facebook messenger

How and Why to use Facebook Messenger for Marketing

In their 2017 Year in Review, Facebook announced that Messenger’s 1.3 billion-strong community engaged in an average of 7 billion conversations every day, with 260 million new conversation threads started each day. This alone makes marketing on Facebook Messenger a bottomless pit for ROI.

With an average of nearly one conversation per person, we know that your audience is on the platform.

facebook messenger marketing stats infographic

Facebook messenger ads currently earn 15 times more engagement than standard ads.

The reality is that many potential customers are not content to exchange their email addresses for your free download anymore. Worse, your potential customers could ignore your marketing emails altogether.

Luckily, Facebook Messenger provides the perfect opportunity to engage in a new, more personal way; that is both simple and efficient.

How Can Messenger Fit Within Your Business?

To answer this question, you need to think first about where you want to boost your business. What are you selling? What is your objective?

Complete this short (but very relevant) exercise and make your life much easier down the line.

Step 1

Map your customer journey throughout the sales funnel. Where do they start? How do you communicate with them? What is the tone you use for this communication?

Step 2

Determine your goals. Do you want sales? To collect lead details? Or to increase traffic for your website?

Step 3

What kind of action are you expecting your customer to take within a conversation? Will you need to provide extra details, or is it something as easy as downloading an eBook? If details are needed, how will you present them?

Step 4

Determine a mid-funnel action for your leads. If they didn’t go to the end of the funnel straight away, what sort of actions could you apply to re-insert them into the funnel?

Messenger can help you create a very streamlined and personalised experience for your customer. When it’s used right, Messenger makes connecting with potential customers easier than ever before.
Make sure that users can easily find you on Messenger by visiting your page, and make sure you’re as integrated as you can be.

Messenger’s different approaches to Advertising

The four types of Messenger ads

You already know that Messenger gives marketers the ability to reach customers instantly – in turn improving the user experience and boosting trust and sales down the line.

Facebook currently offers four different “types” of Facebook Messenger Ads:

1. Click-to-Messenger Ads

facebook ad screenshot

Click-to-Messenger Ads are an excellent way to build a subscriber list and start conversations with new users. You can get more engagement from customers and then follow-up the same contacts to re-engage (using the second ad type that we will discuss later).

Click-to-Messenger Ads are the most popular and commonly used ad type on the platform. It’s easy to see why, as you can start new conversations using all the normal ad and targeting options available on Messenger.

These ads work with three objectives: traffic, conversions and messages:

  • Traffic Objective: Facebook will optimise the delivery of ads to people more likely to click on the links within your message.
  • Conversions Objective: Perfect for if you’re tracking events within a Pixel and driving conversion events at scale.
  • Messages Objective: Used to optimise delivery of ads to people more likely to respond to your business in Messenger.

You can find Messages as a destination option at the ad set level when creating a campaign for Traffic, Conversions and Messenger campaigns.

As mentioned earlier, the only difference between a Messenger ad and a regular ad is that the call to action button on your Messenger ad will say one of the following:

  • Send Message
  • Learn More
  • Get Started

An advantage of using a Click-to-Messenger Ad is that you can leverage Facebook’s targeting options to attract a lot of cold and custom audiences.

Here, you can be as granular or as broad as you like. Another advantage is that you can place these ads on the Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds –  which are the best performing placements on the platform.

Click-to-Messenger ads are a great way to give people an extra touch point with your brand. Help users overcome any barriers to purchase by personalising your engagement and creating close relationships.

For example, you can use this ad type to retarget people who have visited your website before but didn’t complete a purchase.

The key here is to interact with the right questions. If you own a furniture e-commerce for example, it wouldn’t be relevant to ask them their favourite colour. This doesn’t add much to your strategy.

Instead, you could run ads that ask questions like: “If you could change something in your living room, what would it be?”. When they start answering with “sofa”, “coffee table” and so on, you can cater to them with conversations around this topic.

How to create Click to Messenger campaigns

As mentioned before, there are three paths you can follow to create Click-to-Messenger campaigns, depending on your objective.

  • Traffic Objective:

Facebook will optimise the delivery of ads to people more likely to click on the links within your message.

The first thing you should do here is to select the Traffic objective and click continue.

messenger ad campaign objective screenshot

The first thing you will see at ad set level is the card related to Traffic. Here, you will choose where you want to drive your traffic. Select Messenger.

messenger ad traffic screenshot

After this, everything is very straightforward and identical to creating a regular traffic campaign.

  • Conversions Objective:

To be used if you are tracking events with a Pixel and driving conversion events at scale.

For a conversions campaign, the process is the same as with traffic. Just choose Conversions as the objective and click Continue.

The first questions that appear will regard where you want to drive traffic. You will then be prompted to select a pixel or event to track conversions. Simply click Messenger here and select the event you want to track.

messenger ad marketing objective screenshot
messenger ad initiate checkout screenshot
  • Messages Objective:

Used to optimise the delivery of ads to people more likely to respond to your business in Messenger.

Again, the process is very similar. Click Messages as the objective and on the second step, select Click-to-Messenger.

messenger ad marketing objective screenshot
messenger ad type screenshot

For Traffic, Conversion and Messages objectives, the process is the same after this. You will select your audience, choose your budget and bidding, and create an ad.

Now, the only additional step you need to do is the Messenger setup. This is the last step of all these objectives, and it is identical across all of them.

Messenger setup

At this stage, you must remember your overall objective – to encourage people to start a conversation with your business in Messenger.

You can either create your own welcome message or – if you’re already using a Bot platform – you can integrate it with Facebook’s API.

When creating you own welcome experience, Facebook gives you standard and custom templates.

Standard templates include a greeting and a few questions that people might want to ask your business. You can easily edit this stage and preview how it would look on the chat.

messenger ad preview screenshot

Custom templates let you add photos, videos, buttons and more to your welcome experience. Conveniently, it’s easy to save and reuse your templates for future campaigns.

Custom templates are much more interactive and engaging, and we would certainly recommend going for this option.

messenger ad template edit screenshot
messenger ad template creation screenshot

Quick tips for Click-to-Messenger

zulily messenger ad screenshot
  1. Think about your target audience
    • Lead generation: Use core targeting or create a Lookalike Audience of people similar to your existing customers.
    • Follow up people who have already been to your website: create a Custom Audience based on actions they’ve taken on your page or your website.
    • Re-engage with users that have already messaged you. Create a Custom Audience made up of people who have already messaged you using app events.
  1. Use your ad to set expectations
  1. You should make it clear to users that they are clicking through to Messenger. What about encouraging engagement by using graphics that look like chat bubbles, for example? Don’t forget to communicate the value of messaging your business! Will they get a promotion? A fun opportunity?
  1. Interact with people when they land in Messenger
    • Create a personalised greeting that describes how people can interact with your business.
    • Use quick replies – they are a great way to make it easy for people to get started!
facebook messenger ad screenshot

2. Messenger Ad Type: Sponsored Messages

Next up, we have Sponsored Messages. Sponsored Messages allow you to offer a variety of content to your users. Send relevant offers, promotions or business updates directly to the people that your business is already talking to on Messenger.

This is an excellent ad type for re-engaging with anyone who has already shown an interest in your business. Sponsored Messages appear as a new message in your users’ inbox – it’s an identical experience to receiving a message from a friend.

facebook messenger ad screenshot

Sponsored messages can be found at the ad set level when creating a campaign in Ads Manager after selecting Messages as objective.

Sponsored Messages are extremely effective for retargeting, re-engagement and to nurture existing relationships through conversations.

How to create Sponsored Messages

To start with, you should select Messages as your objective on the Facebook Platform. Once you click Continue, you should select Sponsored Message as the ad type for these campaigns.

messenger ad marketing objective screenshot
facebook messenger targeting screenshot

As you already know, Sponsored Messages were designed to send messages ONLY to those people who have already contacted your brand across Messenger. This means that – by default – your audience is set to everyone who has an existing conversation with you in Messenger.

If you want to narrow it down, you can use the targeting tools Facebook provides, and select specific locations, demographics, behaviours, interests, gender, age, connections and so on.

When it comes to placements, there is only one available: Sponsored Messages. So, at this level, there is nothing that can be edited.

messenger ad placement setup screenshot

Budget and Bidding functions are the same as in a regular campaign. The next step is the ad itself.

Messenger setup

Here, you will set up the message that you want to send to your contacts. When creating your message, you can include links and images too!

messenger ad setup screenshot

Your messages should include text, imagery, a greeting and a few questions that people might want to ask your business. You can easily edit and preview how your message would look on Messenger at this stage.

Quick tips for Sponsored Messages

facebook messenger ad infographic

3.Messenger Ad Type: Messenger Inbox Placement

As the name suggests, this ad type regards the placement of your ad. Messenger Inbox ads appear on the Home tab in Messenger.

This isn’t an ad type per say, it’s more of a new placement. The difference here is that your ad shows up inside Messenger Inbox, contrary to showing up inside of a specific conversation.

facebook messenger ad screenshot

The example above shows how the ad is placed between two different conversations when looking at the Messenger Inbox page.

To choose this placement, you simply need to select it under the Messenger dropdown within the placements card:

facebook messenger marketing ad creation

Simply put, you will create an ad as normal, select this as any other placement and input all the normal elements you usually do, such as audience, budget, bidding, landing page (whether it’s a URL, a deep link or even Messenger itself!).

Feel free to experiment with different landing options, but keep in mind that because people are already inside of Messenger, there will be less friction if you keep them on Messenger rather than try to take them somewhere else (like your website).

Messenger Inbox as a placement is supported for Reach, Brand Awareness, App Installs, Traffic, Conversions, Messages and Catalogue Sales objectives.

4.Messenger Ad Type: Messenger Stories Placement

Again, this is not an ad type – but another placement you can use for your ads. Stories on Messenger work in similar ways as those used across Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories.

Advertisers can show their ads between organic stories. This is a good placement to increase the reach of your Instagram and Facebook Stories campaigns.

oculus go screenshots

Though Facebook announced that Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories were merged into one, it still makes sense to keep these as different placements, as you can target different people across them.

Facebook recommends image ratios of 9:16, with a minimum image width of 500px.

Facebook’s new Stories ads support all objectives currently available for Instagram Stories ads, including reach, brand awareness, video views, app install, conversion, traffic and lead generation.


If you’re not taking advantage of Messenger, you’re missing out on business, and you’re losing sales.

The possible applications for Messenger and the various third-party tools are almost endless – don’t limit yourself to customer service interaction or direct commerce, especially if you’re looking to build brand awareness.

Messenger conversations may replace telephone conversations – but there is much more to the service than that.

As bot tools improve, Messenger will become a space for personal brand storytelling.

Buttons could be used for personality or trivia quizzes, alongside games that customers will willingly take part in. They could be used to tell interactive stories, or for customers to vote for a particular outcome to a serialised video series that’s being shown on Facebook Watch.

You should use these tools to build brands, and increase brand engagement creatively, with personality and imagination.