Your Mobile Ad Strategy: Harnessing the Power of Messaging Apps

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Kevin Ford

June 18th, 2019

About a third of the population in the world currently utilizes messaging apps. That’s why it’s critical that your mobile ad campaign includes these apps. We’ve put together a complete guide of how to advertise on the top messaging platforms so you can build revenue today.

Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat are changing the way we communicate and live. We use them to share news, shop, order take out, sign up for local events, check the weather, book appointments, organize events, purchase tickets and play games. The possibilities are endless.

As these messaging apps continue to grow in presence, marketers need to get on board and use them to their advantage. Knowing that you need to do something and actually doing it are two different things. How does someone start an ad campaign in the messaging apps if they don’t know where to start?

That’s precisely why we created this guide on how to use the most popular messaging apps for your ad campaigns.

Facebook Messenger (1.3 Billion Active Monthly Users)

Back in 2017, Facebook Messenger ads started making an appearance. Messenger ads work similarly to Facebook’s advertising, but there were several differences.

To start, Facebook Messenger’s ad format focus on creating conversations which lead to conversions. Messenger units aim to turn a message into action, such as offering a coupon which engages customers. The ads are placed in the feed or offered from Instagram and Facebook.

Advertisers looking to utilize Messenger would move forward the same way as advertising on Facebook. The only difference is that the tone would feel conversational so it fits Messenger’s advertising plan.

The other difference with Messenger is that chatbots can be pointed to in the feed. Since 2016, Chatbots engage with customers in Messenger. They can follow up with them and lead them in the right direction. This tool is optimal for handling customer questions and re-engaging consumers with customized responses.

The main benefit to advertising with Facebook Messenger is the incredible engagement rate. Facebook feed ads and e-mail marketing only produce up to a 10% open rate with a 1 to 2% click rate. In comparison, Facebook Messenger hits up to an 80% open rate plus 20% click rates. That makes it far more beneficial for your ad campaign and worth investing in.

If you want to set up your own Facebook Messenger ad, you will do this through the Facebook Ads Manager.

Snapchat (287 Million Active Monthly Users)

Snapchat ads are innovative and the possibilities are endless. If you desire creativity, you will appreciate the ways to market your app between lenses, top snaps, geofilters and more.

The most innovative way to market is through geofilters and sponsored lenses. These lenses act as filters where users get to add their photos or selfies. They’ve become quite popular with the younger generation. In fact, about a third of users play with these lenses daily.

A brand creates a lens that includes the company name and then younger people brand their selfies with the info. Once this goes viral, your name gets all over the platform with ease.

Snapchat also offers advertising in the magazine stories section. The benefit over Instagram is that these sections feature specific themes for audiences and publications. This allows advertisers to reach the particular audience desired.

Snapchat is also working its way to traditional mobile advertising in the future. The Audience Network it is building allows third parties to expand its reach even further. As time goes on, there will be more avenues for advertisers to tap into.

If you want to set up a Snapchat ad, you will go to the Snapchat Ads Manager.

WeChat (1.1 Billion Active Monthly Users)

You know that WeChat operates mainly within China, but it’s become a top communication tool worth mentioning. You can do far more with WeChat than with other messaging apps. It’s possible to pay bills, order a taxi and play games with your friends around the world. That’s why it’s a hot advertising opportunity if you want to reach the Chinese market.

There are two forms of advertising available. Banner ads and moments are similar to Facebook ads. The ad appears on the banner or timeline of WeChat for everyone to see.

Chinese companies simply log into the WeChat Official Accounts to apply for advertising rights. If you are a foreign company, you must submit your application to the advertising team. Sometimes, this takes a while, so plan your strategy in advance.

WhatsApp (1.5 Billion Active Monthly Users)

WhatsApp became the most popular worldwide messaging app. It was once ad-free, but not any longer. Finally, brands have the chance to market their products and services through the platform. Many users became worried that ads would begin showing up in private chats, but WhatsApp has bigger plans. The goal is to put the ads in the Status sections instead.

This works like Instagram Stories or Snapchat. The ad replaces the “away” message. While you might think this isn’t a good location at first, it’s essential to realize that 175 million users utilize the statuses. That’s a lot of opportunities.

We don’t have a lot of details regarding the ad options in WhatsApp yet, but we will have more information as it becomes available.

LINE (194 Million Active Monthly Users)

In Taiwan and Japan, LINE is the top choice for messaging. It’s a lot like WeChat and includes features such as games, manga, wallet, news and a timeline.

The timeline ads can be placed as images or videos which promote your apps, website and product.

To advertise on LINE, simply go to the LINE Ads Platform.

Instagram (1 Billion Active Monthly Users)

At first, Instagram wasn’t meant to be a messaging platform. Then, Facebook acquired it and changed the plan. Now, messaging has grown and more people choose to use it for communication.

On Instagram, there are photo, carousel, slideshow and video platforms. These are added to users’ timelines where ads can offer a call to action. Then, the user can get to a product page or website with ease.

Instagram Stories resemble Snapchat where users can share their own media. Then, other users respond with messages and reactions sent through the chat function. Brands can also share media and be a part of the action.

To create an Instagram ad, you must link your account with a Facebook page. Then, you set it up through Facebook Ads Manager.


The opportunity in messaging app advertising is endless. Users continue to move away from advertising in feeds to messaging apps. It provides an excellent way to engage with more consumers across the world.

This shift in dynamics will further change how you plan advertisements. You want ads that feature playful, conversational and vibrant media to gain the attention of a user. Traditional copy isn’t going to work on these platforms.

That means it’s time to create a new approach for your business. Take advantage of the targeted options available to you and get on board before your competition does.

Kevin Ford


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