- Business Insider
People are now exchanging more than 60 billion messages a day through Facebook’s two chat products, WhatsApp and Messenger.
That’s three times the number of traditional SMS text messages sent per day, Mark Zuckerberg said on stage at the company’s F8 developers conference on Tuesday.
Businesses are about to get a bigger slice of that volume.
The company also announced its widely expected Messenger Platform to let businesses build intelligent chatbots to automate their conversations with users like you as the social network tries to completely revolutionize the way you communicate with companies.
Facebook’s thesis is that people hate talking on the phone and would rather do something – buy a shirt, order an Uber, make a dinner reservation, check their flight status – within a chat interface.
Facebook opened up Messenger to all businesses last year. And now, with chatbots, businesses can eliminate a lot of the human effort required for letting users “talk” to them through Messenger.
- 1 800 Flowers
“You’ll never have to call 1-800-Flowers to reach 1-800-Flowers again,” Zuckerberg said on stage.
Messenger currently has 900 million users around the world.
“You’re going to be able to build your bot for Messenger starting this afternoon,” Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus later said on stage.
“Today could be the beginning of a new era,” he said.
Facebook also discussed how its going to start making money from Messenger.
For example, it is going to let companies buy News Feed ads that will take users directly to their bots. Businesses are also going to be able to send potential customers blasts through “Sponsored messages.”
For users, Marcus promises that it’s going to be easy to block businesses that they no longer want to communicate with.
Overall, he said that four factors make Messenger so valuable for businesses:
“You’re going to spend more money than you’d want on this,” Marcus told to the conference audience, laughing, while showing off one of the Messenger bots that lets users buy clothes. “It’s really addictive.”
Of course, that’s exactly what brands want to hear. While Facebook announced a bunch of launch partners for Messenger Platform, it will need to prove that Messenger can actually drive sales to convince the biggest retailers to get on board.
Here’s how it would look to communicate with the shopping bot Spring: