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Improving click-through rates from ads continues to be a real struggle for marketers.

Two types of Facebook ads, click-to-messenger ads and sponsored messages, aim to resolve that struggle. Both ad formats are conversational — geared at providing better customer engagement through content that is relevant to a specific customer's need. The ads take advantage of Facebook Messenger's rich messaging solution and can be a catalyst for chatbot interactions. Most important to marketers, the end result is often improved user engagement, which leads to improved click-through rates on associated media, and improved campaign ROI.

Let’s look at both ad types to understand how they work.

Facebook's Click-to-Messenger Ads and Sponsored Messages

Click-to-Messenger ads give marketers an entry point to connect with potential customers who follow your brand's Facebook page. The Click-to-Messenger Facebook ad can automate recurring questions or initiate questions to drive customer engagement with a chatbot.  

Click-to-Messenger ads have a particular benefit for driving user interests to other media such as email sign ups or video platforms. That means click-to-messenger ads improve campaigns for product finders, customer satisfaction forms, and newsletter sign ups, as well as incentives for sales. 

The second ad type, Sponsored Messages, is meant to nudge consumers with a reminder message. The messages are sent only to people who have already connected to your page on Messenger. Moreover, the messages can be sent to subgroups within your messenger audience, filtered according to questions asked or actions taken. 

To activate the ads, marketers use the Facebook Ad Manager. Once there, they can create ad as they would for any Facebook Ad, then select Messages in the Consideration column of the Marketing Objective Table (as seen below). 

Facebook ads: choosing between click to message and sponsored message ads

Under Messages, marketers create a campaign name, click continue, which reveals a Message Destination and audience selector. Under Message Destination a drop down menu displays both the Click-to-Messenger ads and Sponsored Messages as options. You can then define your audience according to the campaign.

facebook conversational ads, creating a message

Related Article: A New Facebook Ad Metric Matches Spend to Cross-Channel Experiences

Driving Relevancy By Prompting People to Take the First Step

With both of these formats, Facebook is looking to improve the relevancy of ad campaigns. (I explained that factor — called Engagement Rate Ranking — and others in an earlier post.) Message relevancy is a key driver of increasing click-through rates for any campaign.

How a message is received depends on the context: is it being pushed at an individual level, a household level or neighborhood? Confusion can enter here between message intent and who received the message — in short did the message really reach an individual or just a household, where more than one person could see it? Multiple people seeing an ad increases the likelihood of a message landing flat, because it lacks relevance to the person who viewed it. 

Conversational ads can cut through that confusion. Messenger provides a direct channel to an individual, one that is less cluttered than the newsfeed. So a response to a call to action in a conversational ad has more meaningful value because it is an individual response to a specific message.   

We've all heard the story of the Target ad outing a daughter's pregnancy to her father because the ads targeted the entire household, rather than just the daughter. Conversational ads are meant to prevent exactly this kind of disaster.

But to get to that first valuable click, marketers must develop ad messaging and supporting materials that provides personalized attention. Examining options like Facebook conversational ads is only the first step.

Related Article: 8 Things Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook's News Feed Changes