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Why Facebook Messenger Bots Are Your Next Marketing Apps


By Ivan Brezak Brkan, April 15, 2016

If you haven’t been offline all week long, you probably noticed that Facebook launched a lot of new products, including the Facebook Messenger Platform.

But, with (chat)bots and messenger apps coming in, what’s the significance of this for your internet-based business? After all, businesses new and old can use their unique M.Me URLs to drive customers to their Facebook pages. But what then?

What does the Facebook Messenger Platform offer YOU?

A Long Likeable Time Ago…

Not that long ago everyone was abuzz with Facebook apps, specific pieces of software that worked primarily on Facebook’s desktop version and offered users new things to do. From simple apps like quizzes to full fledges games that were (and for some – still are) all the rage, the Facebook Platform apps ruled the world. For a time.

By November 2007, over 7000 apps had already been developed with another hundred launching… every…single day… Just a year after, there were over 400,000 registered Facebook developers. Facebook apps were synonymous with marketing on the world’s largest social network.

Today?

It’s 2016 and Facebook apps aren’t as popular. Facebook still is. And one of its apps, Messenger, is even more popular. While at first it looked balling that Facebook would make you download an entirely separate app to make it possible to chat with friends, today it’s obvious.

Especially after the launch of the Facebook Messenger Platform. It’s focus, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg explained for at a live Q&A session:

The primary purpose of the Facebook app is News Feed. Messaging was this behavior people were doing more and more. 10 billion messages are sent per day, but to get to it you had to wait for the app to load and go to a separate tab. We saw that the top messaging apps people were using were their app. These apps that are fast and just focused on messaging. You’re probably messaging people 15 times per day. Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction. Asking folks to install another app is a short term painful thing, but if we wanted to focus on serving this \[use case] well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience.

Messenger fast became the fastest growing app in the US of 2014 and proved Zuckerberg and his team right. Messenger now has almost a billion users who can use its features in a simple – mobile – use case.

Bots Are The New Apps

Bots are not like the apps you are used to. Part AI, part small messaging Facebook app, this new breed of apps have a different way of communicating with users.

Fewer buttons, more… words. Companies like Staples and Zendesk are already working with Facebook to develop bot apps but also supporting platforms to create even more intriguing apps. The CRM maker Salesforce, for example, has already integrated itself, letting its users use the Facebook Messenger Platform to communicate with potential leads.

Why Facebook Messenger Platform Is Your Marketing Platform?

Messenger is popular, definitely, but here are the real reasons besides the raw numbers that you need to consider it your next marketing platform:

1. Mobile-first: While old Facebook apps were developed primarily for the desktop experience, with some mobile-ready developers going the extra mile, Messenger is an app that you can download on your iPhone, Android… but that isn’t a desktop-focused app like for example the old breed of messengers were. Remember AIM? ICQ?

With Messenger being a mobile-first platform, its bots are going to invade the millions of mobile phones that are, for a lot of people, primary computing devices. Which is exactly why the M.Me Messenger Links are so important – they let users use the platform easily – on the go!

2. Your Customers Like Messaging: Again, comparing Facebook Messenger apps, especially bots, with ‘old’ Facebook apps is like comparing apples to oranges. What we as users like doing these days is typing away to our friends. That’s the ‘interface’ we prefer and use more than Facebook itself – even Zuckerberg himself confirmed:

Messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking. In some countries, 85 percent of people are on Facebook, but 95 percent of people use SMS or messaging.

3. (Mobile) Developers Are Ready: Developers weren’t completely ready for the beast that the Facebook Platform is because when it launched and ALLLLL the companies in the world decided that they had to have a Facebook presence.

An app.

Today’s developers are well aware both of the Facebook Platform’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their client’s sheer determination to push a presence on the platform.

4. Early Adopters Will Be Rewarded: While I know you’d love to be sure that bots are the right choice for your next Facebook marketing effort, waiting might not be the right call.

Sure, you can wait for a month or two, see what everybody else is doing and then maybe start planning your app but at that point, everybody and their Grandmother is going to have a bot. And it’s not going to be BB8. Just like Runkeeper did with iOS or Farmville with the original Facebook platform, moving fast (like a startup) will gain you the most exposure you can expect.

5. Engage Your Current Facebook Customers: If you’re reading this article, I’m pretty sure that you already have a following on the world’s largest social network. Facebook bots will let you make use of those followers and engage them even more – and sell them a bit more in the process!

Remember that Facebook Bots within the Facebook Messenger Platform are completely new so you might need to introduce your developers and the rest of the team to the concept. The great thing about that is that ‘bots’ are new and exciting and can truly get your team pumped up to create a whole new experience.

The exciting thing about the Facebook Messenger platform is that we still aren’t 100% sure how to make the most use of it. We still don’t have the Facebook Messenger platform “winner”. You could be the one that makes the most of the platform and creates the next great bot!

P.S. Just don’t create Skynet.

Photo: The Next Web


Author:

Ivan Brezak Brkan

The founder of the "Techcrunch of Southeastern Europe" - Netokracija - and ex-Techcrunch writer with years of experience writing about startups, technology and the domain industry!

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