Continuing SMB Outreach, Facebook To Develop Click To Message Ads

The new units are aimed at helping businesses converse more easily with their customers — and boost sales in turn.

Facebook is developing “click to message ads” that will enable consumers to seamlessly initiate a conversation with businesses with a single click, Facebook ad chief Andrew Bosworth announced Tuesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference.

The move is part of the social media giant’s increasing SMB offerings, and the goal is to facilitate simpler — and more direct — consumer interactions featuring a “call to action” that provides a direct lead to in-store purchase. TechCrunch first reported the news.


Facebook boasts over 40 million small business users, and catering to their interests — prioritizing real-time connections and in-store visits over long term branding, staying mindful of smaller marketing budgets — is important to its ad mission.

“Small businesses are really important to Facebook,” Dan Levy, Facebook’s director, Small Business told GeoMarketing last year. “We have a whole team around the world dedicated to helping them.” He added that the company had revamped its custom audience ad-targeting options, adding multi-product ads that would allow advertisers to showcase up to three products within a single ad unit — and provide more bang for the small business’ buck. “Click to message” ads seem to fit naturally within this broader strategy.

Facebook again upped its commitment to SMB outreach this spring, hitting the road for an SMB series roadshow dubbed “Facebook Fit: Bootcamps.” The program included half-day and 2-hour pop-up events, each focused on bringing small businesses together to share various best practices, hear about Facebook’s latest marketing strategies and tools, and to work on developing a media strategy with Facebook’s Place Pages at the center.

Bosworth noted in his talk that messaging via Pages has doubled year-over-year-over year, and some companies have told Facebook that it is now the primary place for them to receive customer service requests. In processing this information, the inspiration for click to message was born.

The forthcoming addition of these ads also speaks to the importance of mobile messaging. As consumers rely on it to plan almost every facet of their lives — Bosworth discussed the growing trend in Spain of using messaging app WhatsApp even to make restaurant reservations — there’s a significant opportunity for SMBs and enterprises alike to take advantage of the personalized quality of direct messaging.

“There is a large opportunity for those in the messaging space, especially when it comes to simplifying mobile commerce,” Bosworth said. “[That’s what we’re getting at] with the click to message ads.”

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.