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Facebook plays down Messenger expectations

News, 28 July 2017
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MENLO PARK, CA: Amid a flurry of impressive second-quarter figures – ad revenues up 47%, mobile ad revenues up 53% – Facebook played down the idea that its Messenger app is going to be monetized any time soon.

“We're going to be slow and deliberate,” said Sheryl Sandberg, the social network's chief operating officer, on an earnings call. “We are always looking at the long run.

“Messaging is really strategically important for the company and the long-term engagement with our users,” she added, “and the organic feel of the engagement with businesses and consumers is where we will be focused.

“So it's early days this year, and it's going to continue to be early days for a while.”

Facebook has started showing ads to a small number of people on Messenger, but it sees video as being the main driver of growth over the next few years “and Messenger maybe after that”, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who added “I think AR is quite far down the road”.

Echoing Sandberg, he stressed the need for “a good interaction both for people and for businesses” on Messenger.

“If you're a business and you have a higher ROI for interacting with a person in your messaging thread than you do on the mobile web or trying to get them to install an app, then that creates this positive feedback loop, where you're going to point your ads towards the Messenger thread,” he said.

“So we're currently working on making it so that that is the highest ROI thing. I think we're making progress there. We're getting some positive feedback from the market.

“But once we start to achieve that in more and more verticals, I think that's going to start unlocking a lot of behavior, and a lot of businesses are going to want to push more interactions to happen there, which I think will really be the foundation for building that into a big business.”

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by WARC staff

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