Facebook’s new ads let brands connect with you on Messenger

Got a shopping question? Messenger has the answer.

Facebook discovered a new way to help brands find you on its standalone messaging app, Messenger: Just charge for the privilege.

Advertisers can now pay to highlight their brand or messaging bot in your Facebook News Feed. Clicking on the ad takes you directly to a chat window with the advertiser inside Messenger.

These ads were already available, but only to a private group of test marketers. Now it’s available to everyone, according to Messenger boss David Marcus, who made the announcement at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Tuesday afternoon.

Facebook has talked a lot about turning Messenger into a platform, the kind of one-stop show where users can message with brands and handle everything from customer service complaints to shopping decisions. The News Feed ads are a way for brands to try and generate that first messaging experience. The fact that those ads are now available globally means Facebook must feel confident that its message with your favorite brand plan is ready for the big time.

These ads won’t drive conversations to WhatsApp, though, another Facebook-owned messaging app that recently announced similar plans to connect users with businesses. When asked if WhatsApp will ultimately offer the same types of ads, Marcus told Recode, “Maybe at some point, but right now, that’s not in [the plans].”

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