Facebook Messenger: The New Age Of Communications

Facebook Messenger: The New Age Of Communications

The unparalleled success of Facebook-owned Messenger can be pinned down to its ear to the ground approach with users.

Consistently listening to its user base of more than one billion, Messenger’s ability to stay not only on trend but well ahead of it has allowed the app to become a global tool for communication; be that users chatting with loved ones or querying businesses.

Speaking on the growth of Messenger, Facebook’s head of global business marketing for Messenger, Sal Burns, took to the stage at Advertising Week to discuss how businesses, in particular, could better connect with consumers through the platform.


Diving into the Messenger world, Burns began the seminar with a brief look at the way people’s methods of communication are changing globally. Be it through her own experiences of her daughter using filters when chatting with her grandparents or consumers utilising the platform to chat with businesses, it’s clear, “We are seeing a tremendous communication shift in the way people communicate with each other”, said Burns.

For Burns, this is thanks to the mobile phone, which has become a “catalyst of the communication hub”. People are now using messaging apps, be that WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct, to help facilitate communication. According to a recent study, 80 per cent of adults and 90 per cent of teenagers are messaging every day, and in the Asia Pacific region, these figures are even higher.

“We’re seeing all sorts of communication happening in messaging apps. Messaging is visual; it’s no longer just about words,” said Burns. “People are sharing whatever they can with whoever they want.”

So, what does this mean for businesses? Well, looking at the numbers, it’s becoming increasingly clear that if businesses don’t jump on the messaging bandwagon, they will be left behind.

As per a recent study, people share more than 17 billion photos, and 400 million people use voice and video chat every month. There are 4.5 billion photos, one billion videos and 90 million GIFs shared per day around the world.

On top of this, 150 million Instagrammers connect with a business each month and one in three of these conversations begin from Instagram Stories.


“People are having better conversations because they are able to better express themselves, and business messaging is the new normal,” Burns said.

“Whenever you have a massive shift with how people communicate, businesses that win are the ones that follow. When we asked people across the globe ‘Do you message with business?’, we found by and large they are doing so: 85 per cent of people in Brazil, 74 per cent in India, 61 per cent in the UK and 61 per cent in the US.”

“In emerging markets, people are 2.4x more likely to want to message your business, and this is not just happening in one vertical, it’s occurring across all of them. In 2017, the most common verticals people were connecting with were professional services, retail, local entertainment, and public good media.”

Though, despite the high numbers of engagement, Burns pointed out that while 70 per cent of businesses think they’re communicating effectively with consumers, only 20 per cent of consumers agreed. For Burns, it’s all about a higher level of personalisation.

As a case study of which business is nailing Facebook Messenger as a way of connecting with consumers, Burns invited Qantas’ senior manager of automation and social media, Clarabella Burley, to the stage to discuss how the airline is adopting the tool, what challenges it has faced in executing a successful bot and what the team has learnt in the process.


Asked when and how Qantas realised the potential of incorporating a Messenger bot into their strategy, Burley said the airline, “dived in when we saw the scale”.

“We’ve always been very responsive to customers, we a saw a huge volume coming through messenger and
Facebook and it was really a numbers game. Now, 20 to 30 per cent of our queries come through Messenger,” Burley added.

When the team embarked on the Messenger journey, Burley said the one thing they learnt quickly was how to be agile, which luckily, thanks to a wealth of data about what consumers wanted, wasn’t the most difficult learning.

“Our customers were reaching out on messenger and questions and themes began coming through,” she said.

“We began that journey looking at figures; talking about a complex industry like an airline, we needed to work out what was feasible and how to connect with consumers really quickly. We used a test case and then tested what was effective.

“Straight off the bat people were having conversations super quickly. We do a lot of testing to make sure we’re not frustrating our customers with the bot, being an airline, our customers often need to chat quickly, and now we’re at a point where 60 per cent of queries are getting solved through the bot.”

0007-Sydney Advertising Week - 2018

Though Burley was quick to point out, none of the success of Qantas’s bot could’ve happened without the airline’s strong alliance with Facebook. “It’s a new platform and we’ve got great partners in Facebook; it’s very much a partnership.”

Speaking on the challenges, Burley said there were certain things that could only have been learnt as the bot developed.

“Basic things like fields in templates, small catches that you only stumble on when you’re going through the process; finer nuances we’ve hit up against,” she said.

“I’ve never seen Messenger as set and forget, it’s a serious channel and we need to continually look at it.

“The best advice I can give is don’t get your heart set on a roadmap. We’ve got a great insights team giving us rich information.

“You need to deviate from what you think is right at times and that’s something we learnt early on. But the best thing about it is that you’re getting real-time customer feedback. You’ve just got to make sure you move with those trends.”

Please login with linkedin to comment

AdWeek Facebook Messenger sal burns

Latest News

Albo Responds To Meta: “Not the Australian way”
  • Media

Albo Responds To Meta: “Not the Australian way”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Meta’s decision to stop paying for Australian news is “not the Australian way” and that he is “very concerned” about the announcement. Meta today confirmed it will walk away from funding Aussie journalism once the current content deals expire in what is a significant blow to Australia’s largest publishers. […]

Media Outlets Respond To Meta’s Decision To Stop Funding Australian News
  • Media
  • Technology

Media Outlets Respond To Meta’s Decision To Stop Funding Australian News

The Australian media industry has responded to Meta’s decision to walk away from funding Aussie journalism once the current content deals expire. In a blow to local media outlets, Meta said it will not enter negotiations to extend deals to pay Australian media companies for the news that appears on its platforms. Michael Miller, News […]

FIVEAA Unveils Refreshed Brand Identity
  • Media

FIVEAA Unveils Refreshed Brand Identity

NOVA Entertainment has today announced the launch of a refreshed brand identity for FIVEAA, Adelaide’s premier commercial talkback station. The forward-looking brand refresh reflects FIVEAA’s new lineup and vision while paying homage to the station’s previous logo and rich heritage. Built upon the new tagline of Always Adelaide, the new direction celebrates the ‘AA’ branding […]

Fabulate Wins Big At AiMCO Awards
  • Marketing

Fabulate Wins Big At AiMCO Awards

Australian social and content marketing workflow platform Fabulate has won big at the industry’s annual AiMCO Awards, taking out the highly competitive Best Influencer Marketing Technology Service category. Lead image: Fabulate team at Aimco Awards The win saw the start up platform, which has a team of around 50, receive the industry recognition against competitor […]

Hubbl Is Here: Newest Transformative TV Tech On Sale March 10
  • Media

Hubbl Is Here: Newest Transformative TV Tech On Sale March 10

Australia’s newest transformative TV technology, Hubbl, will be on sale from March 10 in Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi retail stores nationally and via Hubbl.com.au. Lead Image: Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany at Hubbl Launch. Also from March 10, Hubbl will unveil a national advertising campaign starring brand ambassadors Hamish Blake and Andy Lee. The multi-channel […]