Facebook Messenger has new ways for brands to meet its 900 million users

Facebook is priming the pump for brands to go big on Messenger.

A week before Facebook is expected to announce ads in its messaging service, the social network is rolling out new ways for brands to get in front of the now 900 million people who use Messenger each month.

For starters, Messenger is adopting Twitter-like usernames to make it easier for people to find one another, or to find brands, on Messenger. To make things even easier, Messenger is introducing Snapchat-like image codes that people can take pictures of with their phones in order to immediately connect with a person or brand on Messenger. And brands seeking a more old-school approach or a desktop audience can now use unique links that point people directly to their Messenger profiles.

Brands will be able to get their hands on these Messenger Links by adding their Messenger username to the URL m.me/____, and they can put the specialized links anywhere: on a brand’s site, in a TV ad, on a billboard and so on.

Facebook Messenger is adding scannable codes and welcome notes to help brands connect with its 900 million monthly users.

Over the past year, Facebook has put a lot of effort into introducing brands to its Messenger audience. With Messenger for Business, it began letting retailers send order receipts and manage customer service requests through Messenger. That has expanded into people being able to do things like book an Uber ride or a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight by IMing the brands’ Messenger profiles. And Facebook has integrated Messenger into brands’ Pages so that people can click a link on the page to message the brand through Messenger.

It’s unclear how many people are using Messenger to get in touch with brands. It can be a weird transition to go from using Messenger to chat with friends and family to using Messenger to check an order status. To make things less weird, Facebook is going to let brands create customizable Greetings that will appear when someone first connects with a brand on Messenger. These “nice to meet you” notes can be used to give people a sense of why they would want to communicate with a brand on Messenger and how they can go about doing that.

About The Author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.