For Buisnesses, More to Come with Facebook Messenger

Chris CrumBusiness, EnterpriseWebPro

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Last year at its F8 conference, Facebook introduced business features for Messenger, though so far, things have been pretty limited. The ecommerce businesses that have been using it, however, have been happy with it so far. That is according to Mark Zuckerberg.

Are you looking forward to more business feature availability for Messenger? Do you think it's something your customers would like? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook reported its earnings on Wednesday, and the subject of Messenger came up a few times throughout the ensuing earnings call.

"With Messenger and WhatsApp, we’ve continued to make progress with building these into valuable communication services for everyone in the world," Zuckerberg said in his prepared remarks (via Seeking Alpha's transcript). "More than 800 million people now use Messenger monthly and in 2015 we grew that number by almost a quarter of 1 billion while also increasing engagement. We continue to give people new ways to communicate by introducing video calling and new options for customizing conversations with fun things like colors and emojis and by using apps like -- using apps, the Messenger platform."

"We also worked to extend Messenger’s utility by adding payments, a new way to connect with businesses and by testing M, a digital assistant powered by AI," he said. "In this quarter we also began testing a transportation platform, allowing people to request an Uber ride through Messenger. More services will be coming to the platform soon, including airlines."

It's going to be particularly interesting to see what other kinds of services Facebook integrates here as time goes on. One can imagine this type of thing extending well beyond travel-related services.

"On Messenger, the platform efforts in 2015 focused on two things," Zuckerberg later said during a Q&A. "One was expanding the different types of content that people could share in Messenger. And that diversity is going really well. And we see continued increase in video sharing and photos and stickers, and a lot of stuff that you would just call fun but that people really enjoy as different ways to express themselves. But in terms of the business, the more important piece is how people can interact with businesses through Messenger. And we started some early small tests around f8 last year where with some ecommerce services made it so that people who were buying things could follow up with the business and get customer support and buy more things. And we went through this process of integrating that and making sure that it’s integrated with all these system well. And I think everyone is really happy with that so far. So we started off pretty slowly, but that’s going to be some of the basis for how we look to make Messenger a business going forward. And we’re happy with the initial results. There is obviously a lot more there that we need to do and we’ll have more to talk about this year and beyond."

Earlier this month, Facebook put out a small infographic looking at 2015's additions to Messenger as well as expected 2016 trends.

According to recent data from Neilsen, Messenger is the fastest growing app in the U.S. among the top apps.

Do you intend to use Facebook Messenger for business? Discuss.

Image via Facebook

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.