Facebook is running out of room to place ads in the News Feed, so it’s turning to Messenger.
The social network has begun testing targeted ads in the Messenger app in Thailand and Australia, according to a company blog post on Wednesday. A carousel of ads will be shown below a user’s list of recent conversations in Messenger, and advertisers can use the same targeting tools Facebook provides for News Feed ads.
Messenger doesn’t plan to show ads inside actual conversations, and Facebook is characterizing these new ads as a “test.”
“We believe this new test for the very small group of people in Thailand and Australia reflects a lightweight, relevant and useful approach to helping people and businesses connect on Messenger,” Messenger product manager Eddie Zhang said in a blog post. “For the Messenger community, it may enhance the discovery of new experiences to make it seamless to interact with businesses on their terms. For businesses, it could offer a new way to surface their products and services to current and potential customers.”
Facebook tried to monetize Messenger’s one billion users last year by letting businesses create chat bots, but that effort has yet to produce any kind of meaningful revenue.
Facebook’s CFO recently cautioned that the company will likely reach the limit of ads it can squeeze in the News Feed this year. And with Facebook set to report its fourth quarter earnings next week, investors will be eager to hear how executives are planning to show ads in more places like this Messenger experiment.