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Messenger Marketing: The Definitive Guide

Social Media

02 Sep 2021 • 6 min read •

The Loomly Team

Are you using Facebook Messenger in your marketing?

Messenger marketing is one of the most effective strategies available to marketers today.

Latest figures show there are more active users on messaging platforms than some traditional social media channels:

messenger marketing most popular social networks ranked by number of users 2021

It’s just one of the reasons why brands are using messenger marketing to reach new prospects, boost lead generation, increase conversions, offer support, and engage with customers at lower costs.

In this guide, you’ll discover:

  • Why your brand should embrace Messenger.
  • What makes Messenger unique.
  • 3 brands who have used Messenger successfully.
  • 8 ways to harness the power of Messenger for your brand.

Let’s start!

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Why Your Brand Should Care about Messenger

Facebook Messenger, commonly known as Messenger, is a free instant messaging platform that lets users exchange photos, videos, audio, files, start group chats, interact with bots, participate in free voice and video calls, and more.

Messenger originally launched as Facebook Chat back in 2008 but was relaunched in 2010 as a standalone application for iOS and Android devices.

Let’s take a look at some figures behind its phenomenal success.

Download stats

Global downloads of Facebook Messenger averaged around 777 million between 2015 and 2017. In 2018, downloads reached a peak of 804.55 million before decreasing the following year. In 2020, the annual number of Facebook Messenger downloads plummeted to 522.88 million worldwide:

messenger guide annual downloads of facebook messenger

Usage stats

Despite the decrease in downloads, as of July 2021, Facebook Messenger was the second most popular instant messaging app worldwide, behind WhatsApp (another Facebook-owned messenger platform):

messenger marketing most popular global mobile messaging apps 2021

However, Facebook Messenger is the most popular chat app in the US:

messenger marketing most popular chat apps usa

In the UK, the number of Messenger users rose steeply from March 2020 onwards (at the beginning of the pandemic), reaching nearly 35.62 million users by July 2021:

messenger marketing united kingdom messenger users 2018-2021


As of July 2021, 55.9% of Facebook Messenger users in the US were women, and 44.1% were men. Of those users, 23.9% were aged 25 to 34:

messenger marketing facebook messenger user share in the united states 2021 by age group

There was a similar split in the UK where 54.6% were female, and 45.4% were male. Plus, the 25-34 age group was the most popular again.

messenger marketing united kingdom messenger users 2021 by age and gender

Based on these facts and figures, you can see why your brand should care about Facebook Messenger.

What Makes Messenger Unique?

Messenger marketing allows brands to use Facebook Messenger as a conversational marketing channel to reach individuals with targeted messages. Once users have subscribed, a brand can use text, images, videos, and live chat to send marketing messages.

But what else makes it unique? Here are a few observations.

Interoperability with other Facebook-owned platforms:

If you’re using Messenger, you can talk with people on Instagram without needing to switch apps. And the same functionality is also coming to WhatsApp soon.

messenger marketing interopability instagram

Messenger marketing vs email marketing:

Although messenger marketing is similar to email marketing, there are several differences:

  • Messenger marketing is conversational, interactive, and instantaneous.
  • Email marketing is more detached, impersonal, and delayed.

Open rates:

According to Larry Kim, messenger marketing crushes email when it comes to engagement. While email marketing typically generates 5-10% open rates, messenger marketing open rates can skyrocket to 70-80% in the first hour.

messenger marketing open rates

Credit: Digital Marketing Institute

Fellow marketing guru Neil Patel reckons open rates can reach 88% with a CTR of 56%. And Viral Loops experienced open rates of up to 90% and an average CTR of 20% using messenger bots.

messenger marketing bot open rate


One of the key differentiators for messenger marketing is the use of chatbots. While most brands have a contact button for Facebook Messenger, many don’t have a chatbot connected that can reply instantly.

Although chatbots aren’t unique to Messenger, they do add an extra dimension as they can:

  • Simulate conversations
  • Ask questions
  • Gather feedback
  • Segment users
  • Schedule appointments
  • Make reservations
  • Purchase items
  • Track order status
  • Provide feedback
  • Provide 24/7 customer service
  • Offer downloadable resources
  • Drive traffic to landing pages
  • Connect users with real people


There are two types of Facebook Messenger Ads:

  1. Click-to-Message Ads have the objective of getting users to send you a private message. For example, a customer might be interested in an ad for your brand, so they can click on the ad to open a conversation directly with you in Messenger.
  2. Sponsored Message Placement Ads show up as a Sponsored Message in a user’s messenger feed. You can use them to nurture existing relationships by sending relevant offers, updates, and other promotional content.


Facebook is rolling out Facebook Pay in selected countries. You can use the payment system to send and receive money across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

3 Examples of Successful Brands on Messenger

Here are three brands that have had great success using Messenger.

1. Air France – Accelerating customer care with Messenger

French airline, Air France, used an automated experience on Messenger to increase customer support and satisfaction and reduce the time it took to resolve inquiries.

Messenger was already Air France’s number one social channel, handling nearly 82% of its customers’ social requests. But to help its 220 social media advisors focus on more personal and complex cases, Air France wanted to automate Messenger.

So they brought “Louis” (their virtual assistant) on board to handle all types of inquiries, redirecting guests to other, more specific skills including the Booking, Check-in, Rebooking, Flying Blue, and Crises.

messenger marketing air france case study

To maintain its brand voice, Air France improved Louis’ tone of voice and added six languages, which all feel conversational and relaxed. Customers always have the option to switch to a human service agent at any time. But overall, Messenger now takes care of more than 18% of all requests automatically without human interaction.

The results:

  • 18% of all care requests are completely handled by Messenger.
  • 15-point increase in Net Promoter Score.
  • 50% decrease in resolution time on Flying Blue care-related topics.

2. Happy Socks – Staying one step ahead and boosting sales with Messenger

Swedish sock retailer Happy Socks sells its festive socks in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Happy Socks created a choose-your-own experience in Messenger using a custom bot paired with a Messenger ad campaign.

“Happy” – the gift bot – asked customers three questions to help them choose the perfect pair of socks from over 300 styles to give as gifts during Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

messenger marketing happy socks case study

Happy Socks also ran link ads and video ads on Facebook and Instagram to drive even more people to the Messenger experience.

The results:

  • 39X return on ad spend for the Christmas campaign.
  • 3X return on ad spend for the Valentine’s Day campaign.

3. Haven Life – Selling life insurance in the digital age with Messenger

Digital life insurance agency, Haven Life, used custom bots for Messenger to acquire more leads and increase customer engagement.

A Messenger-based automated service allowed customers to find out about their term life insurance coverage options and get a quote directly on the platform.

messenger marketing haven life case study

Haven Life also created a lookalike audience based on its current customers within Ads Manager to ensure the ads would reach people most likely to interact with the bot.

The agency monitored responses in Messenger to see what worked best and then adjusted its bot to drive better results.

The results:

  • 12% more people completed the quote questionnaire on Messenger, compared to the website’s quote tool.
  • 23% lower cost per lead, compared to ads on other digital platforms.

8 Ways to Harness the Power of Messenger for Your Brand

Here are eight ways you can use Messenger for your brand.

Improve customer service

As we’ve seen in the Air France example above, you can use Messenger to improve customer service. You can also choose whether to use bots, humans, or both to provide the best service levels to your customers.

People prefer to contact brands through social messaging because it’s quick. And, according to Facebook, being able to message a business helps people feel more confident about the brand.

Reach more people with advertising

Again, from the examples above of Happy Socks and Haven Life, you can see it’s possible to achieve more success when you use ads with Messenger.

Ads that click to Messenger can be shown on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, and send people that click on your ads directly to Messenger. They’re ideal for attracting new customers.

messenger marketing improve customer service

Sponsored messages let you send offers, promotions, and updates directly to the people you’ve already connected with on Messenger. They’re perfect for reengaging prospects and customers.

messenger marketing sponsored ads

Generate more leads for less

Messenger is a proven platform for generating high-quality leads. Many brands find they get better leads and save money. For example:

  • Haven Life reduced costs by 23% per lead, compared to ads on other digital platforms.
  • Uber Eats UAE generated 6x more first orders that cost 80% less using click-to-Messenger ads than link ads to its app.

Deliver event reminders

Messenger is a great way to remind people about a live event you are hosting, like a webinar or Facebook Live.

Andrew Warner, the host of the Mixergy podcast, found that reminders for a live webinar sent via email only got a 42% open rate. But reminders sent via a Messenger bot resulted in an almost double 82% open rate.

messenger marketing email vs chat open rates

Source: Social Media Examiner

Moreover, more than double the number of people who clicked through via a bot reminder attended the event.

Engage event attendees

Staying with events, you can also use Messenger to engage attendees during and after an event.

For instance, HubSpot sent updates to attendees of its “Four Days of Facebook” event, reminding them of the day’s key moments and providing a link to an online recording to watch the session again.

Help your audience find relevant content

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to find specific content on your website. But using a Messenger bot, you can direct people to the right place.

For example, Food Network uses a Facebook Messenger bot to help customers find recipes:

messenger marketing relevant content food network

Deliver your content

You can also use Messenger to deliver your content. Here’s one of Larry Kim’s chat blasts, which he sent to his Messenger contacts:

messenger marketing larry kim deliver content

Following the message, he shared a drip sequence with opted-in contacts over the next few days.

Enhance your brand experience

Since Facebook introduced AR camera effects to Messenger, you can also enhance the customer experience. AR camera effects can help drive awareness, consideration, or purchases for your brand. And customers can try before they buy without ever having to set foot in your store.

messenger marketing AR experience

Messenger Marketing in a Nutshell

You can’t afford to ignore Messenger marketing as more people crave instant and personal interactions. You can use bots, humans, or a combination of both to make your messenger marketing successful.

Explore the unique features of Messenger so that your brand can:

  • Improve customer service
  • Reach more people through advertising
  • Generate high-quality leads
  • Deliver event reminders
  • Engage event attendees
  • Help your audience find relevant content
  • Deliver your content for increased open rates
  • Enhance your brand experience
Loomly is the Brand Success Platform that helps your marketing team collaborate — including on Messenger, thanks to Loomly Interactions: start your 15-day free trial now.
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