Facebook is not letting bot creators buy News Feed ads that can target specific user groups. The company reminds that beta versions of its subscription messages have been available since August and News Feed ads for Messenger since September but a public release of the two will begin a slow rollout this week.
Facebook Messenger VP David Marcus writes, in a blog post today, that the combination of sponsored messages and News Feed ads will help to increase the value that companies receive from their [chat] bots.
Of course, subscription messages can vary in the way they look and show up in the Messenger app. Product placement can be more prominent, for example, while upselling and sale offers from a vendors might also be used. Daily news digest from a publisher is a another option. Always, though, ads will take a user out of Facebook and into the Messenger app, alone, to speak with a bot (about the product or service in the ad).
This is not the only change Facebook is making to Messenger this week. Apparently they adding list templates as well. List templates are also bots and will operate similar to existing Messenger bots; these will, of course, compile information in lists.
Every time you click “Get Started” on the welcome screen of a respective Facebook Messenger bot, you are, inherently, giving the bot creator permission to send sponsored messages to you; this opens the doors to various product placement options as well as native advertising, and other specific forms of solicitation.
Basically, any time you exchange messages with a bot, you give that bot permission to send you sponsored messages.
Obviously, users are probably not going to take well to advertising like this, especially if it begins to interfere with the way they already use the application. Not only are pop up ads annoying but they can also put a user at risk.
Still, Marcus assuages, “Of course, people using Messenger shouldn’t worry about getting spammed, because the starting principles still remain: Businesses can’t send a sponsored message to threads that weren’t previously opened by their customers or prospects, and users have full control to block messages or people/businesses they no longer want to hear from.”
Indeed, even he attests, “[At first] I was very concerned, and now I’m not concerned.”
Back-and-forth conversations are fairly new in advertising, but Facebook believes bots could transform the relationship between people and brands.
“If a company writes you an email it’s usually a no-reply ad,” Marcus said. “We have a path to providing a much better user experience for that.”