Looking for a new way to engage consumers on Facebook? Want to start more conversations with qualified prospects?
In this article, you’ll learn how to capitalize on Meta’s most underutilized ad placement, Click-to-Messenger ads for Facebook Reels.
Why Facebook Reels Ads Matter Now
Facebook Reels might not generate as much buzz as its Instagram counterparts do. But this placement has a lot of potential for marketers and advertisers. In recent months, Meta has been building out Facebook Reels features, demonstrating investment in short-form video.
In March 2023, Meta extended the time limit to 90 seconds (pictured below), better aligning Facebook Reels with Instagram Reels and making it more competitive with TikTok’s longer short-form videos. Facebook Reels creators can now use new features like templates, memories, and grooves to make content that builds on trends and stands out in the feed.
At the same time, Meta announced the end of its Reels Play bonus program. The closure of this program takes away a key income stream for creators, who may opt to use ad placements to monetize content instead. Meta currently allows creators to earn money by enabling overlay and post-loop ads on their Facebook reels.
As of January 2023, the estimated total audience size for Facebook Reels is nearly 700 million people. Yet Facebook Reels only accounted for about 3% of Facebook ad impressions in 2022. Facebook Reels ads have only been available since February 2022 but this placement clearly still has a lot of untapped potential.
So how can advertisers leverage this placement successfully? In addition to allowing ads on Facebook reels and in the Reels feed, in March 2023, Meta rolled out click-to-Messenger ads for this format with optional WhatsApp conversion options. That means advertisers can now use Facebook Reels ads to start conversations with prospects.
How to Set Up Click-to-Messenger Ads in Facebook Reels
First, let’s look at setting up a click-to-Messenger ad that leverages the Facebook Reels placement.
#1: Choose a Relevant Objective
To set up this ad type, open Ads Manager and click to create a new campaign. Then select a relevant campaign objective. Not all Ads Manager objectives work with click-to-Messenger ads but the engagement, traffic, leads, and sales objectives do.
That means you can use click-to-Messenger ads on reels to engage prospects throughout the funnel. Below, we’ll cover tactics for setting up ads for top-of-funnel (TOFU) and bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) audiences.
#2: Configure the Ad Set
After choosing campaign-level settings like bid strategy and budget, build the ad set. Many of the ad set options, including audience targeting and placements, function the same no matter which campaign objective you choose. Since the conversion options are different for each objective, we’ll walk through the settings for each.
If you choose the engagement objective, select Messaging Apps as the conversion location for the ad set. For the ad type, choose Click to Message instead of Sponsored Message. Then scroll down to connect the right Facebook page and select the right messaging apps.
When your main goal is to spark conversations with potential customers across messaging apps, the engagement objective gives you the most options. At the ad set level, you can choose up to three different messaging apps (including Messenger) that you can target simultaneously.
Before moving to the creative, double-check the performance goal for your ad set. Maximize Number of Conversations should be selected automatically. But you also have other options, including Maximize Number of Link Clicks, which is likely better for a traffic campaign than it would be for an engagement campaign.
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If you choose the traffic objective, your conversion options will look different. For the conversion location, choose Messenger. Note that with this objective, you can only drive traffic to Messenger or WhatsApp. You’ll need separate ad sets if you want to use both messaging apps, and you’ll need a different objective entirely to send traffic to Instagram.
For the performance goal, select Maximize Number of Link Clicks. This conversion location supports reach and impression goals as well but choosing either of them means the ad set would prioritize increasing ad delivery over driving traffic.
When you choose the leads objective, you have the option to generate leads via both Messenger and Instagram. Since you can only choose one of these conversion locations at a time, you’ll need separate ad sets to target both.
However, this campaign objective does support single ad sets that target lead generation via both Messenger and native lead forms. If you’ve already had success with native lead forms, adding click-to-Messenger ads gives you the opportunity to test a complementary conversion location.
If you choose this dual conversion location, Meta will optimize the ad for each person, depending on which is most likely to inspire them to act. Note that you’ll need to set up both a messaging template and a native lead form if you plan to target both conversion locations.
Conversion location options for the sales objective are similar to those we covered above for the engagement objective. If you choose Messaging Apps as the conversion location, you can select up to three options (Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp) to spark conversations that lead to sales.
But when you use the sales objective, you also have to select a conversion event. In most cases, you’ll want to select a conversion event that you’ve prioritized for delivery to iOS 14.5+ users. Make sure to configure and prioritize these events in Events Manager before launching your campaign.
#3: Create a Message Template
Next, set up a message template at the ad level. Depending on the campaign objective, you’ll have one or more of the options below.
Make sure to align the content of the message template with the funnel stage you’re targeting. For example, TOFU ads should aim to learn more about prospects and share relevant information about the business. In contrast, BOFU ads should focus on qualifying prospects and getting them to complete a conversion.
Start Conversations Template
The Start Conversations template works with the engagement, traffic, and sales objectives. With this template, you can add up to five questions that appear as prompts in Messenger. It’s important to note that they won’t display one after another as a natural conversation. Instead, prospects can view all of them at once and tap to engage with one or all of them.
In addition to creating questions for this message template, you can write automated responses. Unless you’re planning to monitor your inbox around the clock, it’s a good idea to use these automated responses. Since they can answer questions instantly, they can engage customers much more effectively than delayed manual responses could.
In addition to writing text-based messages, you can add either an image or a video to your message template. It’s worth testing these additional creatives if your ad could benefit from more context. But keep in mind that these in-Messenger creatives may distract prospects or prevent them from completing the messaging conversion.
Automated Chat Template
The engagement, traffic, and leads campaign objectives support automated chat templates. Unlike the start conversation template, the automated chat template lets you configure a series of questions.
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For example, you can ask questions about prospects’ demographics, challenges, goals, budgets, and purchasing timeframes. If prospects are a good fit for your business, your sales team can follow up with them manually. If they aren’t a good fit, you can send them a disqualification message instantly to help your team save time.
You also have the option to send prospects additional information directly in Messenger. For example, you can send qualified prospects a promo code or a link to a product or resource on your website. Later, you can follow up to guide them toward a conversion.
Note that the lead qualification template doesn’t allow automated responses. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to collect data and qualify leads rather than a chance to have a two-way conversation or provide extensive answers to questions.
#4: Optimize the Creative
To add the click-to-Messenger prompt to a Facebook Reels ad, make sure to select this placement at the ad set level. It’s automatically enabled if you choose Advantage placements but you’ll need to select it yourself if you opt for manual placements.
If you want to advertise across multiple placements that require a variety of different creatives (i.e., the Facebook feed and Facebook Reels), you can do so with a single ad set. At the ad level, you can optimize creatives for each placement.
If you upload an image or video that won’t work well in the Reels feed, you may not see an option to replace it during the initial creative setup. But once you complete the initial setup, you’ll see an option to edit each placement separately.
When you edit the Facebook Reels placement, you have two options for optimizing the video. If you already have a short-form video designed for the campaign, you can click Change to upload it to the ad.
Then you can use Ads Manager’s built-in editing tools to make the video stand out in the Reels feed. For example, you can add text and logo overlays, insert captions, or trim the video. Keep in mind that Ads Manager’s creative editing tools are still relatively limited so it’s generally best to add overlays in a third-party app.
Alternatively, you can use Ads Manager’s templates to turn static images into a video. If you have a single image, you can add an overlay with text to frame it in a way that works better for reels. If you have multiple images, you can set up an animated slideshow.
Note that some of the templates are geared toward specific verticals or messages. For example, if the new open hours template or the contactless delivery template fit your offer, using them can save you time.
#5: Leverage Additional Facebook Reels Placements
In addition to setting up click-to-Messenger ads that appear between Facebook reels, you also have the option to advertise on Facebook reels. To fully leverage Facebook Reels placements, make sure to enable this option at the ad set level.
These placements allow your click-to-Messenger ads to appear on Facebook reels that creators have monetized. They can appear as ad overlays on creator reels or as post-loop ads that display after creator reels.
#6: Prepare Saved Replies in Messenger
After configuring click-to-Messenger ads, placements, and message templates, you’re ready to launch a campaign. Even if the message template is largely automated, be prepared to respond to prospects manually in Messenger.
You can streamline this process by setting up saved replies in your company’s Business Suite inbox. On the Messenger tab, you can configure responses that let you send resources or conversion-focused calls to action efficiently.
To ensure you don’t miss any important messages, you can also use Business Suite’s assignment automations. This setting lets you assign Messenger conversations either randomly or to specific team members. From there, your team can follow up using saved replies or manual responses.
#7: How to Use the WhatsApp Conversion Option for Facebook Reels Ads
When you use the Facebook Reels placement to start conversations with prospects, you aren’t limited to just Messenger. As of March 2023, you can optimize for WhatsApp conversations from ads in the Facebook Reels feed.
To enable this conversion location, first choose a supported campaign objective. Engagement, traffic, and sales objectives work with WhatsApp. Once you choose one of these campaign objectives, you can select WhatsApp at the ad set level.
If you haven’t connected your WhatsApp account to your Facebook page yet, you can do so in Ads Manager. Enter the phone number from your WhatsApp business account to trigger a WhatsApp code. Then enter the code in Ads Manager to complete the connection.
If you choose the traffic objective, you can target one messaging app per ad set. So if you want to drive traffic to both WhatsApp and Messenger, you’ll need to create separate ad sets. However, you can apply the same message template to both.
The engagement and sales objectives support multiple messaging apps for each ad set. So you have the option to target conversions in WhatsApp or optimize for conversations in both WhatsApp and Messenger.
If you’re not sure whether it’s worth including Messenger in your WhatsApp ad set, the estimated audience size can help you decide. If it’s too small or if you’ve added too many other restrictions (i.e., manual placements), you might see a warning that your ad set could get zero results. Adding another conversion location can help resolve this issue.
Once you’ve optimized the campaign and ad set for WhatsApp conversions, configure the ad using the same workflow we covered for Messenger ads. With WhatsApp ads, you get access to the same message templates and creative setup options. That means you can reuse message templates and generate Reels ads using image-based templates.
By using click-to-Messenger (or WhatsApp) ads, advertisers can take advantage of Meta’s newest conversion optimization to spark conversations and connect with qualified leads on Facebook reels. Because they leverage Facebook’s newest and least utilized ad placement, Facebook Reels ads give advertisers a unique opportunity to get in front of prospects in a feed with a large potential audience but relatively few ads.
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