If you're in the Chatbot industry or if you've been using Facebook Messenger as a customer support channel then chances are that you're fully aware of the latest Messenger feature available for businesses: Customer Chat Plugin.
How cool is that!
We actually spotted that plugin in late september on an eCommerce Website so we knew that Facebook was cooking something like that. But it was bound to happen anyway. Why you say?
Well, Facebook is already pretty well implented in terms of website real esate: tracking pixel, Facebook connect, likes and comments, you name it. But Messaging, which is a huge part of Facebook experience, was yet to be seen.
The conversational paradigm
Today an average consumer:
- has 3 messaging apps on their phone's home screen
- uses 3 different messaging apps per week
- sends 3 messages per hour
Those 3 metrics should be enough to convince you that Messaging is changing the online world.
Now, with 1.2 billion users and counting, Facebook Messenger is certainly the most used messaging app (along with its "twin" WhatsApp).
Leveraging that monstruous userbase to attract thousands of developers & marketers, Facebook opened its Messenger API, effectively democratizing chatbots in the process.
The question you could ask yourself is: why wait so long to offer a (very) simple plugin for websites?
Giant but cautious
Facebook innovates but also looks at trends. Even if F8 2016 saw the realease of Messenger platform and what could be called the "advent of bots", promises of AI were not quite kept. And that translated in F8 2017 focus shifting to other main topics. We heard chatbot industry people describing it as the end of the bot hype.
But still, with dozens of successful "website chat platforms" like Drift, intercom and such that display tons of success stories, you could say that messaging for businesses is not a risky bet anymore.
Well, folks at Facebook surely have reached the same conclusion. Cleverly enough (obviously), they paved a part of the way themselves by releasing the API, gathering data on how people interacted with pages through human or automated service (meaning bots).
Should you use Facebook Messenger for websites?
Let's get to the obvious right away: if you only use Messenger as a messaging channel and you're quite satisfied with it, then it's basically a no-brainer, just go for it. Especially if you're not a developer or do not have easy access to one.
But if you're on this blog then chances are that you're either part of a tech company or a tech-savvy yourself, hence you have options.
Another Facebook Brick
Two facts need to be stated:
- Enabling people to contact brands (through bots or not) on websites is not something new.
- Leveraging Facebook products on websites has been possible for a while now (Log in, comments, sharing, etc.)
The novelty here is that websites are one step closer to becoming just a part of the Social Media giant experience through the usage of the Messenger plug in.
That is both awesome and scary (sort of).
The Facebook account
Yes, chances are that a majority of users have a Facebook account so they can actually use the live chat. That also mean that you can contact them later on, which is definitely a pro.
Although the Facebook Messenger Policy is quite not flexible when it comes to contacting their users. The use of "promoted" messages will be more or less required: meaning spending money just like ads to send a message to someone that already started a conversation with a brand).
But chances are that some of your users won't have a Facebook account or aren't willing to use it for discussing with a brand.
Depending on your business case, you may not be interested in gathering facebook accounts data. Or perhaps you're looking for security and don't want facebook to access and use conversational data - like banking or medical information.
Facebook Messenger experience without Facebook
A bit of shameless promotion here.
Broid Web Chat gives websites the same experience as Facebook Messenger.
You'll be able to use all the best conversational features on your own terms 😉.
A quick word about Broid
Broid is a developer-first platform that puts messaging at the heart of your product. With the single integration of our API, you can converse with users over the top 20 messaging apps and also your website, with our own Web Chat widget.
Because we eliminate the needless complexity of messaging API integrations, you can focus on your roadmap and leave the messaging infrastructure to us.