According to a new report from TechCrunch, Facebook plans to introduce paid advertisements in Messenger within the next few months.
The report notes that Facebook has distributed a document to businesses indicating they will be able to message customers directly beginning in the second quarter of the year. Businesses will reportedly only be able to send messages to customers that have already initiated a conversation.
The move is consistent with Facebook’s move to make Messenger the primary way that customers interact with businesses for everything from shopping to customer support. The social networking giant told TechCrunch:
“Our aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type.”
The company is also aiming to increase the number of businesses that use Messenger as a customer service platform. The company is also rolling out a new short URL for businesses to use that, when clicked by a customer, opens up a new message to the business.
It’s unclear what form Messenger ads will take. The report speculates that businesses could use them to promote sales, introduce new products, and follow up with customers who considered buying something but didn’t follow through. Facebook will likely announce more details about Messenger ads at its F8 developer conference in April.