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Do’s and Don’ts for Reaching your Audience Through Messenger

In a new report examining the art of communication, Facebook detailed the top five channels of interpersonal information exchange. Care to take a stab at what topped the list?
If you guessed messaging, then you were right.
Compared to social media, email, video chat and face-to-face communication, messaging was the undisputed leader in the clubhouse. A whopping 67 percent of people increased their use of the channel over the last two years according to the study as reported by AdWeek.
With growth like that, it’s no wonder Facebook is invested heavily in messaging. In 2014, they acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion. And in July, they globally launched a variety of Facebook Messenger ad options for businesses. There’s a major market to be captured through messaging services and Facebook is assisting brands in their quest to capitalize on it.

Why consider reaching your audience through Messenger?
For starters, there’s a significant user base that exists on platforms like Facebook Messenger. By the end of this year, eMarketer projects that Messenger will have a userbase of 125.4 million people in the United States, alone. By 2021, that figure is projected to increase 15 percent to 144.3 million.

In addition, Messenger users are heavily active and engaged. According to a study by Verto Analytics, the average time spent by Facebook messenger users surged by 40 minutes over the last year. The duration of an average user session has also risen from 51 seconds in 2016 to a minute and 25 seconds in 2017.
Integrating Messenger into a campaign can also diversify a brand’s placements on Facebook. Since enabling brands to advertise on its platform, Facebook has expanded the number of areas where brands can promote themselves. Between Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger, there are a dozen different possibilities.

Related to that is the fact that reaching your audience on Messenger can also combat a phenomenon that’s become known as “feed fatigue”. Over the years, Facebook’s News Feed has established itself as the most popular placement choice for brands and advertisers. But there’s growing evidence that indicates people are becoming tired of the never-ending flow of content it provides. As a result, ads may be losing some of their effectiveness, making apps like Messenger prime for the taking.
So when it comes to reaching your audience on Messenger, what should you do? Outlined below are some do’s and don’ts you can take into consideration.
Do see messenger as a tool to provide customer solutions. But don’t send out unsolicited messages to potential customers.
In 2016, Marriott’s first attempt at using Messenger as a platform to reach customers was not a roaring success. According to Digiday, the hotel and resort chain tested a strategy that retargeted their audience with ads in Messenger instead of Facebook’s News Feed. As a result, customers were sent a bevy of messages they didn’t opt in for, leading to an understandably upset audience base.
Do be nimble and make campaigns optimizations at a rapid pace. Don’t sit back and hope for the best.
Although Marriott’s first crack at reaching customers on Facebook Messenger didn’t go too well, they did have the awareness to respond quickly to the negative feedback. They promptly pulled the plug on the campaign despite running it for only two hours.
Amanda Moore, Marriott’s Senior Director of Social and Digital Marketing, said this to Digiday about her company’s philosophy to expeditiously iterate.
“You have to listen to the feedback and take action,” she said. “Messaging is not one of those areas where you have three to six months to test and learn. The feedback is immediate and you need to be nimble in implementing changes and continuously improving.”
Do build a chatbot that interacts with customers and offers them useful information. Don’t, however, expect your audience to know where to engage it.
Digiday reported that companies stated their biggest challenge in employing Messenger bot campaigns was driving the necessary traffic and awareness around them. Facebook, though, has provided a solution by offering brands an ad type that encourages users to engage with a brand using Messenger.
Businesses can also drive awareness by other means. Scheduling organic posts that are themed around the availability of a chatbot or promoting a call to action on your company website can help generate activity around this useful feature.
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