This is an unusual change in Meta’s business messaging rules.
This week, at its first ‘conversation’ messaging conference, Meta announced ‘Frequent notifications’ on its messenger platformWhich will enable the business to send ‘Proactive, automated messages, to those who choose to receive them.’
As you can see here, businesses will soon be able to send repeated notifications to users who choose to have upfront prompts with an outline of the message frequency that they may receive if they choose to receive them.
Businesses will be able to send sales notifications, updates, newsletters – whatever they like, with daily to monthly frequency options, ‘so that businesses can reach customers at any moment of their journey’.
Which is the complete opposite of how Meta has run its messaging platform so far, with a strict limit on how many times a business can send messages to users, even if they choose to.
Explained by Hutsuit:
“Traders can only contact someone after receiving a message First of all. Once you receive a message, you have 24 hours to reply After that, Facebook let merchants send a message. But from March 4, 2020, that option will be gone. Other than that, the only remaining option is to send a sponsored message. These ads can only be sent to existing conversations. “
In fact, in the meta Messenger Platform and IG Messaging API Policy OverviewIt explains that:
“The business will have up to 24 hours to respond to the user. Messages sent within the 24 hour window may contain promotional material. “
Brands can then use its ‘one-time notification’, which is eEnables businesses to send a follow-up message when the 24-hour messaging window is finished. But Meta has been very cautious about allowing businesses to potentially overuse its messaging API, fearing that they could spam their devices into notification hell, through random promotions and warnings that could quickly become very annoying.
It looks like Meta is no longer a concern, and users need to choose, if they do, with a clear overview of how many messages they can expect. In your DM, if you allow them.
And for good reason – money.
“Recurring notifications is a new, optional premium feature that we want to charge for future businesses. It is currently available to all businesses using the Messenger platform as part of a free trial period. We currently charge businesses for sending messages from the WhatsApp Business API and we charge We are listening to customer feedback to decide on the assessment model.“
After struggling to find an adequate way to monetize its messaging platforms, Meta seems determined to charge businesses for using its messaging tools – though when it will start charging, and how much it will cost to use it, Still not clear.
Meta is currently keeping all of this in-house, in the hope that brands will start using these new business messaging features and build reliance on them before incurring costs. Once businesses get results from these features, it will be difficult for them to say no, and Meta can quickly generate much more revenue from its messaging platforms.
This is a key focus for developing markets, where WhatsApp, in particular, is already a core connectivity platform. If Meta could make more businesses more reliant on WhatsApp with this kind of new business tool and its new WhatsApp Cloud API, it would bring in brand new brands that would continue to pay Meta to support their business ventures.
Meta puts the timing in the wrap because it doesn’t know when it will see the best take-up of these new options, but it probably has a threshold for pressing the button and rolling out the charge for different components.
This is the old honey trap strategy – tempting traders with offers they can’t refuse, then increasing the cost, when they are already trapped.
And it can work, providing valuable functionality with these new options that will help many businesses build its messaging platform.
But it’s interesting to note the change in policy here, and how Meta will bend its own rules if it sees the benefits.