Facebook is rolling out ads on its news feed that open directly into Facebook Messenger chats, giving brands the opportunity to go from mass targeting to one-to-one conversations in a single click.
The development will offer consumers a native brand experience, mixing customer service and storytelling in a way that also benefits the bottom line, according to Facebook vice president of messaging products David Marcus, speaking to Marketing Week at Web Summit in Lisbon today (8 November).
“For the first time advertisers can use the targeting capabilities of news feed to reach a very wide audience and then go one-to-one inside Messenger. We’ve seen different companies like BMW build an experience where you can configure a car inside Messenger and then make an appointment at a dealership, so go from brand advertising to engagement to sale,” Marcus explained.
“We see ourselves as really solving a problem between mobile web and apps, with a layer of emails on steroid. You have the ability to communicate, but at the same time build a native experience and unlike with email you never open a new thread so it is in context with all of your previous interactions.”
To help manage the customer journey, brands will also be able to send sponsored messages to consumers who have already opened a thread with them. Business will not, however, be allowed to send sponsored messages to Facebook users who have not previously opened a chat with them and users can block messages they no longer want to receive.
Having a permanent thread which brands can reopen to share news and updates will help create deep, ongoing conversations, said Marcus.
“If you want to get people to download an app now and turn on push notifications, good luck. We have app and notifications overload, so the ability to build that experience in Messenger and reach your customer base and manage the whole lifecycle is a very powerful thing,” he explained.
“If you redirect to mobile web the page loads slowly and once that person closes the tab and types in another URL there’s no way for you to get back to them. Whereas once you’ve opened that thread in Messenger you have this persistent thread of a communication channel to speak to an existing customer and that makes a world of difference.”
Directing consumers directly to Messenger is helping businesses drive conversion, according to Marcus. He cited the example of computer game Call of Duty, which saw 6 million people chat to a character via Facebook Messenger in 24 hours in order to unlock a trailer.
Taking the ‘dark’ out of social
While the term ‘dark social’ was coined to explain the difficulty in tracking referrals and links opened in private chats, now brands will be able to add reference parameters to a link to determine where their bot traffic is coming from. So if a consumer clicks on the m.me link (which opens in Facebook Messenger), brands can track the link and send them tailored messages.
“This enables developers to personalise the experience based on the origin of the click and at the same time also track performance marketing across all the advertising services they use,” Marcus explained.
“Now they have the ability to track end-to-end from the click to the conversion and they can do that from any source just adding the parameter to any URL, to create better personalised experiences inside a specific thread.”