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How to Use Facebook Messenger Ads [Facebook Messenger Marketing 101]

Written by Jacob Salem

This post is featured in our Facebook Messenger Marketing 101 series.

Facebook introduced Messenger ads in November 2016. They’ve taken off, and they offer all of us a way to engage with our current and potential clients in a whole new way.

It’s meeting customers where they are and how they are.

But how do you use Facebook Messenger ads? In some ways, it’s uncharted territory.

That’s part of what makes it so exciting!

Before you can use Facebook Messenger ads, you have to understand how they work. And that means understanding the two types of Messenger ad types.

Types of Facebook Messenger ads

There are two types of Facebook Messenger ads: destination ads and sponsored messages.

They each serve slightly different purposes and accomplish slightly different goals. You’ll want to explore them both to determine how you can best use them for your business.

You’ll also want to experiment, because there’s nothing like a good test to determine what works best for your business and your audience.

Destination Facebook Messenger ads

Destination ads open up in a message when you click on them from your newsfeed.

Click on this ad — for example, in your newsfeed, and it will open a message. If you’re mobile, it will open the Messenger app.

Destination ads allow you to target anyone, just as all Facebook ads do. You can be as specific as you want and set detailed parameters.

These are only available in the newsfeed on desktop and mobile. The ads appear in the newsfeed, and then Messenger is engaged once people click.

How to set up a destination ad:

  1. Open Ads Manager
  2. Use traffic or engagement type
  3. Set everything up as you normally would
  4. Edit placements and be sure that you’re only doing Facebook feed (be sure to uncheck Instagram, righthand column, audience network)
  5. Under Page and Links, select Messenger
  6. You’ll enter message text and that’s what people will see in Messenger after they click the ad
  7. Your objective will be send people to a destination/website on or off Facebook OR boost post engagement

And that’s it. You’re essentially telling Facebook that you want your ad to open in Messenger instead of in a new website URL.

Tips for destination Facebook Messenger ads

  • Give people a reason to chat: be relevant.

You’re beginning a conversation. Make sure you’re asking or commenting with something that’s engaging.

Good: Have questions about what you saw?

Bad: Buy our handy dandy widget right now!

  • Be available to chat.

It might seem obvious, but you have to be available to chat when you’re running these ads. If you’re not the one who’s going to be chatting, make sure the person/people knows about your product or service.

Ways to use destination Facebook Messenger ads

  • Customer service and retargeting

You can use Facebook Messenger destination ads as a way to engage with customers who don’t purchase.

For example, do they have a hurdle they face in purchasing? A decision that’s hard to make? A quesiton that they can’t get an answer to?

Here’s your chance to engage with them, to offer the solution they need to become customers instead of prospects.

Give people a platform to ask their questions and get past the doubts keeping them from buying.

Answer their questions, and they could be ready to buy!

  • Brand-new customers (i.e., cold calls)

You use Facebook Messenger destinations ads for people who have never heard of your business.

It’s important to make sure that your ad leads to the right kind of sales conversation.

You don’t want to ask about their favorite song if you’re in the hamburger business (unless you have a trick up your sleeve to sell hamburgers based on songs!).

Remember the “be relevant” tip above.

Open the conversation. Maybe you’re an equipment dealership, and it’s springtime. You could ask, in your ad, “What’s the hardest part of spring yard work?”



“Trimming the bushes and hedges!”

“Cleaning up the mess from winter!”

Use those as your entry point and tailor your conversation accordingly.

Sponsored message Facebook Messenger ads

Sponsored messages show up within Messenger, in the inbox. They show up as unread messages in your recipient’s Messenger inbox.

Instead of a Facebook message from Mom or their best friend, they’re getting one from you.

How to set up a sponsored message Facebook Messenger ad:

  1. Open Ads Manager
  2. Use traffic or engagement type
  3. Set everything up as you normally would
  4. Edit placements and select Messenger (that will turn off all the other options)
  5. Your objective can be sending people to a destination (on or off Facebook) or increasing conversion
  6. You can include one link and one photo in your message

GOOD NEWS: You can only send these to to people who have previously messaged your page in the past.

That means that people are very highly opted in once they are getting these messages.

You need to look at the people who subscribe to your Facebook page as an opportunity: this list is very valuable for your business!

You get charged for these ads anytime the sponsored message appears on a user’s screen: you pay for the impression whether or not they open the message.

This could, therefore, get very expensive if you’re not very intentional with your messaging.

Tips for sponsored message Facebook Messenger ads

  • Be conversational.

Though this might look like email at first, this is not email.

People aren’t using their Messenger inbox as email, and you shouldn’t either.

  • Keep in mind how people are using Messenger.

Did I mention this isn’t email? It bears repeating. Messenger isn’t email. Keep it chatty and relevant.

It has a bot ability, though you don’t have to use that. It helps you build your subscriber list, which is a custom audience that lives within Facebook.

It’s pretty inexpensive: $10/month no matter how many subscribers or how many broadcasts you set.

Other capabilities that it has: live chat, followup sequences, sending broadcasts.