Facebook Messenger vs. SMS – FBM’s 3 biggest advantages

I’ve been sick, busy with work and expecting a baby. So I missed the podcast last week and this one is short. Actually have some very interesting guests coming up, so stay tuned. Today I’m doing a short overview of the top advantages that Facebook Messenger has over SMS. These are the simple simple basics.

For the last few episodes we’ve been talking through SMS- how it works, FAQs etc. We’re going to make a shift in the solo series and talk about Facebook Messenger. We already discussed a little bit about how messaging apps came into being. I just thought of a new analogy that is applicable.

If you’re old enough, you remember AOL in the late 90s. It basically was the internet or at least indistinguishable from the idea of the internet. At some point the walled garden broke down, people figured out how to use URLs and we all realized wow, there’s a whole lot more here than just aol. Messaging is sort of the same. SMS was all there was for a while – like a decade. Now we’re seeing this shift where there is an entirely new space called messaging and SMS is simply a part of that — but it’s a big big world of messaging.

OK so Facebook messenger. There are downsides and we’ll get into them, but let’s talk about 3 positives first.

Number 1: It’s Free. Yes, you heard that right. Sending a message over Facebook Messenger does not have a cost. You might need a platform to send the message or a developer to build some technology or you need to hire someone to respond manually within Facebook, but… Facebook does not charge for messages the way that carriers do via SMS.

Cost can play a big deal for organizations that are scaled up. Having a million people on an email list is not rare. The fact that sending an email is virtually free has lead to its ubiquity as a marketing channel. 1 Million person SMS lists are rarer, but it can be expensive. If you’re paying 1 penny per text sending 1 million messages to that list will cost at least $10k. It’s just a factor that comes into play.

Number 2: Facebook Messenger is worldwide. We talked about SMS having this amazing ubiquity because it’s installed on every single phone. That’s great, but the market is fragmented. The suppliers of SMS are different in every country. Costs are different and more importantly the setup is different and needs to happen in every country where SMS campaigns are launching.

If you’re a brand that wants to message people in US, Canada, Mexico and the UK. That means 4 different SMS setups, 4 different cost structures and potentially more than 1 aggregator (remember them). If you launch on FB Messengers, it’s one launch and of course 1 cost structure, free, and the build is to a single API.

Combining worldwide and free is a multiplier. One perfect example of these two benefits is messaging for podcasts – go figure. I launched SMS campaigns with podcasts and it went great. The only two problems were – if enough people messaged in to the podcast to actually make a difference, it became too expensive. We could see tens of thousands of people messaging in over the course of a month or so. It’s great response, but podcasts don’t have huge budgets and it’s tough to experiment when the costs are rising a little bit with each message. Also, a penny per text is low…. At high volumes. Almost all campaigns doing thousands of messages, not millions are paying more per text.

Also, podcasts can be worldwide. When a podcast tells listeners to text in, it’s great but the call to action will only work for one country. Doing multiple calls to action isn’t realistic.

So FBM being free and worldwide takes care of these issues and aligns really nicely for podcasts.

Number 3: This is the biggest advantage. Facebook Messenger is connected to Facebook!!

This is probably a 10 hour conversation, but high-level, this connection is a multiplier. Anything that an organization might want to do via messaging can be multiplied by Facebook. One example is a the Facebook Share action. So if my company wants people to take a survey for some type of incentive, at the end of the survey I can ask the person to share on FB and the social aspect means that some of their friends might see it and then click and take the survey.

This isn’t a groundbreaking process – it’s what socials all about. But the multiplying idea comes into play if we can make it easier to share via Messenger (than through the web) then Messenger is multiplying all of the social aspects.

It also works the other way. The first example is Facebook amplifying what the brand does via messaging. The opposite way is that Messenger amplifies what the brand is doing on social. The idea here is that the brand is buying Facebook Ads, can we increase the conversion rates, and value we are getting from the ad by sending the clicker into Messenger rather than a landing page.

This is where I get really excited. With SMS it was always tricky. People wanted to use the channel, but in order to get started they needed marketing to make a TV commercial to drive opt ins. With FB Messenger, marketing can actually get excited about messaging – hey, this will increase ad conversions AND build the messaging channel at the same time.  

This is a big deal and it’s just getting started. We’ll be talking a lot more about all of this soon. So if you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so at itunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can search for us – just type in The Chat Bubble.

Of course if you have questions or feedback, message us on Facebook – eh – we are The Chat Bubble there as well.

We’ll be back soon with more, thanks for listening.

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