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Facebook Messenger’s new feature – more annoying than a “poke”?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Will Facebook Messenger’s new chatbot capabilities drive away your customers?

facebook edited status fake news

Say hello to my little bot

In this advertising-saturated age, companies are always looking for better ways to engage customers. Personalization is becoming increasingly important, as is reaching customers via mobile.
So it seems like advertising through Facebook Messenger would be the perfect solution.

Messenger is already a wildly popular communication app for smartphone users worldwide. Companies are frequently using Facebook’s AI chatbots introduced to Messenger earlier this year to handle customer service questions.

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You’re now friends with chatbot

The chatbots help streamline communications with customers, who can stay in the Messenger app and don’t have to visit the company’s site, download their app, or call them to get help or information. David Marcus, Vice President of messaging products, announced at the 2016 Web Summit in Dublin that Facebook would expand options for companies to communicate with customers via Messenger.

Companies will now be able to link their ads on News Feed to Messenger. In other words, if a user clicks on ad in the News Feed, it can redirect them into a conversation via Messenger with the company (or rather, the company’s chatbot).

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More annoying than a “poke”?

What’s more, if you’ve already communicated with a customer via Messenger in the past, Facebook will now allow you to pay for the opportunity to send ads via messenger to that customer in the future.

For example, the video game Call of Duty sent its customers codes for a new trailer. Absolut Vodka sent customers vouchers for a free cocktail. Once the voucher was cashed in, customers also received a coupon for a free Lyft ride home.

Ongoing conversations are a great way to engage customers and give them all of the information they need to make purchasing decisions.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Sending ads via Messenger may backfire, as users might find it obnoxious and intrusive.” quote=”However, sending ads via Messenger may backfire, as Facebook users might find it obnoxious and intrusive to see ads alongside personal messages from friends and family.”]

Not in my Facebook backyard

To protect their privacy, users will be able to block all further communications from a company with one click. So if your ad rubs someone the wrong way, you might lose contact with that customer forever.

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Marcus worried about user backlash at first, but after testing the feature earlier this year, he says he’s “not concerned.” A company can’t “cold call” new customers, and can only contact users they’ve already talked to. Marcus believes this will “preserve the integrity of the platform.”

Billy, don’t be a hero

Nonetheless, your customers might not be happy to see your ad popping up among personal messages. It might be wise to let some other companies test out the new feature until Facebook users get used to the idea of sharing their inbox with brands.

#fbchatbot

Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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