Ultimate Guide: Facebook Click-to-Messenger Ads 2021 [Updated]

10 min read
Messenger image

Table of Contents

What are the different types of Messenger ads?
How can you use Messenger ads in 2021?
Step 1: Define a campaign goal
Step 2: Create a flow to support this goal
Step 3: Set up the Click-to-Messenger ad campaign
Step 4: Create the ad and link to your flow
Click-to-Messenger ads - Conclusion

Last updated 01-03-2021

In 2020, Click-to-Messenger ads were one of the fastest-growing Facebook ad formats. In this complete and actionable guide, we’ll show you why, and how, you can become a master at using them for your chat marketing campaigns in 2021.

Are your Facebook ads not performing? By the end of this guide, you'll have learned how to run Click-to-Messenger ads that perform and convert. And how they can get you warm leads as cheaply as (in our case) €1.59 per lead, so stay tuned!

But first, let's take a look at...

What are the different types of Messenger ads?

Basically, there are three ways to advertise on the Facebook platform using Messenger:

  • Run ads that show up in the Messenger inbox or Messenger stories
  • Sponsored messages
  • Run ads that start a conversation in Messenger (Click-to-Messenger ads)

The first type of messages show up as a sponsored conversation in the Messenger inbox or in between Messenger stories.

Sponsored messages are direct messages you can send to people who've had a conversation with your business before.

Click-to-Messenger ads use a CTA (call to action) that starts a Messenger conversation with your business. This is the ad format we'll be discussing in this article.

Types-of-Messenger-Ads
Source: Falcon.io

Pro-tip: it's now also possible to set up ads that start Instagram Direct and even WhatsApp conversations, as well. Read more in our blog posts on Click to Instagram Direct Ads and Click-to-WhatsApp Ads.

How can you use Messenger ads in 2021?

Increasingly, businesses are using Messenger, for a variety of goals - after all, customers who engage in a conversation with a brand are nearly three times as likely to complete a purchase.

Most businesses use Messenger to:

  • Connect and converse with their audiences
  • Streamline their customer journeys
  • Generate and qualify leads

To achieve this, you first need to guide people to your Messenger inbox. The Click-to-Messenger ad format lets you drive traffic directly into Messenger.

This ad type can be placed across all of Facebook’s family of apps and services.

Some possible placements include:

  • Instagram news feed
  • Facebook news feed
  • Instagram stories
  • Facebook stories
  • Messenger stories

If you already advertise your business on Facebook, you’re probably aware of how well Facebook’s ads manager lets you reach your target audience.

Setting up lookalike or custom audiences allows you to hypertarget your Facebook ads, for instance.

Using Click-to-Messenger ads with customized flows allows you to maximize click through and conversion rates, as well. Not to mention considerably boosting your return on ad spend (ROAS)!  

Click-to-Messenger-ad-example
Example: Click-to-Messenger ad in action

Today, we’ll be running you through some best practices on how to use your Facebook bot to set up a Click-to-Messenger campaign that converts.

We’ll also show you an example on how ShopPop uses Click-to-Messenger to generate leads.

Step 1: Define a campaign goal

Whether you’re trying to build brand awareness, generate leads, sell products, or expand your email marketing list, start off your campaign by defining a clear goal. This will help you plan your campaign and track results more easily.

Build brand awareness
If your goal is building brand awareness, create a unique, conversational Messenger experience, using quick replies to guide users through your flow. Get creative and set up something that will really amaze your audience.

Generate leads
If you’re looking to generate leads, make sure you add an email address capture component to your flow. Not only will this help you grow your email list, you can also use these email addresses to create custom and lookalike audiences for your next ad campaigns.

Sell products or increase web traffic
Looking to sell more products or drive traffic to one of your landing pages? Make sure you use strong calls to action in your flow to optimize the amount of user clicks you get.

In general, you want your chat marketing campaigns to follow these three steps:

3-Step-Messaging-Strategy-Visual
A 3-step messaging strategy visualized

Step 2: Create a flow to support this goal

Our use case
At ShopPop, we wanted to drive traffic to our main website and get people to create an account.

We could have set up a Facebook ad linking directly to our website. But we have a lot of first-hand experience with chat marketing, how it can be used to get people to act, what works, and what doesn’t.

We decided to create a flow that showcases the power of chat marketing by drawing attention to what it was doing.

It got pretty ‘meta’ - basically it became an ad talking about being effective as an ad in the 1st person. But it's been very effective so far.

Click-to-Messenger-ad-I-AM-POP
An ad talking about how well it's doing

In its first 24 hours, this campaign saw a 30% CTR, with a whopping 66% of people that clicked converting to users by logging in to ShopPop and creating an account - a conversion rate of 20%.

This conversion rate averaged at about 16% for the entire campaign, since it took some time for Facebook’s advertising algorithm to build up steam and optimize the target audience for engagement. Design your ad sets well, and you’ll see your ads’ relevance scores improve over time!

If you’re in need of inspiration as to what flows you could use to support your campaign goals, make sure to check out our recently revamped and continuously updated Templates gallery.

If you’d rather start building from scratch, here’s the complete guide to our Chat-editor.

Need help creating the perfect flow for your campaign goal? Get in touch with our Customer Success team for some one-on-one strategic advice. Just send an email to hello@shoppop.com.

Step 3: Set up the Click-to-Messenger ad campaign

Go to Facebook’s ads manager, create a new campaign and select the ‘Messages’ objective to get started.

Selecting-the-Messages-objective-Facebook-Ads-Manager
Selecting the Messages objective in the Facrebook Ads Manager

After having  chosen special categories, A/B test settings and campaign budget optimization, you can start creating the actual ad.

Make sure you select the Click-to-Messenger ad type - the other option here is Sponsored Message.

It's also possible to create Click-to-Instagram Direct ads by choosing Instagram Direct as the message destination. This destination allows you to start conversations on Instagram Direct. At the moment, this doesn't allow for any automation just yet.

Next, choose your budget, schedule and target audience. In case you’re still a Facebook ads beginner, we suggest you check out this great guide to Facebook Ad Targeting Optimization.

Select-Click-to-Messenger-ad-type
Selecting the Click-to-Messenger ad type

The next step is selecting the ad’s placements, i.e. where the ad will be shown. You can check the Instagram feed and Instagram stories checkboxes, for instance, to have the ad displayed on those platforms as well.

Selecting-your-Click-to-Messenger-ad-placements
Selecting your Click-to-Messenger ad placements

This entails that people who view your ad in their Instagram stories can swipe up and will be sent to the Messenger app, directly.

Finally, select the ad’s budget and schedule, and you’re ready to start creating the actual ad.


Hey there 👋
Interested in more content like this? Sign up for our Monthly Messages newsletter.
Join our mailing list

Start creating your ad by choosing the correct Facebook page and Instagram account. Choose the ad format (carousel, single image/video), upload your visual assets and fill out the ad’s primary text, headline, and description copy.

Make sure you select a strong CTA that ties into your ad campaign. We suggest using the ‘Send message’ CTA by default, so people understand they will be interacting with you on Messenger.

Choosing-a-Call-to-Action-for-your-ad
Selecting a CTA for your ad

Next up, we’re going to link the ad to your custom flow. In the ‘Message template’ section, go to the ‘Create new’ tab, select ‘Start conversations’ and click ‘Edit’.

Here, you can set up the first message people are sent when entering the Messenger channel and add buttons/Quick Replies for these people to click or tap.

You will need to choose the ‘Button’ option as a customer action to connect the ad to your custom ShopPop flow. Give the button some text as a CTA, then switch the ‘Action’ dropdown menu from open a website to send a postback.

This way, when people click or tap the button it will trigger your flow.

Selecting-a-button-as-suggested-customer-action-and-connecting-your-bot
How to connect your bot to a Quick Reply

You can add more buttons, too, of course, and have each one link to a different custom flow.

Note that the ads manager is rather basic, and you won’t be able to catch all responses, like you can with ShopPop’s Chat Editor.

This means that, if people start typing messages instead of tapping the button button, your flows will not trigger.

Make sure you bear this in mind while drafting the copy of the initial message. Consider using this first message to draw attention to the buttons below.

Next, we’re going to need to connect the button to a custom flow by copying the flow’s unique payload.

Simply open the flow you want to trigger with the button in your ShopPop dashboard, and click on the ‘More options’ menu at the top right of the Chat Editor.

Get-payload-option-in-chat-editor
Where to get a flow's payload

This opens a pop up with the Flow’s payload.

A-flows-unique-payload
Copy the flow's unique payload

Alternatively, you can get a flow's payload directly from the 'My Campaigns' section of your dashboard. Find the flow you want to connect to your Click-to-Messenger ad, and click the 'Share' button.

Getting-a-payload-from-the-My-Campaigns-section
Select 'Get payload' from the dropdown menu

Copy this into the ‘Bot payload’ box in the Ads Manager and click Finish to finalize the process. Your Click-to-Messenger ad is now good to go!

Make sure you Preview it in Messenger to check the entire user experience and streamline it so it supports your campaign goal.

Click-to-Messenger ads - Conclusion

But first: if you like this article, show us some ❤️ and tweet about it by clicking here 👈

If your business already uses Facebook and its ads to generate leads, but you aren’t using the Click-to-Messenger ad type yet, you are missing out on some amazing opportunities.

It’s an insanely powerful conversion tool, when used correctly. For a normal Facebook traffic click ad campaign, you can expect around €3 to €5 cost per click. Our Click-to-Messenger ad has only been costing us around €1.59 per opened Messenger conversation.

Click-to-Messenger-ad-statistics
Our Click-to-Messenger ad statistics

Out of the 100 above Messenger conversations, around 16% will convert to ShopPop users.

That’s a CPA of less than €10.

In 2019, the average customer acquisition cost for paid search across industries is $49.86 (€45) - so we’re doing pretty well here.

Considering that, for software products, this cost lies at $395 (€358) we’re betting all our money on the ROI that Click-to-Messenger ads offer.

Regardless of conversion rates, using the Click-to-Messenger ad format to generate leads is just as powerful. Simply add an email collection component to your flow to build your email list of warm leads.

Retarget these leads through your regular email marketing campaigns, or use them to create custom or lookalike audiences, to optimize your next Click-to-Messenger ad campaign!

To really optimize the efficiency of the ad, try running a Comment-to-Messenger campaign over it, at the same time. This doubles the entry points into Messenger, and adds another incentive for Facebook users to engage with the post.

As the current shift towards private messaging continues, Facebook Messenger ads should be an integral part of any Facebook ad campaign strategy.

Click to WhatsApp and Instagram ads

Although the possibilities are still very limited when it comes to automation, you can also use WhatsApp and Instagram to start conversations with your audience.

We suggest you read up on how to use ads for WhatsApp marketing. And if you're in need of inspiration, check out these 10 examples of using Click to Instagram Direct ads.

As Facebook is moving towards interoperability between WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, we expect to see the same advanced possibilities Messenger has to offer become available on the other two platforms as well. So stay tuned!

If you have any questions on how to get started, or need help strategizing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, as we’re happy to advise!

If you liked this article, show us some ❤️ and tweet about it by clicking here 👈

P.s. If you sell on Shopify, try ShopPop's All-in-One Chat Marketing integration for your store to boost sales with abandoned cart messages and more.


Hey there!👋
Set up your first Click-to-Messenger ad campaign
Get started

Or why don't you connect to ShopPop directly through Messenger at https://m.me/shoppophq


Jonas van de Poel

Jonas van de Poel

Content Writer for ShopPop. Polyglot and wordsmith armed with fountain pen and ergonomic keyboard. Loves copywriting, marketing, and wearing shades at night.