Meta Introduces 'Recurring Notifications' on Messenger for Business Messaging
Meta introduces 'Recurring Notifications' on its Messenger platform at its first-ever 'Conversations' messaging conference, allowing businesses to send proactive, automated messages to users who have opted in to receive them. Businesses will soon be able to send recurrent notifications such as sales notifications, updates, and newsletters to users who opt-in, with upfront, prompts describing the frequency of messages they'll likely receive if they choose to receive them, as shown above. This is the polar opposite of how Meta has handled its messaging platform thus far, with severe limits on how many times a company can message individuals, even if they've opted in.
According to Hootsuite:
“Businesses can only contact someone after receiving a message from the first. Once you’ve received a message, you have 24 hours to reply. After that, Facebook used to let businesses send one message. But as of March 4th, 2020, that option will be gone. Beyond that, the only remaining option is to send a Sponsored Message. These ads can only be sent to existing conversations.”
After that, firms can use its 'One-time Notification,' which allows them to send one follow-up message after the 24-hour messaging window has expired. However, Meta has been wary of allowing businesses to possibly abuse its messaging API, for fear of them spamming their customers' devices with irrelevant advertising and alerts that rapidly become irritating. Meta appears to be less concerned about this, and with users having to opt-in and a clear understanding of how many messages they can expect if they do, it appears like Meta is now fine with brands unleashing in your DMs if you allow them.
“Recurring Notifications is a new, optional premium feature that we intend to charge businesses for in the future. It is currently available to all businesses using the Messenger Platform as part of a free trial period. We currently charge businesses to send messages from the WhatsApp Business API and we’re listening to customer feedback to guide decisions on our pricing model.”
After failing to find a viable way to commercialize its messaging services, Meta appears to have landed on charging businesses to use its messaging capabilities – but it is unclear when this will begin and how much it will cost. For the time being, the company is keeping everything in-house in the hopes that brands will begin to utilize and rely on these new corporate messaging features before incurring fees. Once businesses see benefits from these capabilities, it will be harder for them to say no, and Meta's messaging platforms might soon generate a lot more income.
This is a major emphasis for developing economies, where WhatsApp, in particular, is already a popular tool for connecting people. If Meta can convince more businesses to rely on WhatsApp even more with new business tools like this and its new WhatsApp Cloud API, it will attract a whole new set of brands who will need to pay Meta to keep their business running.
It's the traditional strategy: entice firms in with irresistible offers, then raise the price once they're caught in the snare. And it might work because these new options offer useful functionality that will aid many organizations in extending their messaging systems. However, it's worth noting the shift in mentality here, as well as how Meta will bend its norms if it benefits.