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Facebook’s Testing Direct Message Prompts in Recommendations

Back in October, Facebook added a new tool called ‘Recommendations’ which enables users to post a call-out for recommendations from friends when Facebook detects that you’re seeking advice.

Facebook’s Testing Direct Message Prompts in Recommendations | Social Media TodayAs you can see, when you’re writing a status update which suggests you're looking for ideas, Facebook can now detect your query via its machine learning systems and suggest that you turn on recommendations for your post. If you do, a prominent request for suggestions call-out - like the one in the image above - will appear in the News Feeds of your connections notifying them that you’re looking for advice.

With each recommendation, Facebook gives the recommender the option to link to that specific business, which makes it easy for the user to get more info in one click.

Facebook’s now looking to expand that connection capacity by adding in a new messaging prompt, in-stream, making it easier for users to take action on specific recommendations.

Facebook’s Testing Direct Message Prompts in Recommendations | Social Media TodayAs highlighted in the screenshot (provided by Matt Navarra), when making a recommendation, users are given prompt to make their recommendation better by linking to a Facebook Page. When you do, a message prompt will appear for some Pages, as opposed to a Page link (as shown in the first image above). It’s not clear exactly which Pages will display a message prompt and which will show a Page link, though it’s likely Facebook’s A/B testing both options - Pages without a physical address are likely the test pool for the new Messenger link.

Recommendations are Facebook’s way of promoting more word-of-mouth activity, which can help them get a better understanding of how users are connecting with businesses, and promote more engagement on the platform.

And if Recommendations proves popular, it’ll also help Facebook develop tools to boost their personal assistant tools and how they provide relevant prompts – if Facebook can learn more about what motivates people to recommend specific businesses within their networks, and what subsequently makes users act on those recommendations, that’ll go a long way towards helping them develop smarter AI tools which they can build into Messenger.

For example, in Messenger right now, Facebook’s working on tools which use machine learning to detect the context of your message and prompt you to take action – like setting a reminder for an event.

Facebook’s Testing Direct Message Prompts in Recommendations | Social Media TodayVirtual assistant tools are advancing fast, and it’s not hard to imagine that one day Facebook could use the learnings from recommendations to make immediate suggestions – if you were to type ‘lets go out to dinner’, Facebook could theoretically use the learnings from Recommendations to provide you with prompts to book a table at the local restaurants most likely to be of interest, based on your own past activity and that within your network.

Facebook hasn’t released any stats on Recommendations use as yet, but as they work to build more tools like these into their systems, it’s safe to assume we’ll see more such automated prompts and in-stream tools cropping up – which may become a key consideration for brands looking to maximize their exposure

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