An Introduction to Facebook Messenger and the World of Messaging Bots

James Bennett, Brand Development Lead for Facebook Messenger and Instagram, started by taking us back to his childhood, a time when having regular conversations with the man who ran the local sports shop was an essential part of the customer experience. Flash-forward to now and, with the advent of the internet and widespread availability of personal devices, Facebook believes it’s time to bring back 1-to-1 interaction, 21st-century style.

Businesses can now reach millions of people with the click of the button, but according to Nielsen research, ‘53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message’, showing us that having scale is not enough. This is where Facebook Messenger comes in, with a scale of around 1 billion users and also the ability to facilitate individual conversations both with humans and automated bots.

Four Use Cases for Messenger:

  1. Raising Awareness – using personal conversations
  2. Acquiring Customers – building a relationship and closing a sale
  3. Enabling Transactions – Native payment allows you to pay in-app
  4. Providing a service –  Having all the information in one chain

James shared a number of case studies, from Channel 4 Humans, a KLM flight booking service to a bot that learns about you then suggests possible dating matches. As the technology improves, it’s up to brands where they want to take things next. So if your client is interested, James gave us five points to consider:

  1. Determine your objective
  2. What is your project scope?
  3. Do you have the resources? (currently Facebook cannot create the bots in house)
  4. How do you drive users to messenger?
  5. Learn and share your feedback with Facebook, this is pretty new to them too.

I think one thing that was clear was that a more intimate, 1-to-1 approach could certainly help brands earn a greater share of people’s lives.


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