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As you have probably read already, Facebook has announced a complete revamp of its messaging service, Facebook Messages. With a host of new features, many email marketers are likely to be wondering what effect this new service has on the work they do.
I’ve pulled out the top ten things that any email marketer needs to know about Facebook Messages and what it means for them:
1. This is still email
For all the sound and fury, this announcement still focuses very much on email. Despite the addition of shiny new technologies like IM and SMS, it’s email that sits at the centre. It’s also very important not to overlook the many people who don’t use Facebook and therefore won’t be using this new integrated service.
2. The same old best practice rules apply
Related to this last point, the email marketing best practice rules still apply. It’s only relevant, targeted messages that will be opened and read by recipients. And with the new ‘social inbox’ the more opens your emails get, the better the chances they will be delivered to the primary inbox rather than being relegated as junk.
3. Social media integration is key
I’ve been arguing about the importance of integrating social and email for years, but this move makes it even more important. If your recipients are using Facebook Messages, then using a Facebook Page as a landing page could make a lot of sense and encouraging your recipients to ‘like’ your company could help your deliverability chances too down the line perhaps!
4. There are potential new opportunities here
Not only is the integration of social media a major opportunity, so is the potential to integrate other services like SMS marketing. Combining these services (with social) could achieve some impressive results.
5. Test email client usage on a regular basis
When Facebook Messages has rolled out, it will be important to carefully analyse the email clients your recipients are using on a regular basis to see how much uptake there has been. It might be that you will want to segment those that are using Facebook Messages and send them slightly different creatives.
6. More mobile
With the launch of Facebook Places recently, it is clear that mobile is going to play a big part in Facebook’s future strategy. The prominence of messages in future Facebook apps means that more and more Facebook Messages recipients are likely to be reading your messages on a mobile device. This could have a big impact on design and structure of your emails.
7. Be aware of more distractions
By integrating so many real-time services, getting mindshare in the inbox will be even more of a challenge. Making your email stand out above all this noise will become even more difficult, but is key for those that want to succeed.
8. The dreaded junk folder
Facebook has named the ‘catch all’ inbox (which essentially contains all the emails that aren’t from friends or that aren’t transactional etc.) the Junk inbox. This immediately makes it a place that users will be less inclined to visit on a regular basis. Email marketers will need to work even harder to ensure safe deliverability of their messages, much like with Google’s Priority Inbox.
9. Pay close attention to the metrics
It’s hard to know exactly at the moment whether Facebook Messages will change the relationship users have with email. The standard metrics that most email marketers will use to ensure campaigns are working effectively (e.g. open, deliverability, click through rates and ROI) could change.
10. Test, test, test
Above all, take nothing for granted. Test campaigns with Facebook Messages to check everything from renderability to deliverability. Will the best time to send campaigns be different? Will you need to experiment with different subject lines?