Facebook Is Testing News Feed-Style Ads Inside Messenger

Facebook said last summer that it was running out of places to show users ads in News Feed, its moneymaking machine, meaning it would need to sell ads elsewhere to keep growing.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it has found a new place: Inside Messenger, its standalone messaging app.

Facebook will soon show some users News Feed-style carousel ads inside Messenger as part of a new test. The ad units, which will let users swipe through cards from five different advertisers, will only be live to a small number of users in Australia and Thailand, according to Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for Messenger.

The ads will appear "below the fold," meaning users will have to scroll, at least a little bit, to find them. Advertisers will be able to target users the same way they do on Facebook; that means they won't be able to target based on any information included in a user's private messages.

Facebook already offers one type of Messenger ad: Sponsored messages that a brand can send to a user once they've already exchanged messages.

But unlike sponsored messages, News Feed-style carousel ads are not "native" to messaging. That is, it's not the kind of ad format you're used to seeing inside your messaging inbox, which is usually a private place.

Chudnovsky says that Facebook is aware of that, and stressed on multiple occasions that this was just a test.

"We don't want to even risk [invading user privacy]," Chudnovsky said. "But until you try, you are never going to find out. That's why we are going to try on a very small scale and see how people react."

Chudnovsky added that the idea of ads in News Feed, and in Instagram's feed, also felt weird when Facebook first started testing them.

"Originally, people were also not very big believers in ads in News...

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