It’s no secret that Facebook Messenger has emerged as one of the most valuable (free) tools for social media marketing. In fact, according to Facebook, Messenger now boasts more than 1.3 billion monthly active users and 200,000 active bots. With such a wide user base, it’s no wonder that Facebook has decided to focus on making Messenger an even more useful business communications tool in 2018.
If you’re not yet using Messenger for your small business, I highly urge you to start—and I’m not the only one. Business Insider recently wrote, “Messenger is leader for much of the Western chat app industry, so any changes it undergoes in 2018 will have wide implications for both users and businesses.”
Watch for these features coming to Facebook Messenger this year:
A Simpler Interface
Anyone who has used Messenger knows that it can be a little, ahem, confusing. If you look at the bottom of the message window, you’ll see no less than eight icons there, most of which you probably didn’t even know about. As Facebook states, “Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t.” Fortunately, Facebook has realized the app is suffering from “feature bloat,” so expect a simplified interface to debut this year.
Messages Objective for Ads
This is an exciting change that is available now in Facebook’s Ads Manager. The new Messages objective gives you a way to directly open conversations by delivering ads only to those who are most likely to have a conversation with you using Messenger. Ad Espresso offers, “This new feature will be perfect, especially if used in combination with click to Messenger ads, to generate leads, offer support, answer questions and drive transactions!”
Along the same lines as Messages Objective, Messenger Broadcast is yet another cool way to communicate. Though it’s still in testing, this feature is expected to allow you to easily send mass messages to people who have engaged with your business page before. As explained by Ad Espresso, “You can include a welcome message, a title and subtitle, and a call to action for the user such as visiting the business’ website, prompting a Messenger bot or tapping to send a preset reply written by the business.”
Did you know that there were 17 billion video chats on Messenger last year? With demand for visual messaging rising, Facebook has plans to add to its capabilities in 2018, though details have not yet been released. TechCrunch predicts: “I suspect that Facebook’s instant split-screen group video chat Bonfire, which mimics teen app Houseparty, could go from a standalone app testing in a few countries to being baked more directly into Messenger in some form.” On top of that, this year will mark the introduction of Messenger Kids, a visual-first app that enables family members to video chat with kids as if they were face to face.
Which new features are you most excited about for your business?