Facebook Messenger has become a completely different beast since it's launch in 2011. Now with an active audience pool of 1.3 Billion (with a B!), you would think Messenger would start to rest on its laurels a bit. If so, you'd be massively wrong and also shame on you for underestimating our supreme overlords at Facebook.
In fact, just in the past few months we’ve seen groundbreaking developments including the introduction of the customer chat plugin which brings the Messenger experience to retailers’ websites, a new app that makes it easier and safer for kids to video chat and message with friends (Messenger Kids), and a Pinterest bot that merges the Pinterest and Messenger experience.
Honestly, these leaps are just the tip of an iceberg that would give viewers of the Titanic PTSD. In 2018, Messenger could well become the most important channel for marketing in this industry.
One way in which Messager will have a massive impact is on the future of outbound marketing. We now spend an average of 5 hours a day on our phones, making it the main device we consume our media on. A lot of this time is spent on various social networking platforms... and Tinder for some. If brands want to communicate with us where we are, they must now be accessible in mobile messaging channels, especially Messanger.
Brands should view mobile messaging as a primary communication channel to send relevant information to customers. In some ways, you can think of this as email’s smarter, stronger, more potent new counterpart.
Before you jump on me for my blasphemist dig against email marketing just hear me out. In a recent study by Headliner Labs, they found that people are 3.5 times more likely to open a Messenger message than a marketing email. Now don't even lie to me, if you heard that a new strategy could improve your email open rate by 3 fold you'd be all over it. Well, this is what Messenger can now offer.
'But Lorcan', I hear you say, 'This is all well and good but can Messenger make an impact where it counts, like in my bank balance from online sales.' Firstly, thank you very much for that coincidentally leading question. Secondly, you bet your ass it can!
Right now, Messenger has a beta payments feature, a single-click payment option that has been in beta for some time, but new improvements make it seamless, simple and powerful. This means that a customer can search, discover, and buy products inside of a chat.
More importantly, customers can convert with a single, seamless action from effective messages sent to them by their favourite retail brands. Companies can send out messages to customers with shoppable units, and a customer simply has to hit “pay” to complete a purchase—no friction, no load time, no delay.
I could go on for days, waxxing lyrical about the potential for Messenger in 2018. How their no-coding-needed website chat plugin will change consumer retention rates and boost returning website traffic. How their Messenger bots can be used to reduce the man-hours needed to maintain excellent customer service. But I think, judging by the current movements from Facebook and the Messenger team in recent months, the platform itself will show off these key attributes very soon.
So what do you think? Will Messenger dominate in the digital marketing space in 2018 or am I just fanboying over exciting new developments in our industry?