Facebook has launched a new advertising feature that takes users from their News Feed into Messenger, the company announced on Tuesday, as it continues to grow the relevance of its messaging app.
Companies will now be able to advertise in a user's News Feed and when a person clicks the ad, they will be taken to Messenger where they can communicate with the business.
This is a continuation of Facebook's Messenger strategy after it launched its so-called bot platform earlier this year. Bots are essentially automated agents within Messenger that can respond to users and are being used by businesses in areas from customer service to allowing people to buy items.
By now linking Messenger to the News Feed, Facebook is integrating two of its most prominent products and bringing a closer connection between the two apps.
"For businesses it's an unprecedented opportunity to use amazing targeting capabilities and reach of the Facebook News Feed," David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, told CNBC at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon.
"It is a big development that will enable developers to build new experiences that haven't been built yet."
Absolut Vodka is one brand using the new capability. It will show an ad for a free cocktail in the News Feed and when it's clicked on, users will be taken to Messenger. A "bot" bartender will let you pick a cocktail from a list, then tell you which bars are near you to redeem the free drink. Then the Absolut Messenger thread will notify you about getting a Lyft taxi home.
"Brands that never had a direct relationship with customers can have that conversation. For people they can have an easy way to interact for brands," Marcus said.
The advantage for brands is that they can use the targeted advertising available in the News Feed on Facebook and then drive people into a conversation on Messenger.
Facebook's announcement comes after the company announced on its recent earnings call that ad revenue growth will slow "meaningfully" in 2017 as it reaches maximum "ad load".
This means it will be difficult for Facebook to cram more ads into the News Feed. As such, it has looked at boosting advertising on other products such as Instagram and now Messenger.