Facebook sees its future in messaging: hardly surprising as the social media giant is claiming that it already processes more messenger and WhatsApp messages per day than there are SMS sent.
In fact, according to Facebook’s figures, it handles some 60billion messages per day, compared to global SMS levels of around 20 billion.
The news comes as Facebook announced that it is to push messenger hard in the coming year and sees it as being where much needed revenue growth is likely to come from.
The social media giant is hoping that by leveraging messaging technology – including chatbots, which can automate some aspects of the chat experience – it can offer a much richer and engaging proposition to advertisers and merchants.
The move should be a worrying shot across the bows of network operators as it heralds yet more advancement of OTT messaging into commercial interaction with consumers – soon to be at the expense of SMS.
As we have already reported, messaging apps, while not yet causing SMS traffic to dip significantly, are starting to look at offering all manner of other interesting services from news and soap operas from TV companies such as the BBC to now Facebook looking to leverage the power of messaging to let brands chat to consumers.
The chatbot end of the announcement is likely to be limited right now to FAQs and basic questionnaire offerings to help consumers, however, even this can have huge results.
In the US, Taco fast food chain Taco Bell is using chatbots to help consumers order food. Here again AI in its simplest form is being used to help ask questions about the menu and to customise orders, but potentially this tech has the ability to automate en masse interaction between consumers and brands. This could be a retail revolution and a much needed monetisation fillip for social media.
It is also a further worry for MNOs as so far they haven’t come up with any ground breaking developments in SMS that could open it up to this kind of consumer play. We look forward to seeing the MNO response.