Reaching customers where they are with Facebook’s click-to-Messenger ads: A guide

Reaching customers where they are with Facebook’s click-to-Messenger ads: A guide
Shay Berman is the CEO and founder of Digital Resource, a full-service digital marketing agency located in South Florida. Shay’s clear-cut approach to internet marketing has driven his clients’ businesses to new heights and allowed Digital Resource to land on the Inc 500 list two years in a row, and be named as No. 49 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur 360 list. Shay was also named as a “40 Under 40” entrepreneur by the South Florida Business Journal. Digital Resource provides exceptional service in social media marketing, organic search engine optimisation, responsive design, and much more.

For years, marketers have pushed messages out to their customers and then sat back and hoped for a response. This form of “conversation” is incredibly limiting because it’s one-way — customers can’t tell you why they ignored an ad or responded to a call to action. That’s all changed with the arrival of Facebook’s click-to-Messenger ads.

These ads send users into a Messenger conversation with your business with a call to action that reads, “Send Message.” They are powerful because they allow businesses to tailor the conversation based on the specific user, and they reach users where they’re already spending their time: Facebook. Messenger already has 1.3 billion users each month, and about 53% of those users would prefer to do business with companies they can message directly.

From text to transactions

No matter what a business hopes to achieve, ads that click to Messenger can play a key role in reaching and engaging audiences. Every interaction in your campaign can yield valuable insights.

For example, New York City’s 5 Napkin Burger ran a campaign at the beginning of 2019 that helped it reach an entirely new segment of customers. Among other wins, the effort garnered 2,500 new Messenger and email subscribers, a tenfold return on ad spend, and a 20% increase in the average sale amount.

Let’s say you’re running a click-to-Messenger campaign for a business with multiple locations. Through interactions on Messenger with consumers, you can find out which store is nearest them and what products or services might interest them. Many chatbot platforms that integrate with Messenger have a tagging feature that helps organize users based on how they respond to conversations. With this data, you can create subsets of audiences that are even more targeted for social advertising, email campaigns, and more.

These ads have found success across a wide array of industries, from automotive and e-commerce to pharmaceuticals and financial services. For your own company to follow suit and embrace advertising in the chat space, follow these four steps.

1: Start at the end

What do you want users to do once they start chatting with your company? It can feel overwhelming to set goals with any new initiative, so I recommend starting with the fundamental benefit of leveraging Messenger: gathering data to fuel omnichannel marketing efforts.

Your goal might be interacting with users to acquire actionable information such as an email address, a phone number, a ZIP code, and other details that you can use in marketing activities. If you gather a high volume of email addresses, for instance, you can begin a drip campaign to keep those consumers engaged with your brand.

2: Choose a user experience

The goal of click-to-Messenger ads is to have users interact with your business through one-to-one conversations. You must decide on the experience you want customers to have: manual by your employees or automated by AI.

Choosing a user experience is critical because it affects end users and your team. You must think about the volume of messages that could come in should your campaign perform well. For example, does your team have the bandwidth to answer 25-50 incoming messages a day?

Businesses that choose to manage the conversations from click-to-Messenger campaigns manually must be realistic about their ability to provide a good experience. A high-performing campaign could easily turn into a disaster if users aren’t getting replies or if they’re getting curt answers. All the training in the world won’t help team members who get understandably overwhelmed with a few hundred messages in their inboxes. Chatbots, on the other hand, never get tired.

The automated route can resolve the challenges that come with scaling a successful click-to-Messenger campaign. With the power of chatbot automation, you can be sure that every user gets a consistent experience no matter when they choose to interact. This consistency is the key to getting a high volume of interactions.

There are a few things to consider with chatbot experiences, though. First, it requires a lot of upfront planning to create a useful conversation flow. You will need to anticipate all the possible ways a consumer can reply to the bot’s questions while being mindful of the information you want to collect. Users often don’t do what you expect them to, and a poorly designed chatbot won’t be able to understand unexpected answers without proper planning.

Automation does take some upkeep. The beauty of a bot is the consistency of its interactions. Sometimes, portions of the automation process won’t work properly for one reason or another. Troubleshooting those issues can be like finding a needle in a haystack, so be prepared to check your automated setup regularly.

3: Build your content strategy

Once you know your target and what you want to achieve from the interaction, it’s time to create the conversation flow for Messenger. A big part of figuring out your content strategy is mapping out the journey your customer is going to take. Laying this out beforehand makes the actual implementation much easier. If your team will answer the messages, for instance, it could be worthwhile to think through the questions consumers might ask.

There is a lot of opportunity for creativity in the conversation flow, but I recommend that your interactions cover a few key points. First, be sure that the conversation is personable and fun. Feel free to be jovial and include emojis — we’ve seen users spend more time with a bot they enjoy interacting with. You’ll collect plenty of useful information over time, but keep your initial conversation concise to avoid exhausting users.

Next, ask for whatever data points are important to you (email, phone number, etc.) — but be clear that you won’t use that information to spam them. Users are wary of data security, so you can put them at ease by explaining why you’re asking for the information.

Tools such as ManyChat can help manage the user experience. Create prompts and responses that keep the conversation going, and offer users the option to choose prewritten inquiries to make the interactions as seamless as possible. Remember that the goal is not to trick users into thinking that a bot is a human.

Here’s a chatbot example for a hypothetical new customer special. The goals are to build awareness for a special in-store offer and to build up an email list. The language in the ad itself might be, “Send us a message to learn more about this offer!” Here is what a conversation flow might look like after a user engages with a click-to-Messenger ad:

Chatbot: Hello there! Thanks for connecting with us on Messenger. Are you ready to learn about our special offer?
User: Yes
Chatbot: Great! To get started, can we have your email address? We will use this to send the coupon directly to your inbox!
Chatbot: Great! You can expect your coupon via email today. This offer is only valid this weekend.
Chatbot: Can we help you with anything else?

If you go with chatbots, provide a way for users to connect with actual humans — people sometimes get frustrated with bots and crave human interaction. Including a phone number in these types of messages can trigger phone calls more frequently than you might think.

4: Set up, launch, and optimise

Despite the detailed process, getting your click-to-Messenger campaign live is the easy part! These ads are much like any other campaign on Facebook. Start by selecting “Messages” as your campaign objective, and set your targeting parameters at the ad set level. At the ad level, you’ll notice a section called “Messenger Setup” that dictates what customers see after they interact with your ad. You can use Facebook’s tools to build out conversations, or you can go with a third-party option.

Once you’ve set up a campaign, it’s important to monitor performance metrics closely and optimize your spending toward the most impactful messages that offer the best value. Determine if your conversations are resonating with your audience.

Most chatbot providers offer data on each step of the conversation so you can see exactly where users are falling off. If you notice that users are leaving the conversations at a certain point, it is likely time to rebuild parts of the content strategy to make follow-through easier. If users aren’t engaging with your chatbot enough to generate actionable data, your click-to-Messenger ads aren’t serving their purpose. Once your completion rates are in the high 90% range, consider adding more to it.

Now, you need to dig into the data to make sure that the effort is cost-effective while generating the data/results you need to get the most benefit. There are a few main key performance indicators that we recommend monitoring:

  • Messages generated: Obviously, you will want to see the number of messages generated from your campaign and keep an eye on the monthly results.
  • Contacts generated and/or data collected: You will want to track exactly how many users followed through and submitted their information with your bot. This is the only way to gauge the overall effectiveness of the effort. If messages are generated but no data is coming in, there is a problem. Ideally, you would see a roughly 90% conversion rate between messages generated and data collected.
  • Cost per message: Knowing how much you need to spend to generate a message in the campaign is critical to projecting how much budget you need to allocate. Keep an eye on this KPI, but understand that costs will fluctuate depending on many factors. However, we see messages generated at $2 to $6 per result.

After your campaigns are in healthy shape and you’re happy with the amount of information being aggregated, you’ll want to consider how to use the data to fuel other areas of your marketing strategy. Here are a few ideas:

  • Segment email addresses based on contextual information and deploy a relevant drip campaign to nurture users into becoming paying customers.
  • Import email addresses into Facebook as custom audiences, targeting them with other offers relevant to the information they shared with your bot.
  • Create a lookalike audience on Facebook to find more users similar to those who successfully interacted with your bot.

Facebook reports that businesses and users send more than 2 billion messages back and forth each month. Your brand needs to be part of that massive conversation. Fortunately, you don’t need a team of machine learning specialists to create an automated conversation avenue for your customers. Instead, head over to Facebook and meet your customers in their Messenger inboxes.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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