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Facebook Messenger 2.2 - Updates for Businesses

In November 2017 Facebook announced the launch of their messenger 2.2. Adding further opportunities for businesses to interact with (potential) customers within the messenger.

by Valerie Kolling

The messaging trend

More and more businesses are adapting to the change in the way customers communicate: messaging is a global phenomenon. Being used for private and business communication alike, messengers are the preferred channel for communication everywhere around the world.

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messengers used for communication that was launched in 2011. Its main focus: to enable users to chat with each other on the Facebook platform. Some time ago it also opened up to businesses allowing them to communicate with potential and existing customers within the messenger. Businesses did quickly explore this option for customer interaction and have found use in it.

Numbers from November 2017 prove this acceptance:

  • More than 2,1 billion people are using Facebook worldwide
  • More than 1,2 billion people are using Facebook Messenger worldwide
  • 20 million businesses communicate with their customers on Facebook Messenger

On the 7th of November 2017, Facebook announced the release of their messenger platform 2.2. The declared goal: to give developers and businesses more opportunities with the messenger to create experiences. The update includes the option of integrating the Facebook Messenger into existing company websites. With the help of the customer chat plugin, a small bubble appears on the bottom left of the company’s website allowing users to directly chat with a business. Currently in closed beta Mesaic is one of the businesses testing the new messenger update.

The update “Facebook Messenger 2.2”

Most important changes summarized:

  • Website integration
  • An update of natural language processing for more automation
  • API improvements

The website integration (as can be seen on the image) allows the customer to start a conversation within the Facebook Messenger on a business’ website and continue it on any other advice in the messenger app - seamless switching of devices and communication in the channel that customers are using on a daily basis.

The update 2.2 also brings payment possibilities within the messenger as well as support of natural language processing and chatbot integration. Features that aim to support businesses in using the messenger and create relevant benefits. Facebook is looking to make the implementation of Facebook Messenger as attractive as possible to a business in order to get as many as possible to use it - probably because of the potential for monetization.

Further updates in the messenger: It will be easier for businesses to send out a large number of messages at once as Facebook improves their processes. Natural language processing will be developed further and also supports other languages than English. Additionally other updates focus on an analysis of mapped conversations and improvements for business settings.

„Facebook Messenger 2.2 is another sign for businesses to focus on customer interaction within messengers“

Changes for business in Facebook Messenger

For businesses, it means that similar to other live chat services such as Intercom or Zendesk, a small button on the website will be implemented that signals to customers to chat with the business. The chat can be continued on whichever device the customer wants.

It will be interesting to see how other customer chat services will be affected by these changes and what they will come up with in order to stay ahead of competition. What matters most is that Facebook sets a clear sign towards businesses that communication within messengers should be on their priority list. Opportunities are endless, so there is the need to evaluate use cases individually and implement where and if useful. This does not imply that messengers should not be included in customer interactions, that is beyond question, but the right inclusion is equally important.

The future of Facebook Messenger

Facebook has only just started. We’d be surprised if there was nothing else in place for the messenger. When announcing the messenger platform 2.2 the company already implied further developments in the near future. Noticeable is the focus on the actual user. Facebook is seeking to make the creation of great customer experiences as easy as possible. Thus, with even higher usage of the messenger among potential customers, the interest of businesses in the messenger is predictably also on the rise. Payment will play an important role in real value for businesses.

Of course, it can’t be denied that all of these changes add to the power of Facebook. More conversations within the messenger mean more data for Facebook to work with. But as so often, convenience beats a lot of other concerns. Facebook Messenger is a strong channel for private communication and promises to also be a strong one for customer business interaction.

Valerie Kolling
Valerie is part of Mesaic's communication and marketing team.

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