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Facebook’s ‘Send Message’ button lets brands chat privately with consumers

Facebook has lifted the lid on a new messaging tool that lets consumers talk privately with brands via the company’s ad units, plus a series of tools that also let page administrators respond privately to public posts.

The introduction of the “Send Message” button lets Facebook users initiate a private discussion with companies both directly from their display ads on the social network, as well as via their Facebook page, and also comes as the social network increasingly aims to demonstrate the value posed by its paid-for services.

When a Facebook users clicks on the “Send Message” button within an ad unit, the social network’s Messenger window opens for them to send a private message to the business, with the resulting incoming message showing the business which ad units generated the discussion.

Advertisers can start using the “Send Message” call-to-action button by creating a new local awareness ad and selecting “Send Message” in the “Call to Action” field.

Facebook has also updated the way brands can interact with users of the social network, by allowing them to respond privately to public posts, whereas previously companies’ page administrators could only respond in the same way that the person initiated contact.

To reply privately to a customer comment, page administrators can click the new “Message” option, and a private message thread with the commenter will open, once this is done, it will also publicly note that the business responded to the initial public comment. In addition, Facebook users also have the option to block private messages from businesses.

Those businesses that reply to users’ Facebook messages with an average response time of five minutes or less will also be noted with a “Very responsive to messages” badge on their Facebook brand pages (company’s must respond to over 90 per cent of customers’ posts to receive this plaudit). To help page administrators respond more quickly to incoming messages, they can now create and save stock responses to common questions.

Facebook had previously come under fire from marketers using the social network’s pages to promote their business for making tweaks to its algorithm which limited the organic reach of their posts, when it comes to appearing in their followers’ newsfeeds.

However, since these criticisms began to appear in early 2014, the social network has introduced a series of tools that help advertisers assess the effectiveness of their ad spend on its advertising units. These include the relaunch of its advertising stack Atlas, with Facebook COO noting on last week’s earning’s call that two of the social network’s key priorities were to get more marketers on Facebook, and improve the efficacy of its ad products.