Now we can have bots on our e-commerce sites with Drift and Intercom, in app bots on Kik and Telegram, and even virtual assistants like Google Assistant and Siri. They can be guided by simple rules or use machine learning to develop an understanding over time.
To put it simply, chatbots are cool. Perhaps that’s why we’re so interested in them. AI, AR, IoT… it all gets us thinking of the opportunities and the future innovations that will make our lives easier.
As marketers and business owners, bots present an opportunity for communicating with potential customers even when we aren’t available. They can answer questions, send us updates, remind us of meetings, and a whole lot more.
Today, we’ll be discussing Facebook Messenger Chatbots. It’s something most of us can relate to, and since Facebook Messenger has over 1.2 billion users, it appears that there’s s a large market to work with.
The next big thing, or just hype?
Before we chat with some top minds, let’s talk about where this all started and why chatbots have been such an intense area of focus for digital marketers, business owners, innovators, and futurists alike.
In early 2016, Facebook announced that they were offering a chatbot platform within the Messenger app.
This meant that companies had the opportunity to built bots which could respond to customer support inquiries, offer services/products, and share information, all at scale and affordably.
Other apps at the time offered bot platforms as well, such as Telegram and Kik, but Facebook was about to create an in-app experience that many of the other apps couldn’t offer.
Later in 2016, Facebook allowed messenger bots to accept payments in the Messenger app, using the credit card and address details from Facebook and Messenger profiles.
This meant that vendors could accept payments within the messenger app, rather than redirecting customers to a payment form, thus creating an environment with even less friction for purchase.
Plus, Facebook would be keeping people on their platform rather than redirecting users to a third party website. That’s a win for Facebook as well.
One last major point to note: people tend to engage with Messenger notifications more than they do with emails. This is especially important for content marketers.
This begs the question: if chatbots can garner more opens and clicks, why wouldn’t we invest time and money setting up campaigns to dominate on this new platform?
It’s a valid question. But before jumping into it, we need to be wary of shiny object syndrome.
Just because chatbot messaging appears to carry a lot of potential for small business owners and marketers, (not to mentions it seems like a “cool” new gadget to wield) it doesn’t mean we should jump head first into using them.
What do the top minds think?
Before you decide, let’s take a look at what some of the top minds think. I posed to them the following question to develop a better understanding:
What are your thoughts on Facebook Messenger Chatbots? Should companies be investing in them, or continue the focus on email marketing?
Here’s the feedback we received: