While Facebook continues to experiment with new ways to get people spending more time on their main platform, they’re also working on options to develop more business tools within Messenger.
And that makes perfect sense – while the latest data suggests that Facebook usage is declining, Messenger is only gaining more momentum, which, in some ways, seems to reflect the changing approach to social, shifting from public broadcasting to more private conversations.
The issue for Facebook is that, right now, messaging doesn’t make them as much money. Not that Zuck and Co. are short of cash, but in order to maintain their dominance, they need all their platforms firing on all cylinders.
But there is significant opportunity in messaging. To facilitate more Messenger business use, Facebook has this week launched Messenger platform version 2.3, which introduces a range of new business tools.
Here’s what’s been announced.
Quick Replies for Contact info
After introducing quick replies back in 2016, making it easier for consumers to direct bot interactions, Facebook's adding a new option for quick responses which will enable users to share their contact info in one click.
As explained by Facebook:
“Starting today, if a business asks for a person’s contact info, they can send a quick reply button that will auto-populate with the person’s email or phone number that is associated with their Facebook profile. The person can then easily select and share it with the business. If the person has more than one email address or phone number connected with their profile, they will be given the option to select which they would like to share with the business.”
It’s an easy way for brands to capture more information from bot users, and facilitate more direct connections. Facebook’s popular lead ads offer similar functionality, which gives them precedent for this new capacity, and no doubt it will prove popular for bot makers - particularly for those looking to build their own email lists, as opposed to purely keeping the interactions on Messenger.
Customer Chat Plugin Optimization
Facebook’s also adding to their website Customer Chat plugin presentation tools, giving businesses more ways to personalize and customize the tool.
As you can see from the above image, businesses will now be able to choose the color of their Messenger bubbles to match their website presentation. Facebook actually rolled out the color selection capacity earlier in the month, but they’re now making it easier to implement, with a new, easy set-up tool, which will walk website owners through the process.
In addition to this, Facebook’s also adding:
- Notifications - Once a person starts a chat with your business, they will be notified when your business responds by badging the Messenger icon with a red dot, as well as triggering a notification sound and page title change.
- Persistent menu - Businesses can now incorporate the persistent menu from their existing Messenger experience into customer chat so that people can access it at any point during their conversation.
- Support for Internet Explorer - This will ensure greater overall stability and performance for your customers visiting your website using the Internet Explorer web browser.
The customer chat plug-in is a handy tool, which will definitely help boost Messenger interactions by having the direct contact option right there on your page. It also makes it easier for businesses to add in chat capacity, on the platform most people are already using.
New Data and Message Tags
Facebook’s also adding in some new Messaging Insights to provide more context on your Messenger performance.
- Open Messaging Conversations – The total number of open conversations between your Page and people in Messenger.
- New Messaging Conversations – The number of conversations that were initiated by people who had never messaged with your Page before.
While the Messenger team has also announced some new message tags ‘for specific uses cases beyond the 24-hour window’ normally allocated to Messenger brand interactions.
“Today we’re introducing COMMUNITY_ALERT and CONFIRMED_EVENT_REMINDER tags and we’re also expanding the ISSUE_RESOLUTION tag to support more use cases. You can find the full specs of these new tags as well as other existing non-promotional tags on the message tags documentation.”
Messenger business hasn’t quite taken off as Facebook would have hoped, and the bot evolution is developing a little slower than many thought. But the opportunity is still there, there’s plenty of ways to utilize bots in your customer interactions to enhance the consumer process.
And with 1.3 billion monthly active users – and rising – you can bet Facebook will continue to explore options to provide better business tools on this front, with a view to maximizing the platform’s monetization potential.