Facebook Messenger poised to overtake email marketing

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The HubSpot experiment
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 8 August, 2017
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Recently we read an inspiring article by Elissa Hudson and Justin Lee from HubSpot about Facebook Messenger and the experiments they conducted to gauge its response rates. These included using Messenger instead of email to reach attendees at events, sending content via Facebook Messenger and using a bot on Messenger instead of a landing page with a form.

Here we interview Elissa to find out more about the experiments, how/when we might be using Facebook Messenger in the (near) future, and what financial brands stand to gain.

Why did you decide to use Facebook Messenger for your Grow With HubSpot event instead of email – can you share some of your strategy and thinking with us?

One of the biggest opportunities for improving the ROI of our events was developing a more efficient way for attendees to connect with our sales reps. The Facebook Messenger bot we built for Grow with HubSpot enables attendees to do just that – they can scroll through photos of our reps, find the person they’ve been chatting to, and book time in their calendar using the HubSpot Meetings tool.

Another feature we’re currently experimenting with is live chat, enabling attendees to live chat in Facebook Messenger with our reps whilst at the event. This is particularly effective at large events where it’s difficult to find someone to meet for an in-person conversation – in Messenger, you can start the conversation, and then agree to meet somewhere specific if needed.

Beyond event ROI, the bot works so well at events because it enriches the attendee experience. They have a direct line to ask us questions and get help throughout the day, and even have the opportunity to contribute to what’s going on stage by submitting questions for interviews and panels in real time.

How did you measure the success of using Messenger at Grow with HubSpot?

We split our metrics into two categories: engagement metrics, and funnel metrics. For engagement metrics, we looked at:

  • Number of attendees enrolled in the bot as a % of total attendees
  • Open rate of messages sent throughout the day

And for funnel metrics we look at:

  • Number of meetings booked with sales reps
  • Number of live chats initiated

[NB. For the actual numbers, see Elissa’s original article.]

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Might there be an element of novelty in this, i.e. your audience is yet to be inundated with Messaging resulting in better response rates than email?

There’s absolutely an element of novelty in this. As with any new channel, the early adopters see the most value because they’re riding the wave before anybody else jumps on and spoils it!

As with any new channel, the early adopters see the most value because they’re riding the wave before anybody else jumps on and spoils it!

We’ll be continuing to optimise to increase the number of meetings booked, and live chat has huge potential for additional tweaks (the first time we tested this was in Sydney!).

Currently, we’re offering Facebook Messenger as an alternative content delivery channel in all our regular, content-based email sends (i.e. when we send out ebooks etc.) This is live in North America and APAC, and will be rolling out in other regions soon.

We’re also in the process of rolling out Facebook Messenger as an alternative download option across all our gated content. Where the existing option is form + email, the new option will be a conversational form in Messenger, and we’ll deliver the content there too.

Soon, we’ll be trialling trigger-based nurturing in Messenger – when a high-value prospect views a high-intent page, we can send them a message in Messenger vs. email in order to connect with them (and help them) faster.

What should financial brands take away in relation to how they might be using Facebook Messenger for events, and potentially other purposes?

It depends what a business’s goals are, what’s going to help them achieve those goals, and figuring out how Facebook Messenger (like any other channel) might contribute to that.

If Messenger is looking like it could have impact on your business, then my advice would be to start now. If you can build out a solid infrastructure and get the channel cranking before your competitors do, you’ll have an outsized share of voice (and an outsized share of results) on that channel until they catch up.

Are you aware of any finance brands, or the equivalent, using Messenger, and if so, how?

Absolutely! This article lists a ton of them that were launched at F8.

How could you see a bank or other financial business in Australia using Messenger?

I think it’ll become commonplace to manage your finances via Messenger using your bank’s bot, much like you might use their app to do this today. The difference is banks will be able to use a conversational interface to serve their customers in Facebook Messenger.

Instead of navigating an app to check your balance or make a payment, I can absolutely see a world where you simply tell the bot to do that for you as part of a conversation with it.

If the sky’s the limit and money’s no object, how do you see HubSpot using Facebook Messenger?

Ultimately, we want to connect with our audience where they are, and for a lot of people, that’s on Messenger. We want to enable our audience to choose how they interact with us – to the point where they can do pretty much anything in Facebook Messenger that they’d normally be able to do on our website without ever leaving the app they’re currently in.

Related Article: Why Chatbots Will Rule Everyday Banking

Related Article: The Future Of Artificial Intelligence In Banking

Related Article: How Voice Recognition Is Changing The Game For Content

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.