The potential of Facebook Messenger ads is amazing. Chatbots are fun. But not always practical. They provide the opportunity to blend artificial intelligence and machine learning so you can generate leads, at scale, with fewer people.
However, it’s not easy to figure out where you should start, how to use it best, or where exactly it fits in with the rest of your strategy.
Your budget is finite. It’s already stretched too thin. And yet, you’re supposed to take money away from performing campaigns to test something new?
The trick isn’t to look at it as some “new-fangled thing.”
Instead, look at them for what they are: an engagement tool like email, but on steroids.
That way, you’re not required to dream up brand new use cases out of thin air. You can take what already works and adapt it to a new medium.
Here’s why you should invest in Facebook Messenger ads, along with three campaigns to start to grow your bottom line.
Why invest in Facebook Messenger ads?
85% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile devices. They’ve (seemingly) been the only ones to figure it out.
Part of the reason is placement. The other is the funnel.
Facebook has introduced mobile-specific ad units that capitalize on what’s unique about the platform. Lead ads, for example, expedite the typical lead gen process into just a few clicks.
Your mobile ads aren’t the same terrible banners or full-screen video takeovers (like seemingly every other mobile ad ever). They’re smart. They’re super targeted. And most of all, they’re simple.
That puts Facebook (and you) in a perfect position to capitalize on what’s already happening.
The tricky part, of course, is that the mobile experience for most websites… well, sucks. It’s too slow, too cumbersome, and too complex for mobile.
That’s where Facebook’s special ad units come into play. Because you can use lead ads or even Canvas ads to completely bypass a website.
People want information now. And most websites aren’t designed to give it to them. Which is why most conversion rates from mobile devices suck, too.
Years ago, Harvard Business Review ran a study to see how speed plays a role in lead generation. In other words, how your chances of qualifying a new lead look after five minutes, ten minutes, five days, and so on.
The results? Waiting longer than five minutes to follow up decreases your odds by 400%.
Keep in mind that this study is from alllllll the way back in 2011. Has the world sped up or slowed down since then?
Yeah. That’s what I thought.
So where are people going to get fast responses?
It used to be social networks. Until Messaging apps recently surpassed them.
73% of customers prefer messaging over phone or email support.
Because stuff gets resolved fast. Like, 42 seconds, fast.
Messaging is faster, more effective, and nets higher engagement. Facebook’s version layers on advanced features that enhance these qualities, along with retargeting options.
And you can now use it to capitalize. Here’s where to get started.
How to use Facebook Messenger ads
Your first Messenger ad option looks just like any old regular Facebook ad.
The placement can be anywhere. You promote them through the mobile newsfeed, the desktop, or even Instagram.
The difference here is that you’re driving people back to your Messenger (instead of a landing page or lead form).
So the only discernable difference from the ad itself is the CTA.
The key here is to drive people to take the action you want: start a conversation.
Create a new ad campaign like you normally would. Select “Conversions” as an objective (at least, not Lead Gen or Engagement, because Messenger ads won’t show up as an option).
Then, you’ll have to go down to “Edit Placements.”
Once updated, you should see a new Messenger option down towards the bottom.
Now, let’s go through the motions.
The ad formats should all be familiar. Same overall structure, image, headline area, etc. etc.
Here’s where things get a bit different. The “Main Message” area allows you to create Image & Text ads, Video & Text, or just Text.
Image sizing is around 1200 X 628 for the OCD out there.
Don’t leave your copywriting skillz at home here, either. Why would someone ever want to talk to you? What are they going to get out of it?
Brush up on your headline hacks before passing “GO.”
How to use Facebook Messenger Chatbots
The next step is to customize the actions or responses people will receive when they start replying.
That’s right. This is chatbot territory. You can pre-program automated responses based on what people say, questions they might have, and more.
The end result should look something like this:
(Or at least, it will if you’re desperate.)
So. How, exactly, do you use something like this?
I’m glad you asked.
1. Target new audiences
The first step is to determine who you’re targeting (and why). Because a cold, interest-based audience is going to want to chat about something drastically different from the peeps in your posse.
The trick here is that it won’t have anything to do with what you sell. At least, not yet.
Instead, we’ll need to pick these people’s brain. (Not in a cannibalistic, Hannibal Lector way.)
Imagine a retail store for a second. You work there. (Depressing, right?)
You’re on the floor, looking for eager browsers, when you spot the perfect schmuck in the corner.
Two ways to do this.
First, you ask them “Do you need any help?” like a normal person. And like another normal person, they say “Nope” as quickly as possible, shutting down the conversation for good.
OR, you approach it differently. You ask them a related question that’s designed to just get the conversation going. Just a simple reply.
Sorta like sending a cold email. You just want a response.
Like, “Are you shopping for a party?”
That was lame. But you get the point. It gets someone to open up, lowering their guard.
The very first question is essentially, “What does your lawn look like right now?” They even provide a few simple responses to prompt the conversation forward.
That requires barely any thought from the visitor. And it’s related to something the person cares about (their lawn) and not your junk that they could care less about (your lawn care products).
You lead them down a path until the conclusion becomes obvious: They should check you out further.
You’re generating interest and engagement. You’re laying the groundwork now. So you can come back to fight another day with sales-related messages for people who’re already primed and ready to go.
2. Retarget leads
Let’s say someone looks at the products on your site.
Maybe they even added them to their cart.
But they didn’t buy.
So what do you do?
Retarget them, obviously.
This, again, is marketing automation. You pre-coordinate the sequence that drives results. You use conditional statements (IF, THEN) to plan out ads in advance.
If someone adds a product to your cart, the next action is obvious.
You send them ads based on the product they were just looking at. You use Dynamic Product ads if you’re on top of your game.
Same applies to longer sales cycles, too. For example, let’s say you use a lead ad to get an opt-in for your new eBook on “How to Become a Dating Master.”
Someone expresses interest by checking out that offer. But they leave before submitting their info.
No prob. You saw that coming. (Didn’t you?) So you planned in advance. You’ve got an audience (and a new ad sequence) ready for them.
The only problem with other ad types, like lead forms, is that they’re static.
Bigger, complex purchases don’t happen in the blink of an eye. Someone has to think long and hard about it. So they might check out your offer several times before ever committing.
Messenger ads open the door for dialogue. They allow you to start a conversation to uncover those questions and underlying objections preventing someone from signing on the dotted line.
Digital Marketer does this beautifully here, retargeting people who visited their sales page but didn’t convert.
They also add a little social proof (“We’ll double 10,000 businesses in the next 5 years.”) for good measure.
“Engagement” isn’t a Like on your latest cat post. At least, not the profitable kind of engagement.
Instead, this is. You’re taking the conversation 1-on-1 so you can nurture. You’re making people feel like you care, because you do, in fact, actually care.
That’s the trick to closing high-ticket sales. Scale what you can. Automate where possible. But then move the conversation to a private connection ASAP.
3. Re-engagement messages
Ok, here’s where things switch up a bit.
There’s another Messenger option that’s your typical, run-of-the-mill ad.
This time, you’re placing messages inside someone’s personal Messenger app.
Kinda like LinkedIn’s InMail feature. Except, slightly less creepy.
Slightly less, because you’re not able to spam brand new, unaware people. At least, not yet. Thankfully.
Instead, you can only use this option to retarget people who’ve already messaged you.
So the total quantity will undoubtedly be small, unless you’ve been running the two ad sequences above.
OR, if you do this.
Digital Marketer used ManyChat to create a simple link that opens a new Facebook Messenger conversation when people click it. Then, they used an automated email like the following to get people to click:
They also recommend integrating Facebook Messenger with customer support. For example, when someone purchases something on Shopify you can use it as a Notification option.
Get more people chatting. So you have more unique, active messages on Facebook. So you can retarget them with sponsored messages. OR re-engagement campaigns.
Let’s say someone drops off.
You follow up with them 1-on-1. You nurtured them and addressed their objections. But they still didn’t buy.
What you don’t do, is pester them with high-pressured sales tactics. Instead, you put them in a re-engagement campaign.
Their answer wasn’t “No,” necessarily. Instead, it was more like “Not right now.”
So don’t give up.
For example, Jon Loomer uses sponsored messages to send people a webinar notification.
Webinars are the perfect foil for re-engaging a lapsed audience. They’re intimate and personal because people feel like they’re personally interacting with you.
And yet, they’re scalable. You’re not just spending an hour with one person. You’re doing it with up to a thousand. (You know what I mean.)
There’s one more reason webinars are perfect. Check out this next example and see if you already know the answer.
Webinars have an end date. Once they’re gone, the content expires.
Compare that to eBooks and most other forms of lead magnets. You opt-in and download it. Maybe you read it. Probably, you don’t. Then you forget about it.
The instant gratification is good for the consumer. Not so good for the business trying to generate sales opportunities.
Webinars fix that problem. They’re only around for a limited-time only.
They manufacture urgency out of thin air (when it otherwise doesn’t exist).
That’s the best way to get someone to respond, now, when they don’t otherwise have to.
Check out the two variations to see if you can spot the difference:
See it? That little sentence with the yellow outline?
“Free next business day delivery if you order before 4pm (UK)”
Simple, right? And yet it also increased checkout visits by 10% and the number of purchases by 9%.
All by adding a little urgency to the equation.
Same thing happens with those little countdown timers. Corny? Sure. But effective.
Adding urgency to this page increased conversions from 2.5% to over 10%.
These work in almost every occasion. Here’s another experiment from Behave.org (previously WhichTestWon).
Once again, almost everything about the page is exactly the same. Except for one tiny detail.
A simple line with a countdown timer, emphasizing when the offer was going to expire, lifted conversions by 8%.
Webinars have an implicit countdown timer. The content will be available, once. After that, they’re on their own.
So if they had even a shred of interest left, if they cared just a tiny bit, you can get them to take action.
Or risk losing out forever.
There’s a reason Facebook messaging is the latest marketing craze. It’s faster, more effective, and therefore, preferred by customers over most other alternative channels.
But that doesn’t mean it’s “different.” That doesn’t mean it’s some unique medium that’s completely re-written the rules.
In fact, you shouldn’t rewrite them.
Instead, you should mitigate any new risk by adapting and evolving what already works.
You can use the same sales funnel approach, the same marketing automation techniques, and simply update them tactically.
You can use Facebook Messenger ads to reach more brand new people by giving them something interesting to chat about.
You can use them to retarget warm leads and understand what’s holding them back from moving forward with your company.
And then you can use them to re-engage prospects who’ve fallen off the wagon. Urgency can help get them to finally respond.
Messaging is relatively new. But the strategies and campaigns featured in this Facebook messenger guide are not.
Pair these tips with strategies from our Facebook ads guide and you’ll have a better shot at profitably generating new customers starting Day One.
Why All Businesses Should Be Using Facebook’s Messenger Ads
by Ana Gotter
In the years I spent as a salesperson, there was one thing my manager made sure sunk in: always make sure the customer knows you’re there and available. This meant greeting the customer within ten seconds and asking how you could help them.
It’s an effective strategy—but there isn’t really a social media equivalent.
If users visit your Page, great—they may see (and ignore) your CTA to contact you, shop, or learn more. There isn’t really a way to greet them and welcome them, and to start a conversation. That’s why Facebook Messenger Ads are so important.
Facebook Messenger Ads focus on generating conversation between you and relevant audience members. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at what they are, why businesses should be using them, and how to create them.
What Are Facebook’s Messenger Ads?
There are two different types of Facebook Messenger Ads: destination messenger ads, and sponsored messages. Both are designed to start or continue conversations with users. Facebook is also testing another type of Messenger Ads that will work like Newsfeed style ads.
Destination Messenger Ads show up in the Newsfeed like regular ads, with the objective being to get users to contact you through Messenger. The CTA will read “Send Message,” and when users click it, it will take them from their Facebook newsfeed to an open message with you. This type of ad focuses on Messenger as the destination and an objective.
Facebook’s Sponsored Messages are part of Facebook’s chatbot program, and will allow you to deliver messages right to users’ inboxes, increasing the chance they’ll read the whole message. This can also help drive the conversation, and with pointed messages like “Don’t forget to use our coupon code!” you can drive more sales, too.
Finally, Facebook is now testing a new type of ad that will utilize Facebook Messenger as the placement for the ad. These ads will appear in a carousel-style display underneath your most recent messages in the Messenger App.
As of now, it seems like we will only be able to target users who have already messaged us on Messenger with these ads; this will lessen their reach slightly. This ad type is brand new, so we probably won’t get access for a little while, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
The Unique Benefits of Messenger Ads
The emphasis of both types of ads is on generating or extending the conversation with your customers. While we distribute mass messages with relative ease, the personal touch of social media can sometimes be lacking. Opening actual private conversations with interested users gives you the chance to provide a more personalized customer service experience. You can answer their questions more thoroughly and start to build a stronger relationship.
And here’s the thing. Thanks to Facebook’s chatbots and/or your talented customer service team, these ads can let you pull customers into conversations where you start to sell them things. It’s actually possible now for chatbots to complete a sale from start to finish– even accepting payments– without ever leaving Messenger.
It’s easy to forget about the “social” aspect of social media. If we want to build great relationships, we need to offer methods for our customers to talk to us directly. These ads are a great way to do that, encouraging users to reach out instead of just hoping that they will. It lets users know that you’re responsive and ready and you actively want to hear from them.
Newsfeed Placements vs. Messenger Placements
Newsfeed placements for messenger destination ads are currently more wildly available. Since you can target cold traffic with messenger ads in newsfeed placements (but you can only target users who have already messed you with Sponsored Messages), the Newsfeed messenger ads—as of now—will likely have more benefits.
Sponsored messages are brand new and rolling out gradually, so it will be interesting to see the kind of effect that they have.
Consider the use cases: being able to target users who have viewed specific pages of your site (with some help from Pixel Caffeine) encouraging them to ask questions through Messenger could drive so many conversions by giving you the chance to clear up any questions they have.
How to Create Destination Messenger Ads
You can create Newsfeed Ads that have the CTA to “send Message” just like you’d create any other type of ads.
Both the Ads Manager and Power Editor have the feature. Note that while you can run local awareness campaigns on Instagram, you cannot use the CTA “Send Message,” so I heavily recommend only running this particular campaign on Facebook Ads with the Newsfeed placement. You’ll want your copy and images customized to focus on this.
Right now, the only type of ad objectives you can choose for “Send Message” ads is Local Awareness and Traffic; even brand awareness doesn’t give you the option for this CTA.
Local Awareness campaigns still give you the option to choose some basic targeting criteria, but not a lot.
You’ll be able to set an age range and gender. You’ll also be able to choose a geographical region to target, where you can target a certain radius around your business; this radius can be anything from 3-50 miles. These targeting options are severely limited compared to most other types of Facebook Ads, but they still let you reach a local audience and potential cold traffic.
If you’re creating a Traffic campaign, on the other hand, you can target more users with the full range of traditional targeting criteria. You’ll just select Messenger as the destination for your traffic instead of a website.
The only other difference from typical campaigns will be to choose the “Send Message” CTA.
Finally, preview the ad and make sure it’s a perfect fit.
How to Created Sponsored Messages Ads
If you have the feature available to you, you can create Sponsored Message Ads through Power Editor, Ads Creator, or the API. You must choose either the Traffic or Website Conversions objectives.
You’ll need to create a custom audience that is made up of only users who have engaged with you in the past. Hit “Create New” under the custom audience option.
Choose to create your audience off of “Engagement on Facebook.”
And then choose to create the audience from “people who sent a message to your Page.” You can target users who have sent your Page a message within custom time ranges, like within the past month or year.
For placement, you’ll choose the Messenger placement. Again: not everyone has this yet.
After this, you’ll continue to create the ad as you normally would, though you can only choose one single image.
Relationship building is much harder to do online than it is when you have customers coming into your store regularly; you don’t have salespersons on staff to greet them immediately and start fostering relationships that lead to loyalty and eventually advocacy.
While social media has been a great way to bridge the gap between online businesses and customers, public interactions still don’t always have the same effect as a one-on-one conversation. That’s what makes Messenger Ads so important, both for placements and sponsored messages.
You’re either generating a conversation or encouraging users to continue learning about your brand’s content -after you’ve started one. This can mean driving sales through Messenger selling, and this can be done quickly and efficiently.
Both of these ad types can help foster more lasting, loyal relationships with your followers, turning followers into clients and clients into fans.
What do you think? Have you used or seen either type of Messenger Ads? How have they worked for you? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!