The world of digital marketing seems to change every single day. Often, as business owners, we are delighted by the new targeted advertising features made available to us with each social media channel update. However, as a consumer on the other side of that coin, we may find those very same advertising options annoying and sometimes, downright creepy.

When I learn of Facebook advancing yet another feature of their advertising platform, I jump for joy and stay up until the wee hours of the night exploring, plotting how it may benefit clients and pondering new workshops I can provide to advance the social media savvy of the small business owners I work with.

But this one, I’m not so sure about.

Facebook has been rolling out a new feature to facilitate advertising via Facebook Messenger that I’m not fully embracing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the ability to direct & private message a brand on the social channel they are most likely to respond promptly from, whether that be Facebook or Twitter. This action is MY choice.

But on the few occasions to date where a brand has directed ads to my Facebook Messenger inbox I felt a bit like Judge Judy over here.

Kind of like when those clipboard carrying “energy savers” come knocking on your door at 10am demanding to come into your house and read your ComEd bills.

There are two options for Facebook Messenger advertising that facilitate this.

Facebook Messenger as a Destination: It sounds a little like a virtual reality vacation but no, it simply means that a brand creates an ad that shows up in your newsfeed, and YOU decide if you want to click it, taking the conversation to Facebook Messenger. This is ok with me, because in this case, I still control the movement from public to private platform. Like if I ran into the clipboard holding “energy saver” on the sidewalk, decided they could benefit me and invited them in for some coffee as we review my ComEd bill together.
Facebook Messenger as Placement: In this scenario, the brand pays for Facebook to automatically place an ad in your private messenger inbox. To Facebook’s credit, they do limit this advertising option to those individuals who have private messaged the brand before. But, consider this:
When do you private message a brand? Is it to say “Wow, you guys are so fabulous I just wanted to send you this Facebook Message to let you know!”? No. If you’re that excited about them, you’d go to their Facebook Page and write them a great review.
More likely it is to say “You guys really screwed up, I’d like assistance and a refund asap. Please get in touch.” If this is the case, how responsive are you going to be to them just showing up at your door and expecting to come in because they want to advertise to you now?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! While social media is my profession, and I find great excitement in all the targeting options I can train clients on to maximize their dollar and their brand, there are some things I’m simply not a fan of. And this is why I love to hear varying perspectives! Do you feel like this type of advertising is invasive or innovative? And if your answer is different from a business owner perspective versus an individual, that’s okay too. Please comment with your thoughts…