We’re more digitally connected with one another now than ever before.
You can text friends with a smart watch, FaceTime with family on your phone or catch up on social media updates on your tablet.
Now, constant communication is expanding beyond your social circle.
With the launch of ads on Facebook Messenger, you can chat directly with retailers.
These ads are by far the most direct way of marketing to people because they show up in a very personal digital space.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ads already on Messenger and what makes them so good.
Compared to ads used in the past, companies can now connect with billions of people. Compared to email campaigns or company websites with limited reach and may or may not be seen by customers, ads in Messenger are more visible.
Customers already spend a lot of time there chatting with family and friends and consuming content. So this new way of talking to customers means retailers increase their exposure and growth potential much quicker.
Another bonus is the chance to offer customers access to more personalized service than ever before. Retailers can sound more conversational, like a friend, than a brand just trying to sell something.
Use these 12 best-in-class examples to get inspired to experiment with Messenger ads at your own company.
Every business wants to be able to have a conversation with its customers, and Facebook Messenger ads make that possible.
Sephora recently ran a campaign targeting women in the US, placing ads in the newsfeeds of those interested in makeup and cosmology. The intention was to drive more reservations with Sephora’s in-store makeover service.
Ordinarily, they would have driven visitors to a landing page and tried to get them to make a reservation from there. But with Messenger ads, Sephora was able to bring clickers straight right into a conversation about booking a time:
Rather than hope that people will go through the process of filling out their name and finding a local Sephora location and finding a time and verifying all their information, Sephora optimized their chatbot experience to collect all of that information through a quick conversation, cutting out 5 whole steps from the booking process overall. With just a few taps, people could set up an appointment for an in-store makeover without ever having to leave the page they were on.
The result of this simple experiment in Messenger advertising? An 11% higher booking rate. What does that mean to Sephora?
Well, with an average of $50+ incremental spend from customers who book an in-store appointment, and 20 million or so customers overall, you could safely say that this simple tweak to their Facebook advertising system was… worth the time they put in.
What you can do: Identify your ad’s real objective. Whether it’s bringing more people in for bookings, or learning more about what they need from your product, you can probably use a Messenger ad and a chatbot to get there in a less painful and more successful manner. Your goal is to keep users where they are, cut out unnecessary UX elements like form inputs, and overall make it as easy for your potential customers to convert as possible.
2. Pura Vida Bracelets
When someone sees an ad for the first time, they rarely make a purchase then and there. Typically, a little research comes first. This includes asking friends who’ve used the brand or reading online reviews. Based on what people see or hear, they decide whether or not they’ll buy something. The more they see and hear, the more they can form an opinion.
That’s why carousel ads are a great lead to prompt users to click and redirect to Messenger for more information. Instead of showing one static image in the News Feed, the ad rotates through a few images and messages.
This holds the customer’s attention a little longer and boosts the chances of them seeing something they like before they redirect to Messenger for more information. This is what this Pura Vida Bracelets ad does.
What you can do: Choose four or five images that represent your brand the best. Include a slightly different message, for the same offer, with each image. When a customer clicks on one of the images, the first message in Messenger should highlight the offer again. Remind people why they clicked over in the first place.
3. Command Burger
There are lots of apps out there that want to help make life easier for users. Facebook has a personal assistant app called M that lives inside Messenger. Similar to other personal assistant apps — like Siri and Cortana— it finds information and completes simple tasks for you.
Let’s say you’re looking for a new restaurant to try. In the past, you might have seen a Facebook ad but then had to go to the trouble of finding a phone number or website. Then you’d have to make a reservation and wait for confirmation. But with the M app, you can instead simply open up Messenger and ask M for some help. It streamlines the whole process for you all in one place.
Check out this example:
This Command Burger ad is a good example of a sponsored message working with Messenger. It’s a more personal way of advertising.
What you can do: The takeaway here is to use a chatbot to start a conversation with your users. As users ask questions and the bot responds, you help them on their way to making a decision. When they’re ready to buy something, make it easy for them by processing payments through Messenger — Messenger integrates with PayPal. The fewer steps they have to take, the better.
4. California Real Estate
Companies might be nervous about making offers for free items because they want to focus on attracting paying customers. But free catches people’s eye and gets them thinking about the value of your product.
Free isn’t a bad thing. It’s more of an introduction that could lead to an eventual purchase. Check out this sponsored post in a News Feed from the California real estate market. They offered free home valuations to educate potential customers because they know that everyone isn’t ready to buy or sell immediately.
The ad asks a question and encourages customers to take action. When users click to find out more, the company can do a few things in Messenger:
- They can ask customers a series of questions about their home so they can give a home value estimate.
- They can let customers ask questions and offer advice.
- They can let customers set up an appointment to have someone come and do an in-person valuation.
They can use Messenger to educate people and take the pressure of them feeling like they have to buy something now.
What you can do: Your comments in Messenger don’t have to ask for a purchase right away. Use it as a way to build awareness and a relationship. The benefit being you can keep the conversation going until the user’s ready to buy something.
5. Tieks by Gavrieli
Whether you’re surfing the web or using an ad, there’s almost always an ad in your face. Fortunately, Facebook tries to curb user frustration by limiting how many ads appear in a user’s News Feed.
With so many options constantly bombarding a potential customer, getting a click can be competitive. So when they actually do click, that usually means they are at least curious about what you have to offer. That’s why you have to make the most of the opportunity and explain your product’s value. You can use Messenger to proactively reach out to customers who’re interested in your brand.
Brands like Tieks by Gaverieli reach out to people who’ve shown an interest in the brand in the past.
If you’ve clicked on an ad in the past or asked a few questions in Messenger, Tieks remembers that. After some time, if they haven’t seen you in a while, they message you directly. This is much better than posting random ads, hoping something will stick. This approach gets the customer’s attention — they pause for a second instead of scrolling past it — and reminds them to come back and check out what’s new.
What you can do: With this approach, take a look at the types of offers customers have clicked on in the past. Include a new, similar offer and a large CTA button that get them excited and eager to do something. To make the offer stand out even more, add a sense of urgency by making it a limited time offer. It’s not enough to say, ‘Hey, how’re you doing?” Instead say, “Hey, it’s been a while but here’s something we think you’ll love. Act now so you don’t miss out.”
6. Shop Spring
Just because someone sees your ad and clicks on it to find out more, doesn’t mean they’re going to buy anything. If they’re new to your brand, they don’t know anything about you or your product.
So what can brands do to convert these people?
Shop Spring has done a great job of targeting top of funnel users — people who are new to the brand — by asking lots of questions in Messenger. They get to know their potential customers better.
As people ask more questions in Messenger, Shop Spring builds a better picture of each person’s preferences. For the customer’s part, they gradually build trust as recommendations in Messenger get more in line with their preferences.
What you can do: Marketers have to choose a series of questions to ask in Messenger that will help them paint a better picture of each customer. As each question’s answered and the profiles update, group similar customers together and run new Messenger ads that are specifically targeted to them. This goes a long way to building their trust in you and your relationship with them. It also leads to more strategic and structured advertising when you know what types of customers you’re talking to.
7. The Vegan Baker
It’s one thing to see an ad about some random product. It’s another to see one that not only introduces a product but the company behind it as well. Wouldn’t it be great to know what to expect even before you engage with a retailer?
That’s the case with this ad by The Vegan Baker:
Because you’ll be talking to customers in Messenger, they want to know that you’ll respond quickly to their questions or concerns. We live in a world where we expect an instant reply to everything, a text, a tweet, whatever. We keep checking back until we see a response. The fact that this brand sets the expectation of quick responses in Messenger is huge.
Next, it tells you what to expect when you talk to them: vegan recipes and tips delivered to you in Messenger. Simple.
Then it tells you how to interact with them. You can ask recipe questions, find restaurants, learn about new ingredients and choose how often you receive notifications — all in Messenger. They never have to leave the app to get what they need making it a positive experience for them. Put together in an ad. It’s a great introduction to your brand and an opportunity to grow customer loyalty.
What you can do: Consider doing something similar to take users from just curiosity to ready for action. Use Messenger to set the stage for what customers can expect from you. Figure out what your selling points are and put those front and center in the app. Messenger doesn’t have to be limited to just the ads — it also nurtures the relationship.
The more information you can offer a user, the better. When someone places an order in Messenger, what better way to continue to build on their experience than by offering tidbits about their purchase? If they’re new to your brand, they’re understandably curious to see their order arrive.
With Everlane, they send a thank you note after they get an order and a promise to keep you posted about it. They also offer a summary of your order.
They don’t stop there though. Once their order ships, users can see where it is. We’ve all received a confirmation email that the order we placed has shipped. But isn’t seeing it on a map so much better? Everlane lets customers track their order in Messenger in real-time.
What you can do: Use Messenger to keep the door open to communication on the lifecycle of a user’s purchase. It keeps the excitement alive and builds on their overall experience with your brand. They’re more likely to be repeat customers.
Have you ever scrolled through ads and ignored some because they didn’t resonate with you? Of course you have—if it’s not relevant to your interests, you’re most likely not going to explore it any further.
The less targeted an ad is to your interests, the less likely you are to engage with it. That’s the idea behind Nordstrom’s Messenger ad campaign:
They know that personalized service is the key to winning over customers so they learn about their customers by asking a series of question. In this example, the customer’s looking for a gift recommendation.
While they’re in Messenger, Nordstrom’s chatbot asks a series of questions that gauge preferences. This way, the product recommendations and ads they offer up are super targeted and more likely to be clicked on.
What you can do: Learning about your customers is an ongoing process. Use the responses you get in Messenger to create profiles based on each question. Depending on the answers to follow-up questions, build a sort of journey map that defines who the customers are and what products they’re most likely to be interested in. The benefit to you is even more targeted ads that customers respond to.
Messenger ads are a new way to raise brand awareness. Lots of brands use things like email campaigns, print ads and in-store campaigns to remind customers of the benefits they offer.
With Messenger, you can take this one step further by launching mini campaigns in the app. This is a great approach if sales are lagging and need a little boost. Check out this ad from Absolut:
The promotion was initially available in four states: Denver, New York, Chicago, and Dallas.
Here’s how it worked:
- Customers chose one of three cocktails.
- Got a promo code.
- They showed the code at a local bar to get their free drink.
- Then they waited for a notification confirming they got their free drink.
- Then Lyft sent a note offering a ride home.
The campaign far exceeded Absolut’s projections. Cocktail pick-ups were 2x what they expected. It was a solid option to see quick results.
What you can do: If you’re entering a new market or some of your products aren’t doing as well as others, offer a freebie. Message past customers and let them know. Maybe even offer an extra incentive when they share to promo with friends via Messenger. Make the offer time sensitive — like a few days — to create a sense of urgency just like Tieks by Gaverieli with their proactive messaging campaign.
One thing to remember is that while fulfillment is easy for digital products, if you’re promoting an actual real-world product, make sure you have lots of it in stock. If your ad is as successful as Absolut’s, you’ll need to have the product ready to make sure the customer experience is memorable…in a positive way.
Sponsored messages are another way to boost re-engagement. This group includes customers who’ve shown an interest in the brand in the past. Either they bought a product or subscription, or they messaged you with questions but didn’t follow-through with a purchase.
Rather than lose these people if they don’t come back to interact on some level, brands can reach out and try to get them to come back for another look.
Again, this is a proactive approach like Tieks by Gaverieli. The difference here is that CNN uses sponsored messages to boost re-engagement vs. just finding and messaging lapsed customers.
For customers or users who still have an open conversation thread in Messenger, CNN can reach out to them and start a new conversation. The value in this approach is it’s the first time chatbots have been able to initiate conversations. Typically, users have to initiate the conversation before a chatbot can talk to them. Now you don’t have to wait.
What you can do: Take advantage of open threads by setting regular intervals to see which customers you haven’t heard from in a while. Send a personal “we miss you” message and include a welcome back offer. This helps pique customer interest and gets them to a least take a look at your ad.
Lots of these ads are made possible by chatbots. You can set them up so that it feels like customers are talking to an actual person.
Don’t be intimidated by them though. You don’t need complex bots or a development team to set up and manage user interactions. Instead, you can use a simple bot that asks basic questions or offers specific information.
For example, 1-800-Flowers uses a simple bot to process orders via Messenger.
Customers just tell the bot that they want to order flowers and it asks things like where to deliver them and what type. Super simple and straight to the point. It’s not trying too hard to be human, so it’s not off-putting. With this approach, 1-800-Flowers found that 70% of their new customers came from Messenger. This is a solid case that Messenger is an effective communication channel.
What you can do: The simpler you make it for users to follow-through on your ad, the better. Once customers click on your ad to place an order, you want to make the order quick and easy so that purchases are high. Start by thinking about how you can simplify your purchase process. What are the main three or four steps customers have to take? Focus on these and build a bot and your chats around them.
Finding a strategy that works for you
Facebook Messenger has reached over 1.2 billion monthly active users since it first launched. These users send and receive over a billion messages every single month.
Based on its rapid growth, Messenger has proven itself a solid place for companies to interact with more customers and grow their customer base quickly. This is a huge step forward compared to advertising methods of the past that waited for people to see them — like print ads. Messenger ads slide into a more personal space and proactively try to get customers attention.
We’re still in the early days of advertising with Messenger, but new trends are emerging everyday which means there’s lots of opportunities for you to learn and grow.
Are you interested in trying any of these approaches? Have you tried any and had success? Let us know in the comments below!