Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business

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January 24,2017 by
Molly Pittman

When Facebook began rolling out Messenger ads on November 8, 2016, I knew we were in for some excitement!

DigitalMarketer has been testing ever since, and in this post, I’m explaining the ins and outs of Facebook Messenger ads and how to strategically deploy them in your business. how-to-use-facebook-messenger-ads

But before you can put them to work you need to know the why—why this ad type matters to ANY and EVERY business…

I know it’s easy to assume that this ad type (or channel as a whole) would only work for “high-tech” audiences, or “big” companies that have the resources to man a customer communication channel…. but, stay with me.

That’s not the case.

After doing a bit of thinking and research, I realized that assuming Messenger only works for highly technical markets is like saying that Facebook as a marketing channel only works for highly technical markets…

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This chart from Business Insider is mind-blowing. At the beginning of 2015, monthly usage of the top four messaging apps surpassed usage of the top four social networks.

And, over ONE BILLION people use Facebook Messenger as a whole. Even my great-grandmother (she’s in her 90’s) uses Facebook Messenger…

My point is that we must not only enter the conversation that’s already taking place in our customer’s head, we must BE in the places where our customers are having their conversations.

Aside from even advertising through Messenger, being reactive and responsive to your people throughout the entire Customer Journey via Messenger is essential.

I recently experienced this as a consumer.

I was driving down the road and saw a new apartment complex. I reached out via Messenger from their Facebook page to inquire about the property.

Every step of my Customer Journey, from scheduling a tour to negotiating the lease, was done through Facebook Messenger. It’s very likely that if they weren’t as responsive on Messenger as they were, I would’ve ended up living somewhere else.

how-to-use-facebook-messenger-adsIf you get nothing else out of this article remember this… Messenger will continue to become an essential communication channel.

Facebook reported that more than one in two people say they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message, and 67% of people expect to message businesses more in the next two years.

It’s how people are communicating with family and friends. A large portion of our society prefers to communicate via a messenger with quick responses.

Adapt… or lose business to your competition.

Now, we, as marketers, have the opportunity to tap into this tremendous channel to grow our business and better serve our customers.

Here’s How It Works…

There are two different “types” of Facebook Messenger ads.

  1. Facebook Messenger as a destination (I’m calling them destination ads)
  2. Facebook Messenger as a placement (sponsored messages)

Let’s start with…

Facebook Messenger as a Destination (Destination Ads)

Destination ads appear in the newsfeed, and when clicked on, open inside of a Facebook message (instead of sending traffic to a URL):

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You can find this destination option at the ad level when creating a campaign in Ads Manager or Power Editor.

The ad looks and feels like a normal ad, with the option to include an image, video, carousel, slideshow, etc.:

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A few things to note about destination ads…

  1. You can target ANYONE (this is important – you can target interests, behaviors, custom audiences, etc.)
  2. Available in the newsfeed (desktop and mobile)
  3. Available for campaigns with the objective “page post engagement” or “send people to a destination on or off Facebook” – so, don’t panic if you chose another objective and don’t see Messenger as an option

Ways to use this ad type…

1. Retargeting

What’s the biggest “hang-up” in your Customer Journey?

Use destination ads to give people an extra touch point with your brand. Help them overcome any barriers to purchase.

For example, we use Messenger ads to retarget people who visit our sales pages but don’t purchase the product. If you visit the sales page for DigitalMarketer Lab but don’t buy, you’ll see this ad:

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There’s usually a reason people don’t buy, and if you give people a platform to ask questions and help overcome doubt, it works wonders. For example, people want to know if the product will actually work for their business, if there is a contract or commitment, if they can add team members, etc.

Once their questions are answered, most are ready to purchase the product. This entire conversation is happening via Facebook Messenger.

2. Cold traffic

We have the option to run destination ads to cold traffic (people who have never heard of our brand). how-to-use-facebook-messenger-ads

This can be used to raise awareness and acquire customers, but—it must be done right.

The key here is to make sure the ad prompts an ideal sales conversation. For example, if your ad asks people to respond with their favorite color, it’s probably going to be a waste of time and money.

But, if you can prompt a conversation that leads to your ideal sales conversation… you’re golden.

Imagine you own a home improvement company that provides a slew of services: plumbing, landscaping, painting, etc.

You run an ad in your local area, “If you could ‘fix’ one aspect of your home, what would it be?”. People respond with “landscaping” or “I’d paint my home.” You now know their pain point and can cater your conversation to this topic, hopefully ending in a sale.

Again, I wouldn’t recommend starting here as I don’t believe this is the most highly leveraged activity within Facebook Messenger ads, but, it’s worth a shot when you’re ready for scale.

Facebook Messenger as a Placement (Sponsored Messages) 

Sponsored messages appear inside of the Facebook Messenger inbox.

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It’s an identical experience to receiving a Facebook message from a friend, these just come from a brand.

You can find this option at the ad set level when creating a campaign in Ads Manager or Power Editor:

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When creating an actual message, you can include links and images:

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A few things to note about sponsored messages…

  1. You can ONLY target people who have previously messaged your page in the past.
  2. It’s available for campaigns with objectives of “send people to a destination on or off of Facebook” and “website conversions.”
  3. Facebook charges advertisers by impressions, you are charged whether the end user opens the message or not… unless you use a tool like….

ManyChat.com

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ManyChat is much more than a “bot” (in my opinion, the bot is the least sexy feature).

ManyChat builds a list of subscribers that you can send sponsored messages to; people who have previously messaged your page:

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Although Facebook is building this list, too, the benefit is ManyChat allows you to broadcast sponsored messages to your subscriber list for just $10/month (instead of paying Facebook on a CPM basis):

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We’ve sent four sponsored messages to our subscriber list, and the open rates have been INSANE (especially compared to email open rates)!!

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So far, we’ve only sent promotional broadcasts (that mimic our email promotional calendar) to sell tickets to our annual event and invite prospects to join DM Lab. We do plan to begin weaving in content based emails, similar to an email newsletter, in the near future.

(RELATED: Episode 72: How DigitalMarketer Generated 500% ROI in 3 Days Using Facebook Messenger)

So, ready to put this to work in your business? Let’s talk about…

(NOTE: Want to become a certified paid traffic master? Learn how to drive quality traffic from platforms like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and LinkedIn and build a guaranteed system for acquiring customers with our Paid Traffic Mastery Certification. Learn more now.)

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How to Build Your Subscriber List

Sponsored messages are so powerful, and—this is really important—the fact that you can only send them to people who have previously messaged your page will keep this from becoming a spam-festhow-to-use-facebook-messenger-ads

But, there does need to be list building strategies, similar to email.

You can use destination ads to build your Messenger subscriber list.

ManyChat also provides a unique URL that when clicked, opens a Facebook message with your brand page.

For example, we sent an email and used the link to drive messages:

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Not only did this provide an extra line of communication for people who would prefer to use Messenger, it sold tickets! As you can see from this Facebook Messenger conversation between a customer and one of our sales reps…

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If you’re using a software like Shopify, you can integrate with Facebook and build your subscriber list as people purchase your product:

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You can also send follow-up messages to confirm the order and send shipping information:

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…Which is a great way to improve user experience.

And, don’t forget—even people who message your page, (for customer service related questions, for example) are added to your subscriber list!

You may be wondering, Wow… this sounds awesome, but it requires a lot of human resources to answer messages!

And, you’re right. But, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it AND it doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from this ad type even if you’re a one-person show. Here are a few tips:

  1. Start super small, down the funnel. Use destination ads to retarget people who are towards the bottom of your funnel. This will ensure you’re having fewer, but more highly leveraged conversations.
  2. Get help from a bot. Use ManyChat’s bot feature to welcome people who message your page, you could essentially automate the sales process with this tool.
  3. Use the tagging system inside of Facebook Messenger to stay organized. Our team created tags to help systemize the process:

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I also recommend integrating your customer service and sales platforms with Facebook Messenger so that your team can leverage Messenger while still having access to customer information.

We’re only three months into Facebook Messenger ads and there’s already SO much opportunity.

Take advantage of this channel to communicate with your prospects and customers. Build systems in your business that leverage this channel so that you can build a subscriber list, similar to email. Then…

Test, test, test, and as always… let us know how these strategies are working in your business!

(NOTE: Want to become a certified paid traffic master? Learn how to drive quality traffic from platforms like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and LinkedIn and build a guaranteed system for acquiring customers with our Paid Traffic Mastery Certification. Learn more now.)

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Molly Pittman

About Molly Pittman

Molly Pittman is Digital Marketer's Vice President and Traffic Manager. She uses her wide range of business and communication skills to acquire customers through paid traffic. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. Molly has a tiny black dog named Larry. Connect with Molly on Facebook

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