Technology evolves rapidly – and that speed doubles (or even triples) with respect to the state of social media. Of course, one of our favorite platforms to discuss is Facebook; and fortunately Facebook updates are constant and riveting.
The latest update to share is of interest for consumers and businesses alike with a focus on mobile, messaging, and monetization: Facebook Messenger.
In just the last year, Facebook has periodically enhanced the messaging feature with voice calling, location sharing, emoticons, and photo sharing. And the last update saw the social giant splitting Messenger away from the Facebook mobile app into its own entity.
So when Facebook announced that they had a new innovation in mind with their 600 million active-user Messenger app at the annual F8 Developer Conference, everyone was listening. Here’s what they heard about:
Facebook tends to be one of the more developer-friendly APIs and the new announcement will foster growth in that relationship.
Messenger will now seamlessly integrate with app store to install apps directly from Messenger, and share animated GIFs, sound clips, stickers, video clips, and other content from their initial 40 app partners.
With a new tab in Messenger, users will be able to discover new apps, download the ones they love, and share the opportunity with friends. Meaning that if the recipients of the content do not already have the app installed to see it, they can tap install to be taken directly to the app store and get started using the app.
The big lure for users is to send various forms of media to friends and family like the especially-popular animated GIF.
Image Source: Mashable
The lure for developers to integrate Messenger with their own apps is the ability to push content directly to users. For example, services like The Weather Channel and ESPN have joined the partnership and can now send information and updates directly to their users.
Competing with the similarly-functioning Snapcash, Facebook now allows users to send money to friends.
Image Source: Re/Code
By adding a dollar sign among the new row of icons (including your newly downloaded apps), you can send payments to friends as long as both of you have a debit card connected to your account. Money is transferred through Facebook, which holds the money for “seconds” before sending along to the other user’s bank. If the other user hasn’t set up an account, Facebook will hold the money until they do so.
This proves Facebook is trying to stay competitive with mobile payment methods like Venmo, Google Wallet, or iPay.
Separate Messenger Platform
While Facebook continues to have Messenger built-in to their platform, they have again split the service – but this time on the web.
Since Facebook launched a dedicated website for the Messenger service, users can log into Messenger.com with their Facebook credentials to make phone calls, set up video chats, or chat messages like the normal mobile service.
While there seems to be similarities between this and Google’s Hangout services, the purpose of Facebook’s separate message function claims to try and limit disruptions (e.g. News Feed or notifications), to bring the focus back to real-time chat.
For a loose comparison, imagine the AOL and AOL Instant Messenger relationship where you could create an AOL account to either use directly through AOL or just chat on their Instant Messenger service.
Businesses on Messenger
Here is the update you’ve been waiting to read.
According to Facebook, Businesses on Messenger is a service to enable “personal, real-time conversations with your customers;” which means:
During the checkout flow on a business’s site, a person can choose to start a conversation with a business, receive updates from that business on things like order confirmations and shipping status updates, and ask the business free-form questions about the order, receiving quick responses.
Therefore by partnering with the customer service company, Zendesk, Facebook is attempting to enhance online chat support. It is believed that having this interaction through a familiar interface will allow for easier conversation between business and consumer.
Image Source: Businesses on Messenger
It would be no surprise if you have dealt with customer support inquiries through Facebook already over the built-in Messenger or Timeline. But, Facebook is trying to bridge the B2C gap with this clearer line of communication not diluted by the notifications and News Feed.
While email marketing is the current medium to handle these inquiries, it is a medium that is often distracted from by other messages in the inbox. And though Facebook is trying to limit disruptions, I wonder if the new apps and emoticons available for users are accepted for use in Business Messenger. If so, it could add unnecessary visuals to conversations with customer service representatives (that are already filled with high emotions), causing even more disruption than the more formal email communication.
Finally, the service also brings features to non-retail business with the ability to send push notifications.
Image Source: Businesses on Messenger
If you are holding a contest, something is back in stock, or they are near your brick-and-mortar location, this feature allows businesses to reach customers with timely notifications that can work similarly to push notifications from SMS messaging.
It’s no secret that mobile is of ever-growing importance to the way we do business, and with Facebook fueling this collaboration it will make it easier on the small businesses who have grown accustomed to using their service.
‘Businesses on Messenger’ is coming soon, and we can’t wait to see how it will be used to further your marketing and customer service in the future.
What advantages or disadvantages can you foresee with all of these Messenger updates?
Share with us in the comments!
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on Pagemodo’s Blog and Twitter.