Facebook launches Messenger Platform, full with chatbot capabilities and a plethora of features for businesses at the 2016 F8 Developer Conference

Every year at the F8 Developer Conference, Facebook makes an announcement that promises to rock the social and business world. In 2014, it was Facebook ads and eCommerce. In 2015, it was the Messenger API for developers. This year, it's all about connecting consumers to businesses through messaging and bots.

Simply put, Facebook has caught up to the bot advances that Telegram and Kik have already made, and gone beyond.

With more than 50 million active Facebook Business pages and 50 billion messages flowing through Messenger, Facebook essentially wants to be the new phonebook; a modern phonebook that lets you find and message businesses, just like you would message a friend.

In his keynote yesterday morning, Zuckerberg touched on what our co-founder Mike calls the post-app era.

"No one wants to have to install a new app for every new business or service they deal with" ~ Mark Zuckerberg, F8 2016

We are excited to see how Facebook is thinking about conversations in the purest way - make it easy, engaging and delightful. The result: closing in on the relationship between people, business and technology.

Use Cases + Growth

Zuckerberg showcased use cases for Messenger Platform, peppered with AI. The CNN bot delivers your news on demand and learns as you engage with it. The 1-800-Flowers bot lets you buy flowers without having to dial 1-800-Flowers (wink, wink - Zuckerberg's joke of the keynote). See more Messenger powered bots in this google doc - hat tip to Martin Hoffman.

The use cases caught the attention of the developers at the conference, but it was Facebook's plan to help amplify business over Messenger that won over the marketers.

First, to facilitate the discovery of brands and businesses, Facebook will install a permanent search bar inside Messenger.

Second, Facebook will also enable Customer Matching. This feature will allow businesses to search Facebook accounts by phone number (opted in phone numbers, of course) and replace SMS campaigning with Messenger.

And third, Facebook is adding a 'Send Message' CTA option to its NewsFeed ads so customers can start messaging businesses directly from an advert.

What This Means for You, the Business Owner

Facebook has the irrefutable volume of consumers and all the attractive features to build awesome customer experiences inside Facebook Messenger. It's definitely a channel to be on.

But it's not the only channel. Taco Bell is building campaigns on Slack. Sephora is building bots on Kik. Telegram has 15 million users daily. Line has 560 million users, with 25 million of those in the US. Twitter is going hard on direct messaging.

The key to a successful business messaging strategy it to 1) be where your customers are and 2) make managing messages easier than how you were managing customer channels before.

And that is where Smooch comes in.

Smooch Makes Managing Messenger Easier

With Smooch, you get all the rich messaging and consumer access of Facebook, with 2 added bonuses:

  1. Add more channels (like other popular messaging apps, live chat, or in app chat) so customers can reach you using the channel(s)they want
  2. Centralize multi-channel messages to a single point of management for easy communications. It's seamless for your customer and seamless for your support team.

Why should your messages live in Facebook? Send them to the CRM or chat tool you already use.

Adding Messenger to Your Software?

If you're a software maker and would like to add a Messenger offering to your customers, Smooch supports that as well, plus more! Message or email us to chat about how you can turn on Messenger, plus other messaging channels inside your business easily and with a richness (buttons, payments, images) best in its class.

Read the juicy details here or check out our updated Messenger documentation.

Related: [Infographic] How Consumers Feel About Business Messaging