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AdminJan 4, 2018 2:01:00 AM3 min read

Facebook Messenger Advertising - What is it & How to use it


How can Universities and Colleges use Facebook Messenger advertising?

Facebook recently launched a new advertising product in their messenger app which presents a massive opportunity for Universities and Colleges to interact with prospective students like never before. We sat down with Caleb Clark, Managing Partner of Online Presentz, and a resident Facebook advertising professional to find out more about how Uni’s and Colleges can harness the power of Facebook Messenger advertising.


Q.   What is Facebook messenger advertising, and how does it work?

A.    Basically, instead of a Facebook ad routing the viewer to a web page or to a Facebook page, once the viewer clicks on the ad the viewer will have a Facebook Messenger window pop up automatically and be able to speak directly with someone from that organization. It will look exactly the same as the Facebook messenger experience we all use regularly.

There are two types of Messenger advertising; destination and placement. Destination is used when the viewer has never engaged in a conversation with the brand’s Facebook page in messenger before, and the ads show up in the viewer’s newsfeed much like regular Facebook ads. The easiest way to think of Placement advertising is that it’s similar to re-targeting. Placement ads are served to viewers that have previously messaged the Brand via Facebook messenger. Placement ads are displayed directly in the viewer’s inbox, appearing exactly like a normal Facebook message from the viewer’s friends.


Q.   What should a University/College have in place to best use Messenger Advertising?

A.    Really there’s two things. Most importantly, they will need a dedicated active community manager to field all the questions/comments from people that end up Messaging their school. This is absolutely crucial, whether they decide to have it be an in house person or managed by an outsourced agency. Secondly, they will definitely need a good process in place for when to hand off the prospective student and to whom (assuming the institution uses an agency for support). If there’s no definitive process in place, recruiters will be scrambling trying to figure out who to hand off the prospects to and it will result in a really bad experience for the student.

Something else available that can save Universities and Colleges a ton of time is buying a bot solution that can send out the first couple of messages automatically to the students. There are some really good third party bots available and for not all that expensive.

Prior to having these two things in place, it is even more crucial to decide if the school wants to have 1on1 conversations with prospective students, and if they even have the bandwidth to handle it. If the University or College genuinely does, this could be a fantastic tool for them to genuinely engage with prospects on a one-to-one level and have a serious leg up on competitors.


Q.   How can a University or College leverage this, and where should it fit in their funnel? Will it be for awareness, engagement, or conversion?

A.    If done correctly, this could be awareness, engagement, and conversion all at once. Although, it is probably a stronger tool for engagement and conversion. We would really recommend running separate campaigns for engagement and conversion. Destination campaigns would be much better served for engagement campaigns, and Placement ads would be much better suited for conversion campaigns. 


Q.   How does the pricing work?

A.    It is similar to Facebook advertising in that it will have a CPC and CPM model. For placement ads, the minimum CPM is $30.


Q.   How do you think Uni’s and Colleges should use this?

A.    Some really good use cases would be to have the creative start a specific conversation with a specific demographic. A good example would be targeting College transfer students ie. Geofencing a college and then having the call to action be something like: “Interested in transferring to University? Chat with us now to see if your credits transfer!” or something program specific like: “Interested in nursing? Chat with us now about how to decide which nursing school is the best fit!”

Another great way to use this tool is to have the Messenger button on the “contact us” or “apply now” page. This will enable students to chat directly with recruiters, and then enable Universities and Colleges to use placement ads in the future to re-target those students.

Overall, we think this new tool can be an extremely powerful engagement method and allow Universities and Colleges to engage with students one on one like never before. Interested in finding out more about how to get started? Drop us a line.

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We collected insights from 1,700 high school students on their media preferences for higher ed advertising. Access Report.