A live test rocked the Facebook Messenger marketing community last week.
A small percent of Facebook Messenger users see messages from businesses rolled up and tucked away into a separate folder in the Messenger inbox.
In the MobileMonkey Island community, you can see screenshots:
In my humble opinion, this is a terrible idea for users and businesses.
Here’s why I am a passionate advocate of a unified Facebook Messenger inbox.
Why Facebook Advertising Is a Unicorn
You know what makes Facebook advertising such a remarkable opportunity?
Facebook ads are native.
Ads show up in line — with the rest of the content.
Businesses’ sponsored content gets visibility on par with organic content in the Facebook ecosystem.
But right now, for a small portion of Facebook Messenger users, this isn’t the case.
The expectation for advertisers is that when someone clicks your click-to-Messenger ad, your audience will get your message.
So I’m annoyed that a small percent of our Messenger ad traffic is going into this other Business box.
It undercuts the value that is so unique to this marketing channel.
Ads in the Gmail inbox used to appear like other emails.
Then Google tucked sponsored messages into the email promotions tab, effectively eradicating their effectiveness.
If we see the same kind of demotion of business messaging in the Facebook Messenger inbox, I’m afraid it will be the end of Facebook Messenger marketing as we know it.
Facebook Tests that Flop
Yeah, that was a disaster.
For a minute, Facebook had two feed options that a user could view — one business content feed and another news feed for posts by people.
No surprise, this differentiation was a punch in the gut for businesses’ Facebook reach.
It wasn’t the ideal setup for Facebook users either.
Do you ever use your Facebook login or personal Google accounts to register accounts with business applications?
What about when you have a side hustle, passion project, or invest time in continuing education or certification outside of office hours?
Our online lives aren’t so neatly divided between business and personal.
Thankfully Facebook rolled back that change to the News Feed back in 2017.
And we expect that the latest test in Facebook Messenger to separate the inbox between business or brand contacts and people will be short lived and not be expanded to all users.
Official Facebook Statement: Not Planned for General Release
In the Facebook Messenger Developer community, Facebook released this statement:
There have been some discussions about a Messenger test that is currently running, and we want to provide you all with some clarity.
Earlier this month, we started testing a dedicated destination for business messages within Messenger. As with any testing, we want to ensure that we are delivering a delightful experience for the Messenger community while delivering business results for advertisers. We are testing this with a minimal number of Messenger users and do not have plans to expand the test at this time.
We appreciate your feedback.
Facebook Page admins can rest easy for now.
Campaigning for Reach in the Facebook Ecosystem
I’ve spent my marketing career hunting unicorns.
Unicorns are just a metaphor for something remarkable.
The shift to chat messaging is a once-in-a-generation shift in how people communicate.
And there’s no chat application that even comes close to Facebook Messenger — both in user activity and being business friendly.
Get Facebook Messenger marketing’s unique unicorn benefits today.