In this opinion piece, Dan Murphy’s social coordinator Timothy Harrison (pictured below) explores the rise of advertising on Facebook Messenger and Instagram Stories.
Every sixth post you see in your Facebook News Feed is a paid ad, and everything in between is your family, friends and organic content based on your interests. So, it’s harder than ever before to cut through to any audience on Facebook. Brands literally have seconds to capture users’ attention on Facebook.
Facebook has recently bolstered its efforts in growing Messenger and Instagram this year. The past six months we’ve seen the rise of new messenger ad placements, DIY bots, Instagram Stories and updated Instagram advertising objectives. It seems Facebook is starting to spread its wings and shift away from Facebook’s overcrowded News Feed.
The adoption of Messenger
There has been a 20 per cent growth from 2015 to 2016 in Australians using Messenger. The growth rate is expected to rise, so it’s a great time for brands to start testing the platform at the same time as users start to interact with the new features.
Messenger Ads is a good start to test the waters, but will need to be monitored closely, as it’s still new to users. It will be interesting to hear what Facebook has to say about the performance of Messenger ads over the next couple of months.
A better feature is the integration of bots – one of the biggest buzzwords of 2017. It’s content-driven and has huge potential. It has picked up positive traction with popular bots like Pancho, Hello Jarvis and ABC News. You can use them for entertainment, acquiring user information and sales. You don’t always need an always-on approach either, and they can be used at a campaign level. Best of all, there are off-the-shelf options and plenty of support out there now to build one.
But as Messenger bots evolve, so will the complexity of how it interacts with users and the ability to connect it to the rest of a brand’s ecosystem.
The Instagram v Snapchat battle continues
Instagram Stories turned one earlier in August, recording more than 250 million daily users – surpassing Snapchat’s 166 million daily users. An average of 32 minutes per day is spent by those under the age of 25 on Instagram, and 25 minutes per day for those 25 and older. Instagram has also been growing its share of Facebook’s total ad revenue since 2015. If this is anything to go by, this will likely increase, as more advertisers flock more and more into the platform.
Brands like Red Bull and Airbnb have been creating powerful bespoke content with their Instagram Stories ads. Their content is created specifically for the platform – vertical, short and attention-grabbing, which is what it’s all about.
The platform will likely be Facebook’s next big cash cow, as they implement a wider range of advertising objectives, more formats and a better connection into Facebook. It has so much room to grow for advertisers, where it only has less than a third of Facebook’s monthly active advertisers.
What lies for 2018 and beyond?
This year has seen two billion active users on Facebook and a wealth of new advertising features. There’s no shortfall on users and potential reach. Next year will likely see far more hyper-personalised content thanks to AI and a wider range of optimised advertising options.
One thing we must keep in mind is that despite all these shiny new things, it doesn’t mean you have to try it. Be where you’re most relevant and ensure you have a purpose.