Facebook Messenger Bots: What Every Marketer Needs to Know

Opinion: We have seen a lot of brands leverage them for expedited customer service

Messenger bots have been the clear winner for 2017's best new marketing channel

Sophia the robot just made headlines by being the first artificial-intelligence-powered robot to get honorary citizenship from Saudi Arabia. This makes me feel like it’s time for us to embrace the machines and cozy up with a tool that more and more marketers are using these days: Facebook Messenger bots.

Messenger bots are autonomous digital messages that can answer questions, provide automated responses and be programmed with simple AI.

Messenger bots have been the clear winner for 2017’s best new marketing channel. We have seen a lot of brands leverage them for expedited customer service. Others have seen millions of daily users without a cent of acquisition spend after emerging from Instant Games, Facebook’s HTML5 game beta.

Bot-based Messenger applications capitalize on shareability and provide exponential growth, allowing players to invite groups of friends into an experience.

Messenger bots are particularly interesting if you have a Facebook Live show or a large Facebook page community and are looking to boost your engagement.

Having done a ton of experimentation, here are some key learnings from Lucktastic’s mad scientist investigations into the world of Facebook Messenger bots.

Three things to expect

  1. An initial burst: Launching a Messenger bot service is similar to launching any new channel. You will see a big spike upfront, pending on how meaningful you make the enrollment, and then a normalized steady state. Small bursts will also come from targeted promotions.
  2. Learning curve: Your customers will naturally have a learning curve. Keep your customer-service team in the loop and expect a spike in volume. For example, if you have a Facebook video that has a Messenger bot interaction and you post that video on YouTube, expect customers to try to activate the Messenger bot within the YouTube comments (they won’t be able to). Having a succinct description, pinned to the top of the comments section in Facebook, during the time of the event can help mitigate misunderstandings.
  3. Customer service: Once you have a Messenger bot associated with your page, all Messenger communications will auto-subscribe customers to the bot list—even customer-service interactions. So even when you are not actively pushing Messenger bot-based promotions, your list will grow. Make sure to give your customer-service team a heads up and develop a strategy to delineate marketing Messenger bot campaigns from everyday customer-service queries.

Important technology considerations

Make the most of Your Messenger bots

Facebook Messenger bots are a new and exciting communications channel. If you have a Facebook presence and you are not using them, you’ll fall behind all of the other smart marketers that are taking advantage of this new audience growth tool.

Like every marketing channel, they have to be treated differently, harnessing their unique strengths and measuring their performance using metrics that make sense for the medium. These tips should let you know what to anticipate on your first Messenger bot pilot and help guide you to success. Happy botting!

Alex Tarrand is vice president of marketing at rewards app Lucktastic.