It’s official: the bots are coming to take over. The head of Facebook Messenger, David Marcus, has announced that developers will soon be able to create chat bots for the hugely popular app. These bots will essentially appear just like friends within the app, and users will be able to message them to get them to carry out particular tasks, such as shopping, booking tickets for events, and searching for information on specific topics.
The bots will be able to present users with curated content targeted towards their interests, and the possibilities have been demonstrated at Facebook’s annual California conference. The plan is for these bots to gradually gather information about users as they go about their everyday business on Facebook, learning what kind of stories they like to see on their timelines and what type of products they are interested in.
Based on this information, brands may then be able to contact people through Messenger, targeting the people who seem most likely to be interested in their product or service. This will be in the form of a chat thread, the same way users chat to their friends using the app. With over 900 million Facebook Messenger users, this could open up a vast new potential audience for businesses throughout the world, adding a whole new dimension to their social media marketing strategies. With the advertising taking the form of a chat thread, it will also give businesses the chance to form personal relationships with their customers, giving them the chance to create a positive, helpful and attentive image.
The new bots have already been trialled in the US, and they will be rolled out for businesses across the UK later this year. One of the first companies to be trialled is the airline KLM. When users have booked a flight, a conversation will be started, which people can use to get more information about their flight, check in, or make changes to their booking.
We’ve mentioned in many previous blogs that one of the keys to a successful online marketing campaign is to tailor all your content towards your target audience, and with developments like this in the pipeline, it seems that’s soon going to become easier than ever before. By enabling businesses to communicate directly with potential customers, Facebook Messenger will be providing a platform for proactive digital marketing and hopefully enable positive relationships between businesses and new customers.