- Posted on 11 April 2016
Excitement for what’s to come – Facebook Developers Conference – F8
There’s only a few days are left before the Facebook Developers Conference, F8, takes place in San Francisco, on the 12th and 13th April. This year, the sessions “Messenger: Connecting People and Business” and “Messenger: The Future of Communication”, leave room for many speculations.
The F8 might give concrete answers to a topic that has been greatly talked about: “Will Facebook Messenger be open for advertisements?
Facebook Messenger as a support channel?
Over the last few weeks, tests have been conducted with publishing companies on the Messenger-App for example; the German tabloid site “Bild” started sending teasers for articles with links to external content. Messenger, with its more than 800 million users, is also an attractive distribution channel for Instant Articles from media outlets, which are shown directly on Facebook.
However, it seems more probable that Messenger can be used as a support-channel in the future. Companies could for example, live-chat with their customers and reply to questions instantaneously. As of recently, a developer interface makes it possible to create Chat Bots for Messenger. These are systems, which automatically react to the input they get from users, e.g. taking orders, booking tables at a restaurant, or rebooking flights. Dutch company KLM, for example, is the first airline worldwide that integrated Facebook Messenger in its communication with customers. Passengers now have all the important information and documents available to them in Messenger. If needed, they can contact KLM directly in case of questions and re-bookings. Here, the customer is in full control. Contact has to be initiated by the user and not by KLM.
This channel of communication will likely only be opened when the user makes the first step towards contacting a company, thus minimising the risk of alienating users.
As Customer Care is an essential element of the whole consumer experience for many brands, an opening like the one for Facebook Messenger would have an immense impact on social mediastrategy. For consumers it would be a simple way of contacting a brand directly and receiving a competent answer in return.
Will there be a bot store in Messenger?
Expectations might be high on this topic. Especially if we focus on how fast the user gets a reply. This would include new challenges for companies and their service departments, if rumours about such an announcement are correct, as real-time support is comparable to a telephone-hotline and needs many technical resources, staff and qualified handling. To avoid customers having to listen to the usual call-centre tunes, Facebook has thought of a solution.
Since Mid-March users can play a basketball-game in Messenger. They can send a basketballemoji to their friends, tap it and shoot hoops. Thus the waiting time can be bridged with an almost addicting little game. Rumours say that this gimmick could be the first signifier of a “Messenger Bot Store” which might be announced at the F8 according to the motto “Bots are the new Apps”.
Similar to popular messengers such as Slack and Telegram, Facebook’s Messenger could be equipped with further functions. The integration of Mobile Payments or Uber are already a reality in the US. Thus instant messaging is increasingly becoming a control centre for one’s own life.
Further assumptions can be made about the platform Atlas. With Atlas, Facebook shows opportunities for advertisers to deliver campaigns beyond the limits of devices and browsers and for measuring their results.
It will likely be extended with new features, e.g. the delivery of video ads. Online-advertisement expenses will be better connected to offline-purchases. This is how Atlas will be transformed from a Measurement-Tool to an AdServer, where media services can be booked directly.
Surprises may also arise when it comes to Facebook’s VR-glasses, Oculus. The current price of about 700 Euros/600 dollars is quite expensive and a lower price could be announced. There may also be the announcement of co-operations with famous video game developers.
Business applications for Whatsapp and Instagram
Further steps in professionalization can also be expected with Facebook’s acquisitions ofWhatsApp and Instagram. WhatsApp might be transformed into an authentic platform for
advertisement, which would complement companies’ broadcasting-groups. For Instagram, it’s about time to get focused company-accounts with special features and an algorithm to navigate the pictures that are shown according to the user’s interests and behaviour. On the one hand, this seems a likely option since the amount of content is steadily on the rise. On the other hand, many users appreciate this linear and unfiltered display of pictures.
But let’s switch back to Facebook-Messenger: Trivial advertisements will likely not be shown on this platform, in the future. Though customers who contact a company for service-questions might get useful offers. This is according to the motto: “You informed yourself about our product XYZ. It’s now back in stock.” This way, customers can be promptly informed about changes, while companies have the chance to get direct feedback from their clients.
Through interfaces with a company’s own CRM-system, such customers could be identified via their Facebook-ID and allocated to clusters. If the company displays ads on Facebook at a later time, this would be the ideal database for personalised offers. As a requirement for this, companies need an interlocking of the different platforms which belong to the Facebook-universe, such as fanpages, the Messenger-App, WhatsApp, Instagram and also Atlas, LiveRail and Internet.org for the required user data – in compliance with data-protection aspects. If this data can be exchanged more easily, it can be used for personalised advertisement. In the long term, simplifying administrative efforts – which are still too high, has to be the goal. Yet the F8 will likely only present the first small steps, if any at all.
For more information don’t hesitate to contact NetBooster social media specialists to discuss your needs and what the new features could mean for you
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