- Facebook unveiled today an update to Messenger, the social network's chat application with more than 20 million business users, that makes conversations with customers more seamless between the app and websites. Messenger Platform 2.2 adds dozens of updates and new features while also supporting current payments, natural language processing (NLP) and rich media, according to a press release made available to Mobile Marketer.
- Adore Me, Air France, Argos, KLM, Mermaid Pillow, Volaris and Zalando are some of the first brands to participate in Facebook's closed beta test of the Customer Chat Plugin that lets users talk with businesses on their own websites and in Messenger without losing the conversation's history and context, per the release.
- Facebook also introduced a media template intended to boost customer engagement by letting businesses attach a call-to-action (CTA) button when sending videos, images and GIFs or sharing content from a webview, where webpages can be loaded inside Messenger. Previously, businesses could only send media as standalone items.
Messenger Platform 2.2 was developed to extend the chat program's interactions to a business's website without losing the conversation history — one of the most highly requested features by customers, Facebook said. As the number of chat options proliferate, one challenge for brands is keeping track of the various ways it has engaged with a customer, which can lead to a bad experience for customers if they have to repeat information previously provided. Messenger Customer Chat could be a welcome way to address this challenge while helping shore up Messenger's role as a cross-platform chat service.
Facebook Messenger, which has more than one billion users worldwide, has clearly evolved from a simple chat app among friends into a broader platform that allows for more complex interactions between businesses and their mobile customers. That development includes support for chatbots that automatically handle customer queries and the ability to handover conversations to a live customer service representative when necessary.
The platform update follows last week's rollout of sponsored Messenger ads to more businesses. Unlike other Messenger ads, these sponsored messages that pop up on Messenger aim to reengage people they've already communicated with through directly sending them relevant promotions. But Facebook has limitations on how these in-Messenger ads can be used to prevent them from being too intrusive, as they resemble regular messages from friends, which could cause confusion with some consumers. The promotional messages may only be sent once in a 24-hour period. Also, they can’t be sent blindly to all users. Only people who have previously interacted with a business’s Facebook Messenger bot or account can be targeted with a sponsored chat, VentureBeat reported.