Facebook teased an announcement in May about lead generation ads becoming available in Messenger. On August 29, the company announced that this ads option is now available globally. According to Facebook,
Messenger helps you simplify customer acquisition by providing a direct, conversational way for people to take action where they already spend their time… We are announcing the global roll out of lead generation in Messenger, which enables businesses to set up an automated question experience. Ads that click-to-Messenger, created in the messages objective, opens a Messenger conversation between a person and business and kicks off a set of questions that can be answered through pre-filled or free form text.
I admit it. I may have had a Gilmore Girls marathon with my daughters this weekend. Which may be why I thought a classic Rory Gilmore pro/con list was the perfect way to break down Facebook’s rollout of native Lead Generation Ads in Messenger.
Is this new option in Facebook Ads a good thing? Or is this good from afar, but far from good?
Messenger is Growing
Before we create our list, let’s first review where Facebook Messenger Ads have been and where they are going.
They are not new. Since 2017, businesses have been experimenting with lead generation and e-commerce through Messenger. And it’s working. ManyChat notes that there are 1.3 billion people actively use Facebook Messenger every month. Not just signed up — actively using it.
Facebook notes the steadily growing stats for Messenger when it comes to businesses:
Credit: Facebook – More Than A Message
Most impressively, 56% of people who message businesses say they are more likely to shop with a business they can reach on Messenger.
I spoke with my colleague, Rutger Thole (aka “The Botfather”), about this announcement. He says,
The majority of digital marketers will have to change the way they think they could — and should — use Messenger.
It’s not just a sales tool.
Messenger is an awesome and powerful tool that should be part of your mix. It’s a separate channel that you can utilize.
I love utilizing Messenger for a variety of entry points when and where your audience wants you:
Pre-purchase customer service
Post-purchase customer support
Audience segmentation for hyper-targeting
So it makes sense. Until now, we Facebook advertisers have had to rely on third party platforms like ManyChat to create Messenger flows for Facebook. Now Facebook wants to throw its hat in the ring and add this to its wheelhouse.
The question is, how good is the new, native Messenger leadgen ads option?
Let’s get to it. (Rory would be halfway done with her list by now.)
Facebook Native Messenger Ads pros and cons
You can send to Messenger or do a Sponsored Message.
You can connect your WhatsApp account, too.
You can optimize for replies or leads.
You can create chats that are text or text and images.
You can then select to add up to 10 questions. (While this is a good amount of questions available so as to not overwhelm users, the options for the questions are again, basic. Short answer, options to click, or user information queries.)
You can skip third party fees for more enhanced services (a favorite of ours is ManyChat) while testing out the functionality.
The native offering is basic, which is to be expected with the first iteration.
There is no conditional logic to make the engagement more enhanced and ultimately satisfy the user’s questions and needs on a deeper level. Here are examples of ManyChat Blueprints for online training and lead magnets from the learning course.
Along with basic contact info collection that the native leadgen templates in Facebook allow for, steps six and seven below show the delayed drip functionality that a program like ManyChat allows.
Third party platforms like ManyChat will most likely start diversifying across platforms in ways Facebook can’t yet. This is the nature of SaaS companies solving faster — after all, ManyChat has been around for a few years and Facebook is just now finally offering native Messenger Ads.
While there may be third party fees associated with external programs, there is already greater functionality. It will be difficult for ad buyers who have been building in programs like ManyChat to use a stripped-down version.
So, who wins the pro/con list?
If you have a basic comfort level running ads in Facebook Ads Manager, but haven’t dipped your toe in the water with Messenger Ads yet, this is a perfect opportunity to start testing them out.
If you’re already using enhanced third party software, you will most likely not want to switch to native Facebook Messenger leadgen.
I asked another favorite colleague and chatbot expert, Karen Saheyta, Founder of Brand Central Marketing and ManyChat specialist, what she thinks of the new feature:
This is a great opportunity for people to connect similar to lead ads but in a more personal way. Messenger leads allow you to further develop the relationship right away using the same medium, whereas with lead ads there can be more friction when you switch to a phone or email follow-up. BUT…this feature shouldn’t be instead of a more enhanced chatbot experience like ManyChat — just another tool.
Just as Facebook continues to evolve its ads offering, I’m sure this is just the first iteration of its native Messenger leadgen ads.
Read more: impactbnd.com