Facebook has recently revealed its intentions on chatbots on Facebook messenger 2.0. They are taking on virtual reality social platform, competing with Snapchat that already uses AR filters, while also taking on hearing impairment via haptic feedback and facing Slack with Facebook Workplaces.
The big revelation: Facebook wants to read your mind! One can see that Facebook has dived all the hyped technologies such as: artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality. And they have decided to go after all of this simultaneously.
It is a strong strategy.
So what should brands do in response?
Change in consumer-brand interactions
Social media has transformed the way we communicate with each other and with brands. What Facebook is hoping with this announcement is that they can repeat their original penetration in new and emerging spaces and easily dominate them.
But for marketers the question remains that: how will these technologies change the way the consumer interact with brands?
Facebook’s investment in brain-computer interfaces has massive potential due to new forms of communication. While we haven’t seen most of it, but to create a seamless connection between machine and human will have benefits for brands in near future. If getting information about a project is as easy as thinking about it, then marketing campaigns will have even a greater impact.
When one takes a look at the Discover tab for Facebook messenger, one can see that Facebook is expanding its chatbot and third-party app integrations to cover the earlier stages in consumer-buying cycle.
Till now, bots and apps have focused on consumers who are actively considering a purchase – you have to seek out the brand in order to interact with it. Discover’s launch allows Facebook to suggest branded bots and apps to those who haven't had any interactions with the brand. This point of engagement hasn’t existed till now, but with meaningful benefits for the brands to interact with customers in a way that they have potential to navigate them to purchase in app.
How build-up can turn technology sour
Unfortunately, publicity over an emerging tech has been a consistent disappointment. However, in the case of virtual reality it is slowly getting there but only when it is implemented well. Facebook Spaces could easily transform online social interaction, turning social networks to immersive space for interactions. And if you go by the sales of HTC Vive and Oculus, people are not willing to take risk.
Artificial Intelligence has one of the worst faring platforms when it comes to the hype. It can be seen as a promising development for technology to have Facebook incorporate its strategy into its 1 billion users through Facebook Messenger platform. It can be seen as a gamble when the technology is in its nacent phase and can stall in growth if chatbots cannot be used quickly.
Brands which are tempted to jump on the bandwagon need to do so with caution and have a clear strategy before doing it. Facebook is willing to take a gamble with these technologies in the hope of dominating their emergence. But it is ultimately considered a gamble and brands should watch all the developments with a keen eye. They would be wise to avoid wandering into this blindly.