Facebook’s latest bulletins that they’re beefing up Messenger and including a bevy of latest instruments for companies to make use of Messenger to work together with prospects is simply the newest salvo in Facebook’s long-standing battle to change into actually indispensable in any respect levels of the client relationship cycle.
If can fairly be acknowledged that Facebook is already “winning” its combat to change into indispensable on the high and center of the funnel, as they’re now in the identical paragraph as Google as a buyer acquisition behemoth. Digital promoting expenditures surpassed offline spend for the primary time just lately, and Google and Facebook are by far the most important gamers (though Amazon is making up floor).
But, as each Facebook consumer is aware of, the corporate is operating out of actual property to put advertisements in News Feed, Instagram, and even Instagram Stories. Hence, their introduction of latest ad-customization instruments in Messenger and WhatsApp.
More necessary, nonetheless, is Mark Zuckerberg’s declaration that:
The future is personal.
A callous individual may recommend that this swing towards privateness, teams, and encrypted messaging is an overdue response to a collection of more and more eye-opening kerfuffles about Facebook promoting our information in methods which can be inappropriate at finest, and possibly illegal.
And sure, that’s a cynical viewpoint, that the corporate that dominates world communications in methods previously considered unthinkable would merely shift focus attributable to regulatory and buyer scrutiny. But, it’s not truly cynical sufficient.
You see, that is all a part of the PLAN at Facebook, and has been all alongside.
As I wrote about in The Facebook Messaging Push Is Not About Privacy — It’s About Control just lately:
“Taking over the role of SMS and email has been Facebook’s true master plan since the WhatsApp acquisition in 2014, and now that the news feed is waning, they are executing on that strategy, and wrapping it in a convenient veil of “we now love privacy.” Bullshit. They love income and the power to make use of messaging to study much more about customers, thus giving them the power to promote extra focused (learn: dearer) advertisements.”
And why do firms use messaging (whether or not electronic mail, SMS, or messaging apps)? Primarily to speak with CURRENT prospects, extra so than potential ones. You see, what Facebook is doing — and has at all times envisioned — is turning into the wiring for the way firms work together with shoppers as soon as they change into prospects. Because whenever you play that position it’s FAR tougher to be displaced.
You can transfer advert round from Facebook to Twitter to Google to show to no matter. You can take a look at campaigns. You can experiment. But you’re not going to A/B take a look at your order affirmation system. You’re not going to take a flier on the way you set appointments for your small business. Once that’s in place, you’ll do no matter it takes to not mess with it. The switching prices are too excessive.
TechCrunch describes Facebook’s new messaging and appointments options like this:
“After a tough begin to its chatbot program just a few years in the past, the place bots couldn’t determine customers’ open-ended responses, (Facebook’s) Chudnovsky says the platform is now selecting up steam with 300,000 builders on board. One possibility that’s labored particularly nicely is lead-generation templates, which train bots to ask individuals standardized questions to gather contact data or enterprise intent, so Messenger is including extra of these templates with completion reminders and seamless hand-off to a reside agent.
To let customers work together with appointment-based companies by way of a platform they’re already conversant in, Messenger launched a beta program for barbers, dentists and extra that may quickly open to let any enterprise deal with appointment reserving by way of the app. And with new authenticated m.me hyperlinks, a enterprise can take a logged-in consumer on their web site and move them to Messenger whereas nonetheless figuring out their order historical past and different data. Getting extra companies hooked on Messenger customer support may very well be very profitable down the road.”
You assume? Very profitable, certainly.
Want to Know Where Facebook is Headed? Watch WeChat
The one firm Facebook can’t contact (but) in time period of utility up and down the client journey is WeChat. In Asia, WeChat is EVERYTHING. It is interwoven into society way over Facebook is within the United States, or wherever. This is partially as a result of WeChat has at all times ridden on high of a messaging platform basically, and as Facebook’s Head of Messaging Stan Chudnovsky stated this week:
We consider you may construct virtually any utility on high of messaging.
And construct it, they may.
As of January 2019, WeChat claims over one billion DAILY customers. It’s so extremely widespread as a result of it by some means weaves collectively information, leisure, messaging, commerce, and video games into one mobile-only platform that isn’t unimaginable to navigate.
Embrace With One Eye Open
I’m not in opposition to Facebook Messenger. Or WhatsApp. Or even the brand new model they’re cooking up that may mix these two with Instagram messaging. In reality, I’d argue that these apps are among the many least objectionable components of the whole Facebook ecosystem, as they offer shoppers the best relevancy, most management, and best quantity of privateness — in concept.
But it’s necessary that earlier than all of us embrace Facebook’s pivot from public News Feed to personal teams and messaging, and their relocation of strategic focus from promoting to interactions, and their emphasis shift from buying your new prospects to interacting together with your present ones, that all of us perceive what’s actually occurring right here:
They are spidering your group. They are making themselves helpful in additional contexts, and all through the client lifecycle. And like gum in your shoe, when you step on it, it’s going to be even tougher to scrape off.