Facebook is considering ways to make money from its popular Messenger app, possibly taking a cut in sales from click to call messages and ecommerce sales.
Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s head of ads and Pages, said business could drive commerce, bring in repeat customers, or offer discounts over Messenger.
He thinks many companies will turn to Facebook for help automating the process, using Facebook’s new artificial intelligence Messenger assistant dubbed ‘M’.
M already helps people do things like make restaurant reservations and order flowers. Down the line, it could automate communicationsand purchases between companies and Facebook users.
Another possibility is click-to-message ad features, which the company is testing out internally. If a Facebook user clicked on one of those ads, it would launch a private Messenger conversation with the business.
“We’re at the very early stages of businesses having direct relationships with customers through messaging,” Bosworth said. “If you think about consumers communicating to businesses through messaging, it’s not a big leap to go from that to a monetization strategy.”
Facebook would be taking a page from other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, Bosworth noted. In Spain, people routinely make restaurant reservations through the messaging service rather than picking up the phone.
Messenger has 700 million monthly active users and is one of the mobile apps that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has targeted to grow to 1 billion users.
Earlier this month, research firm ComScore reported that Messenger had surpassed Facebook’s Messenger app is now the second most popular app in the U.S. after Facebook, surpassing Google-owned YouTube for the first time.