Leaked documents say Facebook Messenger ads are on the way

Advertisers are being advised to connect with consumers before Q2 rollout

TechCrunch is reporting that it has acquired documents from Facebook indicating that ads are coming to Facebook Messenger.

The tech news website said the documents were sent to the social media network’s biggest advertisers to advise that the new inventory would be made available in Q2 2016.

“The document, obtained by TechCrunch but kept private to protect its verified source, says businesses will be able to send ads as messages to people who previously initiated a chat thread with that company,” TechCrunch’s Joh Russell reported, adding that advertisers will be barred from cold-calling users with whom they have not previously messaged. “To prepare, the document recommends that businesses get consumers to start message threads with them now so they’ll be able to send them ads when the feature launches.”

Facebook has also created a short URL – FB.com/msg/ – that will instantly create a chat thread with an advertiser.

Facebook says its Messenger app has more than 800 million active users, all of whom it was clearly trying to reassure when it responded to TechCrunch’s queries about the new ads.

While it did not confirm that Messenger ads were on the way (opting not to comment on “speculation”), its statement did say “our aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type.”

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