Every month, an extraordinary 900 million people use Facebook Messenger to connect with friends, family, and businesses. But for the past 12 months, Facebook has been working diligently behind-the-scenes to improve the Messenger user experience. And this month we’ve seen the result, with the launch of the new Messenger Platform (Beta), now complete with bots and a Send/Receive API. But what does this mean for Facebook advertising?
Let’s start with what the platform itself offers – users will now be able to enjoy a deeper, more contextual and more intuitive Messenger experience. They’ll have the information they care about at their fingertips and will be better able to engage with businesses. The new bots feature will offer automated subscription content, keeping users up-to-date with the information that matters to them, for instance, local weather and traffic updates. They’ll also help people to connect better with businesses, such as by allowing them to make hotel bookings or restaurant reservations in a way that’s quicker, more convenient and more personalised. What’s more, businesses are now being invited to develop their own bots (provided they meet Facebook’s approval standards).
What does this mean for Facebook advertising? Perhaps that, via the new platform, advertising itself will become more fluid, intuitive and contextual. It’s not clear how ads will interface with bots and Facebook have stated that people will be able to block/mute information that they don’t want to receive. So businesses may find that they begin to shift naturally from a paid advertising model to a brand awareness/promotional model via the creation of genuinely useful, branded bots that act as handy tools for users. Then again, with advertising being Facebook’s core revenue source, it’s unlikely that ads won’t be a key feature of the new Messenger Platform.
Facebook say that their ultimate vision is to keep improving the Messenger experience through a growing community of developers, businesses, and users. The social platform is now opening its doors for businesses to create bots that better connect with customers. Will Facebook advertising change as a result of this? Only time will tell.