Video ads on Messenger?
Seems odd, right? But that, reportedly, is where Facebook is next looking to expose users to video content.
According to recode, Facebook’s planning to roll out autoplay ads within the Messenger inbox ‘right next to messages from friends and family’.
In some ways, this makes perfect sense – video ads are seeing significantly better response rates than static content across pretty much every social platform, so adding them to Messenger is a logical next step.
But then again, video in Messenger seems like a bit much – and is especially strange considering Facebook itself has been seeking to simplify Messenger after the app became ‘too cluttered’, diminishing the user experience.
Specifically, the now former Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus noted back in January that:.
“Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.”
Indeed, at their F8 conference last month, Facebook showcased their new, streamlined Messenger layout, shifting back to the app’s message-based roots.
How autoplay video fits into that, I’m not sure – it seems that if Facebook were concerned about cluttering the layout too much, adding video would only further contribute. But Marcus is no longer in charge – former Messenger head of product Stan Chudnovsky is, and that could mean a different approach.
Or maybe Facebook is just really keen to start monetizing Messenger. The app, which now has more than 1.3 billion users, has thus far been difficult for Facebook to generate significant revenue from, given user reluctance to see it as much more than a basic messaging platform. Video ads can generate more money for Facebook. Maybe Facebook sees the risk of annoying users as not enough to stop them at least trying it out.
Whatever the logic, Facebook has reportedly already begun testing of the new Messenger video ads. Look out for them in an inbox (very) near you.