s all part of Facebook’s grand scheme to make more money, it appears.
The Brass Tacks
Facebook is a free service. As such, the company has to generate a revenue through advertising. That’s hard to do when users don’t want to see ads in their streams. Facebook has come under fire before for placing too many ads on its main page.
But unless the company does attract advertisers, it won’t be able to generate any revenue - and that means the end of Facebook.
So from this point of view, it makes sense that Facebook would want to start putting advertisements in Messenger streams. What bothers some people about this news, though, is how those ads will appear - algorithms, rather.
The Problem With Messenger Ads
Facebook doesn’t claim to be WhatsApp. It doesn’t claim to encrypt messages or even be a safe and secure place to send messages. With that in mind, the company will place advertisements according to user interests. Does that mean that Facebook will be employing monitors to read through your Messenger texts? No.
What it means, though, is that you might be chatting about buying a home with someone on Messenger, and an ad for real estate rentals in your area might pop up. In other words, the ads that will soon appear in Messenger will be targeted like the ads that appear in your current Facebook feed.
Lots of Users and Lots of Opportunities
Currently, Facebook has 1.2 million Messenger users. That’s a lot of potential ad revenue. The company has started to test advertising on its Messenger app in some areas already. If a user clicks on an ad in Messenger, that users will be taken to the advertiser’s homepage or to a live chat with a representative from the company -- this is a new way of connecting advertisers with consumers.
Facebook does generate a large percentage of its ad revenue from mobile, which is why the company is starting to monetize Messenger. Most people that use Messenger do so through mobile. It will be interesting to see whether or not Facebook loses users through the new Messenger advertising plan - I’m betting that most people do not want to be directed to a live chat.
Out of all the social apps that Facebook owns (Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp), WhatsApp is now the only one that does not come with advertisements. Some people that use WhatsApp for its secure properties are now worried that Facebook will apply its advertising algorithms to WhatsApp, but the company has no plans to do so at the moment.
What does all of this new advertising news mean to you? It probably means that you will soon be seeing a lot of targeted ads in your Messenger app. If that upsets you, remember that Facebook has to make money from ads, since the company does not charge users to use the site.