What New Facebook Messenger Feature Means for Businesses

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We've talked in the past about how Facebook Messenger may be a more powerful tool than you think, with it's ability to house chatbots that can answer questions and facilitate sales directly from the chat app.

But now, news has dropped that Facebook wants to take this Messenger approach even farther, helping companies to not only sell and install chatbots, but also drop mass-broadcast messages to audiences. Here's what we know about it so far, and how you may be able to use it!

Here's What "Messenger Broadcasts" Would Do

According to prototypes found of this service, Facebook calls this service a Messenger Broadcast. Basically, this is like a more advanced version of the typical Messenger message that you would get from a friend or a client during a normal day. However, brands can specifically create these messages and then push them out toward a large audience – a little bit like a mass text.

Presumably, this means that everyone in the audience list who has Facebook/Messenger open would get an alert and see this message. Those who open Messenger later will likely see a notification about the message, which they can choose to respond to or not. This clearly raises some questions about invasion of privacy and whether Facebook users want companies interrupted their Messenger zones with chats that they weren't expecting, but that's a discussion for another time when we know more about how this service works.

Here's How You Would Make Broadcasts

The prototypes found also have a detailed interface for creating these broadcasts (another sign that this service may drop in the near future), which shows a lot about what they include. They are a lot more complex than the traditional Messenger message, so let's go through the steps.

  1. Choose the type of message. You can do an image and text, video and text, or just text, and immediately upload the image file that you want to use.
  2. Headlines. There are spaces for both the message title and the message subtitle, which gives you some room to attract curious leads – but given the size of the Messenger window, not much room. After your headlines are done, you can move down to a text window and entire the main body of the message.
  3. Finally, you choose your call to action. This is an interesting part, because Facebook is providing several "suggested reply" options. Basically, a suggested reply creates a little CTA button with the text of your choice, like "I'm interested" which will apparently link responders to another site. You can also choose to "Add a Bot Payload" which seems to indicate chatbot extensions to help the process or facilitate sales in response.
  4. There's also an audience section, which shows the number of people on Facebook that you can reach for free with this message. Obviously, there will probably be an option to pay for a wider audience as necessary.

Obviously, This is Great For Events and Outreach

Messenger marketing may not be the best idea for all content, but you can see how it could be useful. Letting your audience know about special events, limited time discounts, and new items that they may want based on past purchases could all be very useful.

It Also Appears to Have Clear Limitations

There is no doubt some strict requirements for opting into this service. Primarily, it looks like users may have to first message the business themselves before they can receive a message in return, and possibly opt in to receive other messages in the future. Facebook will want to keep Messenger as user-friendly as possible, so don't expect these messages to reach any new users, and probably only a portion of your new followers.

But! It's important to remember that these are just prototypes of a service that Facebook is probably implementing, and it may look quite different when it actually appears as a service. Facebook doesn't comment on content leaks like this, so we don't know any more quite yet...but we'll be sure to keep you updated if anything important occurs.

 

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Aleks Vizulis

As operations manager at 21 Handshake, I bring an analytical perspective to the discussion table. My vision is to take projects from 'just strong' to superb. Often you will find me capturing behind the scenes photos in the 21 Handshake office or at a clients location. I play a fierce round of 18 during warm weather and catch me on the slopes during the other months of the year!

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