Slide into higher ROIs with a direct message marketing strategy

Discover how direct messaging marketing via Instagram DMs and Messenger can enhance your conversational experience journey and increase ROI.

Product Marketing Manager

Gabriela Marinčić

Product Marketing Manager

Gone are the days of overflowing inboxes and robotic autoreplies. Today’s businesses are ditching the impersonal one-way streets and embracing the conversational avenues of direct messaging (DM) marketing. And leading the charge are Instagram Direct Messages and Messenger, transforming from mere support channels into marketing boosters for the entire customer journey.

Why the sudden buzz around DM marketing? Well, it’s simple: people love chatting.

In a world saturated with generic broadcasts, they crave genuine connections and personalized experiences. And what better way to deliver that than through the channels they’re already glued to (think scrolling Insta reels or catching up on Messenger memes)?

But before we get into this what is DM marketing?

What is direct messages marketing?

Direct messages marketing focuses on leveraging private, one-on-one communication channels like Instagram DMs and Messenger to engage and convert followers. It’s more than just customer support; it’s about building relationships and delivering tailored experiences for each social media follower or fan.

Imagine sending targeted promotions, offering personalized product recommendations, or even hosting exclusive Q&A sessions for VIP customers – all within the intimacy of their preferred message app.

Now that we know what DM marketing is, which channel is the most suitable for your customer journey? Is it Instagram DMs or Messenger?

DM duel: Instagram DM vs. Messenger – decoding the differences

When it comes to direct messaging marketing, understanding the nuances of different channels is crucial. While Messenger and Instagram share some similarities due to being owned by Meta, there are distinct differences in their user demographics, behavior, and content preferences. So, when it comes to the frontrunners of private chat – Instagram DMs and Messenger – which one should you prioritize?


Instagram DMs

A haven for visually driven interactions. Think sharing photos, replying to stories, and engaging with influencers. Ideal for brand collaborations, sneak peeks, and creative content marketing.


A multi-purpose hub for more text-based communication. From casual chats to group calls and file sharing, it’s a channel for fostering community. Excellent for customer service, loyalty programs, and long-form conversations.


Instagram DMs

Boasts 1 billion monthly active users, with younger demographics dominating (think Gen Z and millennial audiences, and soon to be generation alpha). 70% of Instagram users send DMs weekly, making it a highly engaged platform.


With 2.9 billion monthly active users, it reaches a wider age range across demographics. Still, messaging features see significant engagement, with over 100 billion messages sent daily.


Instagram DMs

A younger, trend-aware crowd, often interested in fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle. Highly influenced by visual content and authentic brand interactions.


More diverse in age and interests, making it suitable for broader messaging strategies. Focuses on connection, group communication, and practical utility.

Content preferences:

Instagram DMs

All things visual work wonders. Images, videos, and stories are the key drivers of engagement. Content like stickers and filters also perform well.


While visuals still play a role, textual communication, GIFs, and emojis take center stage. Longer messages, polls, and file sharing are also well-received.

Engagement style:

Instagram DMs

Casual and conversational, prioritizing authenticity and personalized interactions. Influencer partnerships and exclusive offers work well.


Can be both casual and informative, depending on the purpose. Customer service interactions require professionalism, while community groups thrive on humor and banter.

Connection and interaction:

Instagram DMs

Emphasizes visual connections and allows users to follow accounts based on shared interests. Interactions are often through likes, comments, and direct messages.


Users often connect with a broader network of friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances. Interactions may include comments, likes, and shares.

Advertising formats:

Instagram DMs

Well-suited for visually appealing ad formats, such as photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and sponsored content in Instagram Stories.


Supports a wide range of ad formats, including carousel ads, slideshow ads, and instant experiences.

Ultimately, the “better” platform depends on your target audience and campaign goals. Instagram DMs shine for visually driven engagement with younger demographics, while Messenger excels at reaching a wider audience and fostering deeper connections through diverse content forms.

Why use direct messages marketing on Instagram DMs and Messenger?

Here’s how these platforms, often relegated to support desks, can be unleashed to fuel your customer journey across every stage:

1. Attention:

2. Consideration:

3. Conversion:

4. Retention:

Remember, successful DM marketing is all about personalization, value, and genuine connection. Treat your Instagram DMs/Messenger interactions as conversations, not transactions. Listen actively, offer solutions, and build rapport.

How to get started with direct marketing messages on Instagram and Messenger 

Direct marketing messages (DMs) on Instagram and Messenger are like VIP tickets to chat directly with your biggest fans. Think of it as skipping the line and sliding into their conversations for a one-on-one hang.

However, to do this you need to get explicit opt-in consent from your customers. Once you have that you can create meaningful connections with those genuinely interested in you or your business. 

How to turn “likes” into “chats”: Snagging opt-ins for Instagram DMs and Messenger

To collect opt ins and start with direct marketing messages, you need your customers to reach out to you on these channels and step into the chatroom first.

You can do this in various way, including: 

  • Click-to-chat ads: Don’t just broadcast, invite them to chat! Build click-to-chat buttons into your existing ad campaigns. Imagine someone scrolling through Insta, sees your ad for a flash deal, and can instantly message you, “YES, sign me up!”.
  • Website banners: Your website is prime real estate for grabbing DM opt-ins. Add sleek pop-up banners that say, “Hey there! Want exclusive deals and insider tips? Chat with us on Instagram!”. Or, sprinkle “Connect on Messenger” buttons throughout your product pages. Make it easy for them to say “yes”.
  • IRL Invitations: Go old-school with QR codes. Print them on flyers, packaging, or even store windows. Scan and chat – instant connection! Bonus points for using them at events or conferences, where people are already primed to engage.
  • Social media shoutouts: Don’t forget your existing social media following. Post eye-catching stories or Reels highlighting the perks of chatting with you on DMs or Messenger. Share exclusive content previews, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes fun.

Opt-in direct marketing messages that have an impact

Act within 24 hours: Once a customer initiates contact, you have a limited window to secure their consent for direct marketing messages. Don’t miss it!

Craft a compelling opt-in request:

  • Title: Grab attention with a clear and inviting title that highlights the benefits of opting in (eg,”Unlock Exclusive Deals” or “Get Insider Tips”).
  • Image: Choose a visually appealing image that aligns with your brand and message.
  • Content: Clearly outline the types of marketing messages customers can expect (eg, product recommendations, early access to launches, special offers).
  • CTA: Make opting-in effortless with a clear call to action, whether it’s a button, quick reply, or keyword.

Add a human touch to your opt-in message:

  • Personalize: Ensure each message feels relevant to the individual customer. Avoid generic “blasts” that can feel spammy.
  • Segment your audience: Group customers based on interests, purchase history, or other relevant factors to send highly targeted messages.
  • Time it right: Consider the customer’s journey and send messages at appropriate touchpoints (e.g., welcome messages, cart abandonment reminders).
  • Experiment and track: Test different message types, content, and timing to see what resonates best with your audience. Use analytics to track performance and refine your strategy.

Ideas to get the conversation going:

  • Promote new products or services: Highlight exciting new offerings and generate buzz.
  • Offer seasonal promotions and discounts: Drive sales during peak periods or create urgency with limited time offers.
  • Send personalized offers based on past events or segmentation: Surprise customers with recommendations tailored to their unique preferences.
  • Share product recommendations: Guide customers to items they’ll love, based on their interests or browsing behavior.
  • Send back-in-stock alerts: Recapture lost sales and delight customers eager for their favorite items.
  • Send cart abandonment notifications: Gently nudge customers to complete their purchases with reminders and incentives.
  • Promote subscriptions: Encourage repeat business and build loyalty with exclusive subscription benefits.

To maintain a positive messaging experience and avoid restrictions, follow these essential guidelines:


  • Relevance is key. Send opt-in requests that align with user interests and expectations.
  • Quality over quantity. Focus on crafting compelling opt-in messages that drive genuine engagement.
  • Compliance is crucial. Stay informed about Meta’s policies and respect platform limitations to ensure a positive messaging experience for all.

Ready to take the plunge? Here are some bonus tips:

  • Invest in chatbots: For efficient support and scaling, consider AI-powered chatbots for basic queries, freeing up your team for more complex interactions.
  • Measure and iterate: Track engagement, response rates, and conversions to understand what resonates with your audience and continuously refine your strategy.
  • Prioritize human touch: While automation can be helpful, remember that real-time interactions and personalized responses from your team are key to building lasting relationships.

Let’s ditch the old-school marketing playbooks and unlock the potential of these conversational channels: Instagram DM and Messenger, together.

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Dec 29th, 2023
8 min read
Product Marketing Manager

Gabriela Marinčić

Product Marketing Manager