The 6 Best Facebook Messenger Marketing Tools (& How to Use Them)

In this age of social media, communication between brands and customers has never been more open. Previously, if a customer had a complaint, it could be a burden to get in touch with someone who could help them. Today, many barriers between customers and brands have broken down thanks to social media.

Currently, more than a billion people message businesses each month on Facebook. In fact, 56% of customers would prefer customer service issues being handled over chat than by phone and expect businesses to respond to them within 5 minutes.

But, as many as 93% of businesses do not follow the “5 minute rule.” A response delayed by just 5 minutes can cause a 400% decrease in odds to qualify a lead. This can pose a problem to both large and small businesses who either receive a large volume of messages every day or cannot be online 24/7.

The solution? Making use of chatbots.

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence that mimics human speech via audio or text.

Two of the most popular forms include:

  • Virtual assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
  • Messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, and Slack.

The first chatbot (called ELIZA) was developed by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum in the 1960’s. Chatbots re-emerged in popularity upon the introduction of WeChat in China. People could create chatbots on the platform, but they were not as sophisticated as those available today on apps like Facebook Messenger.

In 2016, Facebook introduced the option for chatbots on Messenger, ushering in a new wave of chatbots that incorporate artificial data technology in their design. There are two kinds of chatbots that you can make use of when connecting to Facebook Messenger: one that can only respond to specific commands and another that functions based on machine learning, which recognizes language and language patterns, meaning that it “learns” over time and adapts.

Why You Should be Using a Facebook Messenger Chatbot

Besides the ability to assist with customer service functions (replying to general queries), chatbots can be programmed to do many other things. You can use chatbots to sell products, deliver personalized content (as Sephora and Forever 21 are known for), and can even use chatbots to help make collecting payments easier.

Although you can use chatbots on other platforms, Facebook can take a lot of the credit for reintroducing them to public consciousness (due to its large user base). As a result, chatbots are mostly associated with messaging apps, giving rise to a new kind of marketing known as messenger marketing.

Messenger marketing is simply the act of marketing to your customers using a messaging app. The concept is quite similar to email marketing, where you build a list of contacts, send them targeted/personalized content, and have a goal of converting them to paying customers.

What makes messenger marketing different than email marketing is that responses are more instant and the exchanges are more conversational (emails tend to come across as more formal).

Here are some additional reasons why you should be using a Facebook Messenger chatbot:

Messenger Marketing’s Large User Base

According to Business Insider Intelligence, the top four messaging apps are bigger than the top four social media networks—and that was in 2015!

As of September 2017, Facebook Messenger has reached an average of 1.3 billion monthly users, up from 1.2 billion as of April in the same year. To put that into context, Instagram only just hit 1 billion users total in June 2018. Says Facebook VP of Product for Facebook Messenger Stan Chudnovsky, “More and more of the conversations between people and businesses will migrate to messaging platforms.”

Besides that, people are responsive to chatbot technology. More than 1.4 billion people interacted with a chatbot in 2016, and as chatbots and messaging apps continue to grow in popularity, you can expect this number to continue going up.

Currently, there are about 100,000 chatbots on Facebook, up from more than 30,000 in 2016.

Messenger Marketing is More Conversational

Email can be personalized, but not as much as chatbots.

Email is static: you group people according to a similar characteristic they have: perhaps they clicked a particular link or belong to a particular age group). You mass-send an email to that list and hope that all the work you put into analyzing their behavior eventually converts to a purchase.

And let’s not forget the elephant in the room when it comes to email marketing: people are becoming fatigued by oversaturated inboxes to the point where they’re hesitant to sign up for even one more email newsletter. On that note, even if you’ve already convinced someone to receive your emails, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll open them.

Furthermore, less people are subscribing to email lists because of the extra work to confirm a double opt-in; it’s easier to open a Facebook Messenger thread. Ubisend found that 45.8% of consumers would rather communicate with a business through a messaging app than email.

With chatbots, the conversation is ongoing. The audience is able to receive personalized recommendations on the spot, based on their response to the bot, leading to higher engagement and retention rates.

Messenger Marketing Boasts High Engagement Rates

Did you know that chatbots have open rates as high as 88%? Average email open rates are only at 18% across all industries.

According to research by Hubspot, 47% of consumers would buy an item from a chatbot, with 26-36 year olds willing to spend up to an equivalent of $635 with a business via a chatbot interaction. Additionally, Hubspot found that 37% of consumers would rather buy items via a company’s Facebook page than their website.

3 Brands Killing It With Facebook Messenger Marketing

Chatbots are quickly gaining popularity. In fact, it is expected that by 2020, 80% of businesses will have some form of chatbot automation implemented.

Before letting your chatbot off the leash to do its thing, it’s important to ensure that your chatbot functions properly. According to DigitasLBi, 73% of Americans said they wouldn’t use a company’s chatbot after a bad experience.

To help inspire your foray into messenger marketing, here are some of the businesses that have found a lot of initial success with chatbots:

Ebay

facebook messenger marketing - ebay chatbot
eBay uses chatbots to helps visitors narrow their product search

Image Source

eBay first used Messenger chatbots to remind customers about their auctions that are about to expire. They eventually expanded this technology to introduce Shopbot, which functions like your own personal shopping assistant.

Shopbot allows you to check current trending products on the site, and can even help you locate a specific product that you’d like to purchase. All you need to do is type in the details of what you’re looking for and the bot will ask relevant questions until finding the item you’re referring to.

You can also opt to snap a photo of something similar to what you’re looking for, then sending it to Shopbot. Additionally, Shopbot is the kind of chatbot that learns over time—the more you chat with it, the more it is able to recognize your preferences.

Since Shopbot was first introduced, eBay found that users were thrice likely to inquire about products versus simply looking through the marketplace.

Pizza Hut

facebook messenger marketing - Pizza Hut chat
Would you order that delicious pizza via chat?

Image Source

Did you know that Pizza Hut sold their first pizza online before Amazon sold its first book? According to their Twitter account, they sold their first pizza online in 1994, and are continuing to push the boundaries in this space.

As of August 2016, customers can order pizza by chatting with Pizza Hut via Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Customers can connect their Facebook and Pizza Hut accounts together so that the bot can see past orders and gain easy access to delivery information. The bot can also give answers to frequently asked questions and information about their latest promotions.

Through this method, Pizza Hut makes it easier to order pizzas, which helps improve sales—especially with impulse shoppers.

Trim

facebook messenger marketing - Trim chatbot
Wait… Am I still subscribed to that?

(source)

Trim is a financial startup that helps you take charge of your finances by identifying areas where you could be saving money. They first launched their chatbot on SMS in 2015 and later expanded to Facebook Messenger.

The bot works with a simple premise: it scans your bills for recurring subscription charges and asks you whether you want to cancel a subscription. All you need to do is respond “cancel gym” or “cancel Netflix” and they will do so for you. Their unsubscribe bot has become really popular on Messenger, introducing new users to the brand, with a 94% retention rate.

Currently, the bot does not make money directly but the retention rate is an important metric to note. This is because Trim makes its money from taking a cut out of the money you’ve saved from your canceled subscriptions.

Facebook Messenger Ads

With a slightly different approach from Facebook chatbots, Facebook also introduced Messenger Ads around the end of 2017.

For Facebook, this made sense for two reasons:

  • The growing popularity of messaging platforms (of which Facebook owns two: Messenger and WhatsApp) and their high engagement rates
  • Facebook is closely integrated with Facebook Messenger

Facebook started offering ads that break up the Messenger home screen, but this functionality also evolved to offering brands the ability to send sponsored messages to users that have previously messaged their business.

Here’s a breakdown of the current Facebook Messenger Ads options:

  • Messenger Home: ads that appear on the Messenger Home Screen.
  • Sponsored Messages: appear in the Messenger inbox as a message from a brand.
  • Click-to-Messenger: ads that link to a Messenger chat window. These appear on Facebook itself and not Facebook Messenger.

One example of a business successfully using Facebook Messenger Ads is Tommy Hilfiger. Along with their TMY.GRL chatbot, they introduced a series of photo and video click-to-Messenger ads that featured products just seen on the runway. When users clicked on the ad, the chatbot could help them shop featured looks.

The 6 Best Facebook Messenger Bot Tools

With a variety of Facebook Messenger bot tools on the market, you might not know that you can actually build a chatbot from within the platform itself, and you can even find some plugins to embed the chatbot on your WordPress site. That said, it’s a little more complicated compared to the rest of the tools that will be introduced below. If you’re up to the challenge, Facebook offers a lot of resources, such as how-to guides, case studies, and forums, to help with a DIY process.

If you’d rather use a pre-built tool, here are some of the best to build your Facebook Messenger bot, coding knowledge totally optional:

ManyChat

facebook messenger marketing - manychat landing page
ManyChat for marketing, sales, and support

ManyChat is a tool that allows you to easily create a Facebook chatbot in as quick as 2 minutes. It allows you to make a chatbot for marketing, sales, and support functions without coding experience through a visual drag-and-drop builder. All you need to do is connect your Facebook page to ManyChat!

Additionally, ManyChat offers all the tools you need to help convert your audience into subscribers, such as automated sequences, autoresponders, instant notifications, broadcasts, and more. Once you sign up for a ManyChat account, you get access to a free video training course that will walk you through how to build a chatbot.

MobileMonkey

facebook messenger marketing - mobilemonkey chatbot
MobileMonkey’s site offers webinars on using Messenger Chat

If you want to integrate ecommerce with Facebook Messenger, MobileMonkey (formerly ChattyPeople) is the best platform to do so. You can easily create chatbots without coding knowledge. Integrations with tools like Shopify can help you monetize a fan page but you can also use MobileMonkey for the more simplistic purpose of answering customer service questions. MobileMonkey offers a limited free plan if you want to try before diving head-first into messenger marketing.

Smooch

facebook messenger marketing - Smooch omnichannel messaging
Smooch connects your software to any messaging channel

Smooch is more of a chatbot connector that bridges the gap between your business apps and different messaging platforms (like Slack to say, Facebook Messenger). Messages from your messaging app will be sent to the business app, bringing all conversations into just one application for a smoother workflow.

What’s more, Smooch connects your software with data from other sources (voice assistants, CRM, email, SMS, social messaging platforms, etc.), to enrich each customer’s profile, bringing context to each conversation.

Sequel

facebook messenger marketing - Sequel landing page
Sequel offers bot templates based on the type of account

Sequel is a platform that allows you to create bots for Facebook, Kik, Viber, and Telegram. What’s nice about Sequel is that it makes bot creation easy with the help of several templates such as StoryBot, GameBot, PublisherBot, PersonalBot, and ChatterBot. Of course, you also have the opportunity to design your own bot, with or without a template!

Chatfuel

facebook messenger marketing - chatfuel landing page
Get started with chatfuel in under 7 minutes

Chatfuel promises that you will be able to build a fully-functional bot without coding—all within 7 minutes. One of the best things about Chatfuel is that it is free up to your first 500,000 monthly active users. Chatfuel is used by trusted brands like Adidas, Buzzfeed, TechCrunch, and MTV.

Botsify

facebook messenger marketing - botsify landing page
Botsify allows your customers to browse articles from your WordPress site right from the chatbot

Botsify is another Facebook chatbot platform that is ideally used for customer service functions. Some of its notable features include a website integration (to get even more cross-platform support out of your chatbot) and an easy drag-and-drop template designer. Botsify is trusted by large brands like Apple and Shazam.

Final Thoughts: The 6 Best Facebook Messenger Bot Tools & How to Use Them

Customers expect quick responses from businesses and are turning to messaging platforms to facilitate a connection. Chatbots are the quickest and most cost-effective way to connect these parties, with a higher engagement rate than email. Luckily, there are tons of tools you can use to build chatbots, even without coding experience.

Maddy Osman
What’s your favorite Facebook Messenger tool? Are you using chatbots on your WordPress site? Did we miss any useful tools or insights? Let us know in the comments below!