Facebook Chat Plugin Launches In Open Beta

Get Started with the Facebook Messenger Customer Chat

A few weeks ago Facebook announced they were launching a Messenger plugin. Quite simply, the plugin allows businesses to add Facebook Messenger chat to their site.  We just got the following email:

“Dear Dave,

As requested, we wanted to let you know that the customer chat plugin is now available globally in open beta for use on your website. You can find information on how to implement it in our developer documentation. We’ve also put together a blog post with some quick implementation tips to help you get started.

Facebook Messenger chat in beta

The Messenger customer chat plugin is a seamless way for businesses and people to communicate with one another anytime, anywhere. Unlike traditional web-based chat, people can continue a conversation from website to Messenger and vice versa, allowing for a better overall experience at a pace that works for everyone. Customer chat also allows businesses to utilize many of the benefits of the Messenger Platform, so businesses can incorporate automation, NLP, rich media and more into their website experience.

If you would like additional updates from us about Facebook for Developers please register here. As always, our Messenger Platform developer community is available for you to address any questions.

The Messenger Platform Team”

So what does this mean? If you ask Facebook it gives you the freedom to communicate across platforms and websites (i.e. from your site to Facebook). To me as a marketer it means Facebook will likely be rolling out all sorts of new targeting for us to remarket to people to engaged in a chat with us. In fact I was initially quite excited about it for specific clients for which Facebook is an excellent driver of sales and conversions.  And then …

Mary here pointed out a very valid point – you’re basically giving keys to your competitors. If we don’t think that Facebook with use this data to create likely affinities we’re kidding ourselves (and I’m sure we all agree). This is a big risk. If someone chats with you do we think Facebook might use this to determine for a competitor that they’re interested in said service or a similar one? Of course they would – they sell ads and the clearly don’t concern themselves with providing organic traffic (how’s you’re going lately?).

This is not to say you shouldn’t use it but it did give me pause and the desire to consider in each case if the pros outweigh the cons.  Can I get more from it than I give? If I can convert significantly higher with Facebook Messenger chat than standard chat systems then yes – it’s worth.  If I can’t and I’m just using it for convenience then it’s probably not worth it – BUT hopefully your competitors do and if they do you know you can capitalize on it. 😉

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