Arjun Ohri went joined Facebook Blueprint to talk about the future of messenger marketing for businesses and brands.

The Future of Messenger for Businesses

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Posted by Facebook Blueprint on Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Listen in as they cover a wide range of topics, including how to engage your audiences without spamming them, intelligently automate common customer flows using a conversational interface, and earn more ROI for your marketing spend.

Or read through a partial transcript highlighting ShopMessage.


Chidi: [00:08:20]

And Arjun, like Christian, you’re representing a developer perspective. What would you say is important in terms of some of the use cases you’ve seen where Messenger works and even where Messenger doesn’t work.

Arjun: [00:08:30]

Sure. So first of all, let me with Messenger you have the opportunity to really. Meet people where they actually are, you know, all the stats are saying that the biggest growth is coming from 1 to 1 and small group messaging and so people are spending more time within the Messenger apps.

So, you know with that, that really gives you the opportunity to be more be more personalized and be more engaging. So in terms of the actual use cases where thing that especially in the e-commerce world. There’s a few that advertisers really taking advantage of. So I would say first of all is just helping users, just helping customers actually go through and finish their purchase or finish whatever goals that they have.

Oftentimes for e-commerce, their goals are things like their ROAS or their conversion rate and making sure customers are happy throughout their customer journey.


Continuing The Conversation

Arjun: [00:09:09]

So with Messenger the best use cases are first of all, tying what customers are doing on their site which is where most of the activity takes place to actually a Messenger conversation.

So if somebody’s adding a few products to their cart and they’re really kind of deliberating what they should buy. How do you follow up later on in Messenger and really give customers a personalized experience to either continue that conversation either with the bot or with the person or just have a direct link to go back and finish the purchase that they started and then so and then overall the scenarios that work best or when you’re figuring out where your customers are in their life cycle and making sure you have the right message.

Throughout the life cycle.

Chidi: [00:09:45]

Okay, you mentioned returned as Ben mentioned purchases, which should advertisers be thinking about when they’re talking about how to should I actually optimize?

Arjun: [00:10:01]

Right. So most of our— a lot of the advertisers that we see be very successful on Messenger, they’ve already been really successful they already invest heavily on Facebook and Instagram already and so Facebook and Instagram for the stories and for the newsfeed are great for product Discovery and really kind of give them the public, like giving a public view of your brand and so when Brands want to actually get into Messenger. Then this gives them opportunity to be more personalized in their in their messaging. So in terms of what they should actually do is first of all building up that Messenger Channel through on-site capture, allowing users to opt in while they’re on the website and also using click to Messenger ads in case that there’s not already an open conversation. Maybe you can start a conversation with the brand after they’ve already considered your product. And then lastly is re-engaging users later on through sponsored messages that— they can be Promotional and we’re seeing customers drive over 30x ROAS.

If you want to tell somebody you can get 30x ROAS on an ad Channel people usually say, like sign me up. So this is really an opportunity for advertisers to get a great return on their investment while giving customers a good experience.


Abandoned Carts

Chidi: [00:18:34]

When people drop off and then with Messenger you can get back to that person where they actually left off.

How do you think about that? Like what are the benefits of being able to get back to somebody right where they left off?

Arjun: [00:18:46]

Sure, so, I mean generally if you talk to Merchants talk to eCommerce Merchant, the biggest problem tends to be abandoned carts. So advertisers are spending so much money to acquire a customer suggest come to their site and browse around and a lot of these customers are legitimately interested in buying a product.

They’re they’re adding products to their cart. And for whatever reason they don’t finish the purchase. That can be because they’re distracted or they just they just forget or you know, maybe they don’t have the right kind of, like a coupon or discount or like sense of urgency to  pus- to push them, really, over the edge.

And so what that what we found is how do we turn Messenger into a revenue channel to actually take these customer Journeys that are already happening on the site, but getting them to actually finish the purchase and so what we found is first of all, the best thing to do is making sure that the message that’s going to the customer via Messenger is not something generic like “hey, you should come back and buy something” but instead it actually takes a context of what they were actually browsing, what was in their cart. How do we show pictures of it? Show you a description again, maybe show you some reviews and why you should trust the brand and then sending that over and then one of the things that we found is when customers get these messages first of all, it’s very highly contextual.

I mean it’s within 30 minutes of them actually browsing the site. So you’re seeing these 80% plus open rates just on just on getting that first message and then beyond that advertisers have a lot of flexibility in what they can do to ultimately get that purchase.

So for some advertisers discounts are really what drives it. So giving a unique discount code to that user over Messenger that only they have that they can go and make finish that purchase that’s really valuable. But for some other brand especially higher-ticket items, Well customers customers always love discounts. But sometimes it’s something else. Sometimes they want to know about the return policy.

They want to know about the reviews. Sometimes they want to know about like just generally like how long how long is this product gonna take to get to them tell me about the shipping. So Messenger is a great time to then pick up where the customer left off on the site and to try to make it a more of a conversation to get these customers questions answered and ultimately get them to make the purchase.


Easy 15-minute Integration

Chidi: [00:20:52]

Okay, and Arjun while we’re on you I have a question from the live feed from Christine. Christine wants to know how challenging is the integration of Messenger? And then also, can you give some examples specific to the retail industry?

Arjun: [00:21:05]

Sure, so, you know the nice part about Messenger is even though there’s this whole Holy Grail of integrating your entire company systems with Messenger.

It’s actually very very simple to get started. Especially if you’re an e-commerce brand. So, you know one thing that we spend a lot of time at  ShopMessage is if you’re a retail brand then you can get started in just 15 minutes and especially if you use a platform like a Shopify, Magento or Salesforce Commerce Cloud, we integrate with these platforms such that when you when you get started then automatically you can start prompting people on your website to opt into Messenger automatically.

You can set up some of the best practices in terms of abandoned cart flows, receipts, maybe a shipping notification or a post purchase follow-up. And then and automatically you can set up a FAQ of some of the most common questions. So this can take as little as 15 minutes to get set up with the basic experience.

And then from there really many advertisers go and add a lot of customization. The advertisers that perform the best are the ones that actually take their brand voice and actually put it into the Messenger, putting into the Messenger experience.

So, for example, we worked with a company who they’re selling toilet bidets. So, to millennials, And which is a really funny product and it was it was really it was really going viral and instead of in their abandoned cart message saying “hey, did you leave something behind?” Their message said “Pssss! Did you forget to flush?” And so and it had the person’s name in it and it was something that was very authentic to that brand.

So I would say, like even though it takes 15 minutes to get set up the more an Advertiser puts their own voice into it and add some things that are really authentic to the brand then the Messenger experience only gets better for customers and drives more revenue.


Bridging the Gap Between Marketing & Customer Service

Arjun: [00:32:06]

One of our favorite examples of an experience that kind of bridges the gap between customer service and actually marketing is a project that we did with American Eagle Outfitters.

And so what they noticed is that they had a really big push for selling jeans and bras during the back-to-school season last year and with so many skus, with thousands of skews it can get a little overwhelming. So just like you have a person like a physical person at a retail store who would, who would help you with your purchase, they tried to make sure that they could provide that experience with Messenger.

So the experience was you go to, if the system detects that you’re browsing for a pair of jeans on American Eagle. It, on ae.com the customer chat plugin, through Messenger can actually pop up on site and ask if you need help choosing a perfect pair.

And then one of the great Parts about Messenger is instead of users having to type in “Yes, I need help. I’m looking for this, and this, and this.”Messenger actually provides lots of quick replies and buttons so that yeah we were able to offer, first of all identify when users are actually browsing for jeans and then give them a quiz of just three to five questions to find the best pair of jeans for you.

Basically, so based on the fit you like the kind of color you like and you know what your personal style is. And the result is that the conversion rate for the people who are able to interact with this was almost three times the– versus ones who did not actually get this experience. And that’s really valuable because not only did these conversations lead to more sales, but whenever someone had an actual question, they can ask that question. And then if they needed someone from customer support to answer that question, then they had a channel to do so. So it really is possible to really bridge the gap between marketing and customer support. It just takes a little bit of thought about where the customer is in their Journey.


Click-To-Messenger Ads for Lead Generation

Chidi: [00:37:14]

One more question from the live feed because this is a popular question right here. So Brie wants to know “how can I use messages to actually generate lead ads, right generate leads in general?

Arjun: [00:37:26]

Yeah. Sure. So one of the nice things about Messenger is that because you have these quick replies and really simple interaction scheme, then it works very effectively for lead generation.

So one one scenario that we found works pretty well is running click to Messenger ads. So there’s really two scenarios one scenario is if you want to try to get brand new leads then using click to Messenger ads where the result is, you’re not going to a website, but you’re opening up a Messenger conversation and you can just with a few taps,

you can really get a lot of Engagement and get a lot of information from the customer. One nice thing about Messenger is, when a customer comes in and starts engaging with it, they don’t need to enter their name. Like Facebook already knows their name. They, if you want to capture email address or phone number you can do that with just one tap.

So, you know a lot of the basic questions that when you go to a website you have to fill out, Messenger just makes that totally seamless and then you can start getting to the meat of it. You can start getting to what are the important questions that qualifies somebody as being a lead or not. So, so click-to-Messenger adds to a lead-gen conversation works particularly well.

And the thing that makes it, Messenger even a better channel for this is let’s just say somebody drops off in their flow and they don’t finish it off. You can send the reminder later on, or the next day, saying “hey you want to pick up where you left off?” And and then, the customer, it’s very easy to do that.

They don’t have to go back to a website. They don’t just start from the beginning. They can just continue on with the flow. So that’s been a really positive flow and a, the case where Messenger is going to be increasingly used for lead-gen scenarios.

Chidi: [00:39:06]

So it’s clear to me that Messenger is really powerful.

What about the costs associated with Messenger? How would you guys respond to that argument if you can go first?

Arjun: [00:39:16]

Sure, so the cost of just getting a basic Messenger experience up, I mean, we are, ShopMessage offers both a managed service for large Enterprises. But also we have a self-serve version that starts to just like a 30-day trial and then nine dollars a month.


Large Enterprise Costs

Chidi: [00:39:31]

So really how would you define large Enterprises if you don’t mind me asking?

Arjun: [00:39:33]

Good question. So large Enterprises are the ones that tend to require a lot of integration with their other systems that generally have multiple teams within their, within their organization that you have to work with to make sure the experience is approved and works across these multiple organizations. Often times, there’s a lot more requirements for integrating with other forms of software. And to be honest. This is actually where Christian and Snaps, his company, is really, really excels, and they have a lot of experience in it. So. Yeah, you know that said one point that I think I’d want to get across, Is that even if you are a large Enterprise you don’t have to spend months and months to get everything integrated to get value over, out of Messenger.

The nice part about it is you can have a go to market strategy doesn’t matter if you’re like a one-person Shopify store or if you’re doing a billion dollars plus in sales online. You can get started with the most with the most common flows, which is you know, how do you welcome customers to your site?

How do you give them abandoned cart messages, receipts, shipping notifications, automate some customer support. And that starts, is as little as nine dollars. And then that said if you want to invest in sponsored messages to re-engage customers after the fact those, the price, the cost is really as much as a business wants to invest.

What we are seeing is over 30x ROAS for some of our customers who are using it. Blenders Eyewear is a great example of a sunglasses company based in San Diego. That you know the one that when they run a promotion it’s very few and far between they have a really they have a high quality product, but you know when the do run the promotion they’ve used sponsored messages to reach out to really really like, segmented groups of people with a personalized message and those are converting at 30x ROAS plus and that just outperforms any other channel.

So, you know if you’re getting a 30x ROAS and your cost is really like how do I put more money into it? That’s the question that you’re asking.

Chidi: [00:41:33]

Sure.

Arjun: [00:41:34]

And then likewise for click to Messenger ads, you know, we don’t recomm– we don’t, it doesn’t have to be a massive a multi-thousand, a multi-million dollar investment into ads. You can run basic test to see what kind of conversion you’re getting, and then use those as the ability to really decide how to invest further.

So I really want to dispel the notion that it requires a significant cost or time investment to get value out of the Messenger channel.


Grow Early with Data-Driven Best Practices

Arjun: [00:44:31]

I was just gonna say like thinking more long-term. It’s very clear that that conversation and messaging is going to be very core to interacting with businesses over the next five, ten years.

And of course if we look at examples like in Asia where messaging is just so central to how people engage with businesses and the US really has an opportunity to grow.

So, for brands, this is really, this is really the time to get started. If advertisers want to make the most out of the conversational channels, best to get started early. And it’s just like if you were early to building a authentic Facebook presence or building an Instagram following, this is really the time to just try to, try to get started now and like like you’re saying like the value of working with a partner like like ShopMessage or Snaps is that we can help take all the best practices that we’ve learned over the years of with other businesses and just apply those directly to your, to your to your experience. As like the baseline experience that we know converts well. That Brands can then go and customize on top of it. But they’re not starting from scratch, they’re starting from something that they know converts. There’s data around. For example, like if you are going to do an abandoned cart flow, you know, if you, for brands that provide a 10 to 15 percent discount, they actually double the conversion rate.

So if discounts or something that’s part of your existing brand strategy, and then that is some that’s a useful data point to know as opposed to having to test everything from scratch.


Localizing Global Content

Arjun: [00:53:54]

Seeing actually examples for many global, global advertisers. They need to make sure they have a pretty localized experience for each market they work with.

So we found in Messenger that that amounts to a few things. Number one is just the language. Making sure that if you’re browsing a site, you know in Spain then you’re going to get you’re going to get your message back, like, in Spanish. So and no matter what, no matter what version of a site you’re browsing you’re going to get the appropriate language.

And then secondly is it’s not just the language. It’s also nuances about the language and the interaction style. So, you know in some depending on your brand and depending on the locale, sometimes you might want to, a more informal tone versus one that’s a little bit more formal. And and so working with global advertisers, we can help really give the ability to have a, separate separate messaging for each language you work with.

And then lastly is now with GDPR and other actual regulations laws that are in place, then it’s really important to make sure that what with each, with wherever the customer is based, that you’re able to be respectful of these laws. So, you know people in the US might see a slightly different experience and someone in a GDPR based country.

So these are all things that– I don’t say these two kind of like scare people away. I think these are really an opportunity to give a personalized experience no matter where in the world your customers are.


Arjun: [00:57:21]

And then lastly is for especially for e-commerce companies that want to get started today, the best thing you can do to make your messages more personalized is making sure that it’s actually just integrated with your site and that you’re set, you’re send– you’re continuing the journey as opposed to starting from scratch.

So, I mean we’re really excited about Messenger and it really is going to be the future of how people talk to businesses. It’s already how people talk to each other. So we’re excited.

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