Love is In the (Digital) Air on Facebook Messenger

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Well, today is Valentines Day. Your beloved is happy (hopefully), but your wallet has lost around $ 150 dollars, according to the National Retail Federation, which predicted an average personal expenditure of $ 143.56 for the Hallmark Holiday – an increase from last year’s $ 136.57. And since it’s 2k18, brands have turned to Facebook Messenger to reach customers looking to open their hearts and wallets.

“While people are using messaging to connect with the people and brands they care about on a daily basis — in 2017 an average of over 7 billion conversations took place each day on Messenger – Valentine’s Day (along with Mother’s Day and New Year’s Day) were three of the top five most active days on Messenger in 2017,” a spokesperson for Facebook Messenger said.

Messenger poses a great opportunity for businesses to connect with people in meaningful ways during the holidays, and on an app where customers are already spending a lot of time. From helping with gift ideas to planning a romantic night in, brands can use Messenger this Valentine’s Day to create convenient and unique experiences.

Several brands are taking advantage of the ChatBot technology. 1-800-Flowers allows gift-givers to make flower purchases directly through the bot assistant, Fandango has the movie night sorted for you, Food Network can surprise you with a recommended Valentine’s Day recipe for a top-notch romantic meal, and best of all (my personal favorite) is the M Suggestion for Spotify. M, your virtual assistant in Messenger, can suggest a Valentine’s Day song for you to share using the Spotify chat extension.

“Valentine’s Day [is] pre-populated in the search field (the results are determined by Spotify, not M) and from there you can browse, find the perfect Valentine’s Day song to suit your mood, and share it directly in your Messenger conversation,” said the spokesperson.

While seasonal moments and campaigns are a great way for brands to get creative and use messaging to delight their customers and add value, it’s really exciting to see how household names like KLM, Sephora and Kia, are integrating messaging into their broader strategy as a way to continue to engage and connect with people in a way that is personal – and at scale.

Messaging in general – and Messenger specifically – provides businesses with the ability to drive personal connections at scale. If you think about messaging as a medium, it’s a dynamic, continuous interaction. Businesses are able to gather inputs from people and reroute accordingly. With other marketing channels, even marketing channels that are incredibly targeted, you don’t have the kind of back and forth that you have with messaging. And messaging gives you unprecedented context – the thread is persistent so you have this rich conversational history that you can go back to, be it to let someone know that the shirt they expressed interest in is on sale, give them an update on their upcoming appointment, or follow up on a question they had about your return policy.

“Beyond the scale of the Messenger audience, the Messenger platform provides businesses with a whole new level of personalization,” the spokesperson said.

While marketers have been using different means of personalization across digital channels for some time now, with messaging the inputs are in real-time. Where in the past we might have known someone’s age or location or purchase history, now we have all of that plus an in-the-moment dialogue in which customers can clearly express their preferences and needs. And we can build upon this; every conversation is predicated upon the context of the threads that preceded it, enabling businesses to think — and act — linearly.

As for me this Valentine’s Day: I can be happy that I’m still carrying my $ 150, that Spotify knows me so well as to recommended the Anti-Valentine’s Day playlist, and that my dog will be totally satisfied eating leftover crust from the pizza I plan to order for myself later – probably through Messenger. 

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