In the month of May, Facebook held its yearly FB conference. The event is where Facebook discusses the overall future of the social media platform and unveils upcoming developments and features to developers, entrepreneurs, and other professionals. This year, the company announced a number of Facebook Messenger features which are marketing-focused, and a whole lot of improvements to its Messenger service.
In this post, we shall be looking at the 5 new Facebook Messenger features you should expect to see in 2019.
5 New Facebook Messenger Features, 2019
- Messenger Desktop App
This is actually the least important update, but at least let me talk about it. Facebook is creating a desktop app for Messenger.
The reason I don’t classify this feature as life-changing for business is because you can already use Messenger on a desktop device. This can achieve by simply login into Facebook and head over to your messages.
However, Facebook mentioned that one of the primary functions and goals behind this desktop version of Messenger would be as a collaboration tool. The desktop Facebook Messenger empowers teams to; have video calls, collaborate on projects, or multitask while chatting.
- Messenger Becomes Lighter, Faster, and Leaner
Facebook will redesign its Messenger app to be faster, and occupies less storage space on devices. They have labeled the project “LightSpeed”, and the goal is a Messenger app that launches in under 2 seconds and requires only 30MB to install.
To achieve this, they’ve “rebuilt from the ground up on an entirely new code base,” which means we’ll have a Messenger app that is just more optimized for today’s need for fast loading and immediacy.
- Close Friends Groups
One of the new Facebook Messenger features that could be worrisome to businesses is “Close Friends Groups”. At the moment, it is unclear what the official name for this feature will be, but the focus is to help Facebook users have a dedicated space to connect and share with their closest friends and family.
Facebook wants its users to be able to share content with close friends and without the fear that others will see, or that it could be held against them in the future.
Alternatively, B2B marketers could use these groups as a convenient, dedicated space when communicating with all interested parties at a prospective client’s company.
- Better Group Viewing
Group video watching is a growing trend. The is evident in the success of streaming platforms like Twitch, with 15 million daily active users, and YouTube’s thriving community.
Facebook also has its eyes on enhancing their users’ ability to engage with video content together. We have first seen this manifest itself on Facebook through live streaming.
Then, last July, Facebook created Watch Parties. This feature allowed groups to host a Watch Party, where users view and chat about site-hosted videos collectively and in real-time. These parties create much more engagement, as high as 8x the comments than a normal video posted to Facebook.
For Facebook, the logical next step for Watch Party and communal video watching is Messenger. According to Facebook, users will, “be able to seamlessly share a video from the Facebook app on Messenger and invite others to watch together while messaging or on a video chat.”
This will be a really powerful feature, especially combined with the Messenger desktop app. One of the main functions for Messenger on desktop will be group video calls.
The added benefit of being able to collectively watch videos together will be great for internal business decision making, but also marketing.
- Messenger Lead Ads Templates & Appointment Booking
I actually saved the best new Facebook Messenger features for the last. This new feature has the most immediate marketing potential for businesses.
Below is Facebook statement to the development:
- Messenger Lead Ads Templates & Appointment Booking
I’ve saved the best for last. This update has the most immediate marketing potential for businesses.
“We’re making it even easier for businesses to connect with potential customers by adding lead generation templates to Ads Manager. There, businesses can easily create an ad which drives people to a simple Q&A in Messenger to learn more about their customers. And to make it easier to book an appointment with businesses like car dealerships, stylists, or cleaning services, we’ve created an appointment experience so people can book appointments within a Messenger conversation.”
This means that businesses can easily use Facebook and Messenger to qualify leads through the Q&A, and then convert them via an appointment booking.
The process is largely automated and Facebook has added more templates and responses to help give the illusion of a real customer service agent.
That said, this feature is not actually a chatbot. So, there could be some issues with open-ended responses or longer user inputs. In these cases, the lead can be passed on to a live, human agent.
Also, if a business chooses to invest in a Messenger bot with higher capability, it could open up even more opportunities to take advantage of this feature and to a much greater effect.
The ability to seamlessly move customers from their Facebook feed, to a Messenger chat and book them an appointment really delivers on the omnichannel experience that consumers are increasingly expecting from their favorite brands and businesses.
Facebook is slowly rolling out the appointment booking features to different business types. Stay tuned for your opportunity!
Facebook is placing a lot of focus on privacy here, and enhancing connections between “closest friends”, against the entire cyber space.
In reality, these new Facebook Messenger features open up new marketing doors and even present some fresh channels with huge potential impact.