Meta is beefing up Messaging with new tools to help boost businesses

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2022 05:32 PM

MANILA - Meta said it has been introducing more features for Messaging in its various platforms, which has been transforming how businesses and consumers communicate as exchanges soared over 50 percent.

According to Meta's data, over 1 billion people message businesses each week through WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct, higher by over 50 percent compared to last year.

In areas, where most businesses rely largely on Facebook, it is crucial for Meta to support them with tools to better engage consumers, Meta's Global Product Marketing Director Ankur Prasad told reports in a virtual briefing.

"Customer expectations have evolved and that is why messaging can be transformative for businesses," Ankur said.

Businesses in the Philippines are composed mainly of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) or about 99 percent.

During the pandemic, many home-based businesses sprouted and they mostly rely on social media due to mobility restrictions. 

Even before the pandemic, Filipinos have been shifting preference in favor of businesses that they could easily reach out to and ask "HM po?" via messenger, Meta Philippines country director John Rubio said in 2018. 

“Southeast Asia and the Philippines is a key region for Messenger and it is exciting to see how businesses here are leading the way when it comes to business messaging," Prasad said.

He said shifting to messaging has resulted in better efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Other Messenger-focused tools were also inspired by the region, Prasad said.

"Many local small and medium businesses are built nearly entirely on Facebook and we saw how businesses were using Messaging for nearly every part of the consumer journey. We wanted a way to help support these businesses through an ad product to help drive more customer transactions, and Click to Messenger ads was born," Prasad said.

"We will continue to invest in features that create seamless discovery and Messaging experiences for Philippine businesses and consumers to meaningfully connect," he added.

To help businesses reap the advantage of Messenger, Meta said it has launched new solutions such as the Recurring Notifications feature, which allows firms to send messages of interest to users who opted-in to a certain frequency.

It can be in the form of sales notifications, newsletters or other personalized messages, Meta said.

"This means businesses can now tailor and deliver timely and personalized messages that drive discovery, consideration, conversion, or engagement – whether daily, weekly, or monthly to reach customers at any moment in their journey," Meta said.

Based on Meta's data, 7 out of 10 people now feel more connected with a business if they can be messaged. Meanwhile, over 65 percent said they prefer messaging over email and phone.

When asked if users prefer automated messaging responses or conversing with a human customer service representative, Prasad said it varies.

For his part, tracking an e-commerce order could be done seamlessly by messaging a bot, but when a parcel is lost, he said he would prefer a human agent to resolve the matter.

Meta said many businesses in Asia have adopted business messaging including LBC Express, Grab, Kiehl's Malaysia and Insurance company FWD Thailand, among others.

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