As the number of Facebook Messenger users continues to creep towards a billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and crew are looking at ways to capitalize on their app in the form of ads. In the never ending quest to satisfy the stock market and your shareholders, Facebook is looking to drive its stock price up since it dipped below the $100 mark in January 2016. They may have been the victim of a shaky market with many investors selling off their stocks due to China’s stock market volatility but many feel as though they are poised to capitalize big time on their ad revenue potential through WhatsApp, Instagram and now Messenger.
Facebook recently reported that 78% of their revenue was generated from ads and they have barely scratched the surface. The potential to generate ad revenue by allowing businesses to produce ads to customers who have reached out to them could be a game changer, but they also have to be careful not to upset their loyal users by becoming too intrusive. So many times an idea as foolproof as this on the surface ends up turning out disastrous for a variety of reasons. Greed being the main culprit, they convince themselves it’ll be easy to capitalize on their position and boost their bottom line and everyone is happy. But it’s never that easy, especially in today’s economy. Users of the app may get fed up that Facebook is ending their ad-free messenger experience although they claim it will only be limited to businesses at first. However, if the transition goes smoothly and generates the type of revenues they are projecting, it’s only logical for them to further extend the ads to messages sent between friends. With a daily average of 45 billion messages sent between their Messenger app, WhatsApp & desktop messaging, you can bet Zuckerberg & Co. are salivating at the potential gold mine they’re sitting on. They must pick their spots wisely and make sure to gauge the reaction of their users before rolling the ad platform out across the board. I for one will be monitoring this closely and engaging with businesses a little more to see if the potential to spoon feed me a ringing endorsement of their brand makes them respond to my questions or concerns a little quicker than before.
How the ads will be presented is anyone’s guess until we actually start seeing them but I hope they take a look at other companies who have gone this route in the past. One major website that comes to mind is YouTube and how quickly I was turned off after having ads shoved down my throat every time I went to the site. When it first arrived on the scene in 2005 it was an absolute game changer as I was still in college and it was this insane concept that could keep you entertained for hours on end without commercial interruptions. To my knowledge, DVR had not yet been created at the time so you still had to sit through terrible, dated commercials. Depending on which television station you were watching, they could be long and brutal (I’m looking at you, MTV). It was painful to watch but you couldn’t turn to anything else except for a DVD until YouTube came along. Suddenly, I could watch legendary stand up comedy performances, footage from concerts that happened thirty years ago, clips from movies I used to watch on VHS, all for free without annoying ads. But they followed shortly after people began to realize the potential they had with this revolutionary site and how much money it could generate. I would love to see my activity on the site from its inception to when their ads started because I rarely am on the site nowadays. If I get sent a link and there is a 15 second ad, something sets me off and I exit out of it and won’t even watch the clip and lie to my friends about how hilarious the clip was.
Maybe I’m just tired of being beat down with constant advertisements on the one platform you used to be able to escape TV commercials from up until a few years ago, but I’m over advertisements. Unfortunately, stories such as this make me realize I need to get over my disdain towards ads on the internet or unplug completely. Here’s to Mr. Zuckerberg finding a tasteful, convenient way to incorporate ads into the Messenger app without me wanting to delete it every time I open it up.