The problem with becoming a massively successful company that’s publicly traded is that you have to keep growing. Facebook is running out of new places to force its ads and it’s now going to start throwing autoplaying videos into messenger.
Messenger alone is ranked as the third most popular social network by monthly users and unlike Facebook’s main product, it’s a relatively clutter-free zone. Traditional ads were introduced among users’ private messages last year and according to Recode, autoplay videos started rolling out in Messenger on Monday.
From the report:
Stefanos Loukakos, who runs Messenger’s ad business, says he’s aware of this, and the company will monitor user behavior to determine if these ads turn people off.
“Top priority for us is user experience,” he said from a beach side cabana at the Cannes Lions advertising festival on Tuesday. “So we don’t know yet [if these will work]. However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”
Considering that no controversy seems to be significant enough to stop people from using Facebook, it’s not surprising that tests showed more ads didn’t really change how people used Messenger. But that doesn’t mean Facebook doesn’t have a long-term issue with ad real estate. Yes, it’s still finding new ways to monetize its wildly popular Instagram and WhatsApp properties, but big new platforms are in a holding pattern. Facebook’s virtual reality ambitions are still a distant dream as consumers are slow to embrace the technology. And in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook reportedly decided now would not be a great time to launch a privacy-invading smart speaker.
For now, users will just have to deal with seeing more advertising across Facebook’s current products—unless, you know, they remember there are a billion other messaging services out there that can get the job done.