Why Facebook believes in the chatbots
It’s been a month since Facebook launched its chatbot platform for Messenger and there are currently about 10000 of these on the way.
The bet was a risky one, being the first may have more risks than advantages, but Facebook had it clear: although their competitors are developing products over this technology, they are far from their long term proposal. At the end there is a new market in which to difference from the apps ecosystem, dominated and monopolized by Google Play and iTunes.
We could say that the new bot-markets are the messaging platforms themselves, and as Mark Zuckerberg said at the F8, they have good conditions to globalize the interactions of the users (and business) in their network.
In the coming months we’ll see which platform will contain the largest number of chatbots and who shall possess the hegemony of the technological field, but considering the early-signals, the environment on Facebook is ideal.
Facebook Messenger has about 900 million users, 11% of the world population, and volume of interaction amounts to 45K millions of messages per day. All this supported by a base of millenians that cup 35% of the use of the app. A perfect field of recruitment for the 50 million businesses, 15 of them with a large volume of users, that are looking to be more customer-centric. The fact that an average user will spend a total of 45 minutes of daily messaging platforms positions Facebook in the pole position to generate a global customer service.
So, basically, launching firsts means testing first and gaining traction first, critical issues once other pains like critical mass are already covered.
On the other side, chatbots make a lot of sense and Facebook obviously knows this. They might not be great nowadays, and sci-fi has told us another story, but they are convenient, useful and cost-effective. They will be definitely a great channel from which to receive invoices or cool content, access to product catalogs or communicate with empathic virtual assistants. All this by something as mundane as writing a text message.
We do not know if Facebook will get to globalize the market for sure, but as its CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:
“Instead of building walls we can help build bridges. Instead of dividing people we can connect people. We do it one person at a time, one connection at time. That’s why I think the work we’re doing together is more important than it has ever been before“.