In April, Facebook held its annual conference for developers and technological exploration, F8. Day one included multiple keynote announcements for developers in a range of industries. Today we’ll dig into the ones most relevant to your advertising efforts.
F8 Updates for Advertisers and Brands
Of the multiple updates announced at the F8 keynote, a few will be of particular interest to brands and digital advertisers.
Places Graph Launch
The Places Graph is a free collection of data developers can access to create location-centered experiences for users. It runs on the same data that powers location experiences on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram and is scalable as a user base grows.
While the Places Graph isn’t something advertisers will use directly, it pays for them to be aware that apps will employ it. Ultimately, users will see factors such as names, addresses, photos and ratings for a range of indoor, outdoor, public and commercial places. As users will make decisions based on the Places Graph, advertisers should ensure online information and images are up to date and flattering.
Connection Across Facebook Login and Messenger Identities
For businesses with both an app and Messenger bot, a new API allows smoother connections with individual customers using both tools. Businesses can map between Facebook login IDs and Messenger login IDs to streamline service.
Facebook Analytics Advanced Insights Tool
To enhance the current capabilities of Facebook Analytics, a new Automated Insights tool lets brands learn about things like:
- Changes in purchases for a new version of their app
- Engagement variation across users in different cities
The idea is to give more insight into consumers’ journeys on social media so that you can optimize across the interaction channels.
Updated Features and Tools on Messenger for Business
The Messenger for Business platform has been around for a year and, according to Facebook, facilitates 2 billion monthly messages between users and businesses (see link in intro).
At F8, Facebook discussed ways that the Messenger Platform 2.0 is improving the customer experience and supporting business creativity.
For advertisers, some of the Messenger updates simply mean a greater chance of discovery. The new Discover tab enables users to find Messenger bots right from the home screen, while Messenger Codes give users more information from a simple scan. Chat Extensions lets users drop a brand’s bot into a Messenger thread to share music, dinner reservations and more.
Other updates help businesses and advertisers build and create:
- Smart Replies for Pages is a way for businesses to automatically reply to common questions, such as queries about operating hours and return policies. An AI-powered response lets you regularly answer customers quickly without a huge time investment.
- Parametric Messenger Codes allow businesses to have multiple parametric QR codes for one bot – a code for each table in a restaurant, for example.
- Hand-Over Protocol makes it possible for brands to work with more than one developer to diversify the Messenger experience. If you have a personal shopping bot and a customer service bot, you can better manage individual requests.
In its reporting on F8, Engadget highlights the idea that Facebook wants to make consumers lives more seamless with Messenger, whether they’re interacting with actual humans or chatbots. At the moment, Facebook seems to be leveraging bots to help businesses improve their use of Messenger.
Tips for Using Messenger for Business
Facebook’s Messenger for Business is designed to help brands begin conversations and develop relationships with potential and existing customers. According to Facebook, 56 percent of people would rather message than talk on the phone, and 53 percent are more likely to shop a brand with whom they can directly message.
With this one channel, advertisers can provide information, send reminders and manage an efficient checkout process. For example, cosmetic giant Sephora turns conversations into conversions by using Messenger to display customers’ preferred services and location, then offer customized appointment options and bookings accordingly.
Per a survey by Nielsen, messaging in general has a global and multi-generational appeal, and users expect it to increase in the coming years. Better yet, they like it: 76 percent say messaging improves their lives and half of respondents feel it’s improved their relationships.
The takeaway for advertisers is to:
- Find a messaging mission that both supports business goals and enhances customer experiences.
- Consider the region of your target market, and adjust for markets that either feel at home with messaging or are just getting used to the idea.
- Be willing to learn and refine as you go, and as platforms like Facebook’s continue to evolve.
For more on using Facebook Messenger bots in a business setting, check out this chatbot guide from Social Media Examiner. Automation done well can provide great customer service.
Advertising and marketing need to move at the speed of Facebook these days, and keeping up with the Messenger and other advancements is a great way to set your successful pace.