Facebook begins showing sponsored posts in Messenger with small test in Australia and Thailand

After testing the ability for brands to communicate directly with users, Facebook today announced its next step in monetizing its Messenger platform. In a post on the Messenger blog, Facebook product manager Eddie Zhang announced that the company is launching a “very small test” of ads in Messenger, beginning in Australia and Thailand.

This week we are launching a very small test in Australia and Thailand that gives businesses the opportunity to place ads on the Messenger home screen. This means that a business is able to place an ad in an area of Messenger below your recent conversations.

Zhang explains that with this functionality, businesses will be able to place an ad in Messenger below your recent conversations. Essentially the ad will be in the same spot as where Facebook currently reminds you of birthdays and active users.

The ads fall under a new “Sponsored” tab and scroll left to right. The ad shown in Facebook’s example, for instance, features a header image, title, and brief description of the company with a “Learn More” link to see additional details.

Facebook is quick note, however, that users won’t see an ad directly in a conversation unless they click on an “ad experience” or start a conversation with a brand:

No one will see an ad in a conversation without clicking on an ad experience on the Messenger home screen or starting a conversation with a brand – these test ads won’t originate in your conversations.

The purpose of the rollout, Facebook says, is to allow business to build brand awareness and increase customer satisfaction. The company says, however, that users will be able to hide/report specific ads, while advertisers will be able to more easily surface products and services to current and potential customers.

Facebook’s decision to allow companies to pay to send advertisements to users via Messenger was met with mixed reactions from consumers. Facebook was very explicit that a user would only receive brand messages if they had previously communicated with that company, which helped ease the feature of some users.

It’s unclear as to when, or if, these sponsored posts will come to other countries. What do you think of Facebook monetizing Messenger? Let us know down in the comments.

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