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Brands Get New “Ice-Breakers” For Facebook Messenger

Messenger API Update Sees Improved Engagement Features

Facebook has introduced three new features for Messenger designed to help brands stimulate better interactions with their customers on the platform.

  1. “Icebreakers” to encourage and expand discussions via Messenger
  2. Improved conversation tagging and reactions
  3. Simplifying integrating Messenger ads with apps

Of the three new features, the “Icebreakers” are perhaps the most interesting, or the quickest win, anyway, for communicators.

Nitin Garg, Facebook Messenger Enterprise and API programs

“Brands can now set icebreakers on their Messenger profile via the API. Icebreakers help businesses reduce friction in starting a conversation by surfacing common questions or topics of interest.”

These latest updates form part of the Messenger Graph API v5.0 Release and follows similar updates from early October, again centred on facilitating improved customer experience via Messenger.

Stop, Collaborate & Listen, Icebreakers Are A Brand New Invention

Head over to any Facebook Page, take Qantas for example, and you’ll note just below the cover image, beneath the dashing Qantas captain, on the right-hand-side – the “Send Message” button.

When selected, the “Send Message” button currently opens a blank Messenger comment box. Or, as is my case, will bring up the last discussion thread that a user has had with the organisation.

Via the Messenger API, Pages can now direct conversations or suggest suitable questions for a user to ask, by providing popular “Icebreakers”.

As per the screenshot above, questions could be tied to common FAQs:

  • “What are your hours today?”
  • “Where is your store located?”
  • “Can I learn more about a product?”
  • “Can you check the availability of a product?”

Before triggering an automated response, either via a Messenger bot or automated responses.

Although Facebook’s native messaging features are improving, at this point, some of the third party Messenger tools offer more.

Particularly when it comes to syncing in Messenger conversations with existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems etc. Therefore, to get the best results, SMK would suggest leaning towards third party, rather than native, to maximise implementation.

The Evolution Of Messenger Marketing

Messenger marketing has been “a thing” for about two years, give or take.

Prior to this, communicating via Messenger had mainly been organic, falling under the community management/customer service banner.

Facebook launched ads on the Messenger home screen in mid-2017.

However, despite the hype, they have, to date, underwhelmed, offering poor engagement, click through rates (CTRs) and results.

In part, due to the fact Messenger users rarely scroll through feeds, unlike in the News Feed. So, either do not see these ads or don’t care. Or both.

Although, Facebook Messenger’s imminent design upgrade will likely go someway to addressing this. As Big Blue essentially recreates Snapchat, in Messenger, for close friends and family.

Aside, from the patchy organic side of things, and weak Messenger home ads, Messenger marketing became a more scalable, viable marketing tactic in late 2017, with the introduction of the “Messages” ad objective.

Moving The Needle Via Messenger

Since launch, the Messages ad objective has mainly been the domain of hardcore direct marketers, online marketing early adopters, snake-oil salesmen and occasional SMBs.

But, whisper it quietly, brands have cottoned on…

When discussing Facebook’s strong quarterly results, last week, Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) touched upon how Renault had been using Messenger to sell cars:

“Messaging is one of the fastest growing areas for online communication and especially between businesses and people. We've seen businesses use Messenger to reach customers, generate new leads and even sell cars.

French automaker Renault used a combination of Instagram stories and click to Messenger ads to drive sales of a limited-edition vehicle, the Captur Tokyo.

Facebook was their only advertising channel and over the span of 30 days, they sold 100 cars, 20 directly through Messenger.”

As the Renault example above demonstrates, Facebook can still offer decent business upside; however, as we head into 2020, it requires fresh thinking.

If messaging and integrated, multi-channel comms across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram (and possibly WhatsApp, subject to geo) are not in your 2020 plans, you’re probably missing a trick.

 

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