Instagram Ads Can Now Link To Messenger Accounts And Bots

What Happened
Facebook is ramping up the cross-platform promotion among its popular properties by allowing brands to buy ads from Facebook to run on Instagram that link to a brand’s account in Facebook’s messaging app. This means that brands can now add deep-linking codes to their photo, video, and carousel ads on Instagram, which will open up a specific messaging thread on Messenger for users clicking on them, enabling brands to drive conversations and promote their chatbots on Messengers.

What Brands Need To Do
This update reveals two things about Facebook’s conversational strategy. First, this indicates that Instagram probably won’t be getting chatbot anytime soon, a reasonable move considering that Instagram’s messaging section is already getting a bit crowded after incorporating Snapchat-inspired ephemeral messaging features. It helps to uphold the distinction between Instagram, the visual-heavy social sharing app, and Facebook Messenger, the all-in-one chat platform. Secondly, Facebook is betting on Instagram as a lead generator to rev up consumer interest, but opts to leave all the customer service tasks to Messenger, which has some advanced features such as payment support that Instagram lacks.

Messaging apps has become an increasingly important channel for brands to effectively reach mobile customers. Sephora recently launched a Facebook campaign with in-feed ads that directed people to Messenger, resulting in an 11% increase in makeup booking sessions. Bots can be a powerful and cost-effective tool for handling basic information requests, managing business bookings, and facilitating direct purchases. More brands should be coming up with a conversational strategy that include not only how to use bots to improve their brand messaging and services but also how to properly promote the bots.

 


Source: Marketing Land

NatGeo Creates Einstein Chatbot To Promote New “Genius” Series

What Happened
To promote its new Genius series based on the life of Albert Einstein, National Geographic channel is resurrecting the renowned physicist as a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. To introduce a more human side of the famed genius, NatGeo worked with interactive agency 360i and Imperson, a startup that specializes in building character-based bots, to create a Genius chatbot that showcases the personality of Albert Einstein and leverages Imperson’s AI technology to provide contextually relevant replies to whatever the user asks.

What Brands Need To Do
Chatbots are a natural fit for entertainment brands looking to promote their content on messaging platforms, as character-based chatbots offer an innovative way to engage with fans, drive social conversations, and build buzz for new releases. Previously, Sony Pictures created a chatbot based on the Red Queen character from Resident Evil: The Final Chapter to promote the movie’s theatrical release in January, and last May Paramount created a Kik chatbot to promote the Teenage Ninja Turtle movie. As machine learning and natural language processing technologies continue to advance, brands will be able to make increasingly smarter bots that will carry out a conversation and forge an emotional connection with consumers.

 


Source: Creativity Online

Facebook Rolls Out M Assistant To All Messenger Users

What Happened
Facebook’s AI-powered chat assistant M is finally ready to meet the public, just in time for its upcoming annual F8 developer conference. M will analyze your messages in the Facebook Messenger app to understand your intent and, when applicable, will pop up into chats to make suggestions or complete tasks on your behalf, such as calling an Uber or setting a reminder, based on the context of the conversations. Facebook has started rolling out M to iOS and Android users in the US, with a broader expansion around the globe in the coming months. Facebook first announced the AI assistant service in September 2015 but only started testing it in a limited capacity since last December.

What Brands Need To Do
The arrival of M on Messenger marks an important milestone in Facebook’s development of a conversational assistant service that can help it stay in competition with rivals such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.  Having a contextually aware smart assistant on standby would certainly bares huge potential in making Facebook’s messaging apps more brand-friendly, but for now, Facebook is taking a decidedly neutral approach to designing M with little room for brand integrations as of now. Nevertheless, the deployment of M still marks Facebook’s determination of building Messenger as a platform that brands of all types could benefit greatly from. And it is time to start expanding your customer service from phone call-based to include text-based messaging, reaching consumers on the platforms they already use.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive knowledge about reaching consumers on mobile messaging apps and building branded chatbots. The new NiroBot we build in collaboration with Ansible for Kia delivers comprehensive product information about the all-new Niro model via friendly chats. We’ve also built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue to help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: The Verge

Facebook Launches Its Latest Snapchat Stories Clone Messenger Day

What Happened
After months of testing in select markets such as Poland and Australia, Facebook today started to globally roll out its latest Snapchat Stories-inspired feature in Messenger. Dubbed Messenger Day, the new visual communication feature works in a similar way to the Instagram Stories, as a slew of disappearing photos and videos shared by your Facebook friends sit atop your chat threads. Users can embellish the photos and videos with filters, drawings, and stickers, just like in Snapchat. They can also reply privately to a friend’s Messenger Day with one tap.

One original feature Facebook added for Messenger Day, however, is the “call-to-action” stickers that people can add to their Messenger Day, which includes “who is up for dinner?” or “let’s grab a drink.” According to Facebook, this feature is designed to facilitate real-world meetups between friends by making it easier to communicate the desire for company and see who is free to hang out. Facebook says it will also insert ads in between Messenger Day content down the road.

What Brands Need To Do
This marks Facebook’s latest effort in curbing Snapchat’s growth and copying its camera-focused features. If proven popular, this feature could become a viable new ad channel for brands to reach Facebook Messenger’s one billion active users worldwide, a welcome addition for brands looking to reach mobile customers.  

We are approaching an age where cameras are increasingly becoming one of the primary input sources of our digital life. Beyond the visual communication features pioneered by Snapchat, we are also seeing some brands get in on with the trend. Mastercard is now allowing app users in Europe to authenticate their payments with a selfie, for instance. The surging prominence of visual input is set to bring a new set of opportunities and challenges that brands will need to learn to navigate in order to adapt to the shifting consumer behaviors.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Header image courtesy of Facebook Newsroom

Facebook Updates Messenger Platform To Enable Menu-Guided Chatbots

What Happened
Facebook has updated its Messenger platform to allow chatbot developers to disable the natural text input in bot conversations, instead relying on a pre-configured menu of topics and replies to guide users to discover the information they need or perform a certain task. Facebook Messenger first introduced Quick Reply buttons to speed up conversations, and has since expanded it to guide more parts of consumer-bot conversations. With the latest update, now brands can devise a chatbot experience that feels less like chatting to a friend and more akin to navigating a barebone mobile app.  

What Brands Need To Do
The move away from conversational replies, whether already formatted or freely typed, diminishes the magic of chatbots by limiting the conversations to pre-set topics. At the moment, it is too early to tell whether this update marks a shift in Facebook’s strategy in building its chatbot platform, or whether a significant amount of brands will take the easy way out and opt for a less native and conversational experience. Nevertheless, this update reveals two important trends in branded chatbot – one being that brands are having difficulties to craft a natural conversation flow to adequately serve customers, and another being that most AI powering the chatbots not mature enough to handle a freestyle conversation in natural languages.

At the end of the day, this is a symptom of growing pains in the development of conversational services, and Facebook’s update will serve as a temporary fix for brands wishing to establish the presence on Messenger but don’t necessary have the resources or technological capability to build a full-blown chatbot.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The “Miller Time” Alexa Skill we developed with Drizly for Miller Lite is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Marketing Land

Header image courtesy of Facebook’s Messenger blog

Facebook Starts Testing Display Ads In Messenger

What Happened
Ads are coming soon to Facebook Messenger as the social network announced its plan to start testing display ads in its chat app, which now counts over one billion monthly active users, in Thailand and Australia in the coming weeks. The ads will be in a scrollable Carousel format and will be limited to just the Messenger home screen, meaning that they won’t be infiltrating your conversations for now.

What Brands Need To Do
Given the global reach of Messenger, it makes perfect sense for Facebook to start monetizing the massive amount of consumer attention it has congregated on the chat app. It is, however, unclear how long it would take before such ad products will be made available to U.S. brands. In the meantime, brands looking to capture customer attention on chat apps should consider building a branded chatbot to engage with mobile users and drive conversations.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers on messaging apps. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related clients and learning opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

 

Facebook Adds PayPal Payments And Notifications To Messenger

What Happened
Facebook continues to build out the ecommerce capability of its messaging platform as it adds support for PayPal. Select U.S. users now have the option to link their PayPal accounts to their Messenger accounts and use it to handle payments and receive notifications directly within the Messenger app.

Previously, Facebook Messenger only supported debit cards for in-app payments, making this PayPal integration the first digital payment solution added on Messenger. Speculation swirled earlier this year that it would integrate Apple Pay as a payment option, but nothing ever materialized. Last month, Messenger enabled chatbots to accept payments directly within chats.

What Brands Should Do
By adding PayPal support, Facebook gives customers a new checkout option and enhances the payment experience on Messenger, which continues to improve as an emerging channel for brands to sell directly to customers. Retailers such as Everlane and Zulily are using the app as an ecommerce platform to connect with customers in a casual, messaging-based context, and other brands have been using chatbots to reach their audiences on one of the world’s most popular apps.

For more information on how brands can effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational platforms, check out the Conversational Interfaces section in our Outlook 2016 and our latest Fast Forward analysis on Messenger chatbots. If you wish to develop a branded chatbot to connect with consumers on messaging apps, please reach out and schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

Shopify Makes It Simple To Set Up Shop On Facebook Messenger

What Happened
Shopify is expanding its partnership with Facebook to make it easier for brands and merchants to start selling directly on Facebook Messenger. A new “Shop Now” button will appear when a user starts chatting with any Facebook Business Page store if that Page uses Shopify’s Messenger sales channel. Tapping the button opens an in-chat portal that showcases the merchant’s product catalog. Users can complete purchases via Shopify’s checkout portal without leaving Messenger.

What Brands Should Do
Earlier this year, Shopify released an iOS keyboard app that enables merchants to sell via various messaging and social apps. As it continues to explore the ecommerce potential in conversational contexts to cater to changing consumer behavior on mobile and a shift in brand-customer interaction, brands and retailers need to take note and start experimenting with conversational commerce.

To learn more about how brands can effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, check out the Conversational Interfaces section of our Outlook 2016.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Header image courtesy of Shopify’s promotional video

Johnnie Walker Would Like To Chat With You About Whiskey

What Happened
Whisky brand Johnnie Walker is embracing conversational interfaces as it launches a branded Alexa Skill and a Facebook Messenger chatbot. The Alexa Skill aims to aid product discovery by recommending whisky blends based on user input about taste preference and budget. It can also dispense whisky-related trivia and cocktail recipes. The Messenger chatbot shares similar functions and adds ecommerce integrations with services such as ReserveBar, Cocktail Courier, and Drizly to drive sales.

What Brands Should Do
More and more brands are embracing messaging platforms and voice-based smart devices to engage with consumers through conversations. For instance, fashion brand Coach recently abandoned its two-year-old iOS app and shifted its focus to its “Coachmoji keyboard” to connect with mobile consumers. For additional insights on how brands can effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, please check out the first section of our Outlook 2016.

The Lab has extensive experience with building Alexa skills and helping brands navigate the new realities that conversational interfaces are set to bring. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Digiday

Facebook Messenger Sets 24-Hour Reply Window For Bots, Tests Subscription Messaging

What Happened
Facebook has updated its Messenger platform policies to force chatbots to be more active and responsive. Chatbots on Messenger now only have 24 hours to respond to a message from a user. To sweeten the deal, Facebook is also allowing Messenger bots to send users promotional messages unprompted, but only within the 24-hour window of the last user interaction.

Moreover, Facebook is also testing a new Subscription messaging feature for specific use cases, including bots for news delivery, bots for productivity management, as well as bots that track fitness, health, and personal finance information. Subscription messaging must be opted in by a recipient and will have limited functionality. Unlike regular Messenger accounts, Subscription messaging allows brands to message users outside of the aforementioned 24-hour period, but promotional content is not allowed. These rules are very similar to WeChat’s business account rules.

What Brands Need To Do
As Facebook Messenger starts testing a similar model that divides Messenger accounts by use case, brands need to be aware of the distinction, learn from other brands’ successes on WeChat, and choose the type of messaging that best suits the objectives of their Messenger bots. Brands also need to be aware of the new 24-hour reply window for re-engaging users.

The Lab has extensive knowledge about building chatbots. If you’re interested in reaching your audience on messaging apps and better serving them with a chatbot, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Marketing Land