Business messaging has become critical to consumers in Southeast Asia and Meta’s Benjamin Joe explains how to leverage it to increase operational efficiency and drive better results.

People and businesses have been communicating for years, mainly through face-to-face communication. But technology has changed all of that, including where and how people and businesses communicate.

As the world grows more mobile-first, people’s expectations of businesses are also evolving. Today, people want to engage with businesses not just face-to-face or over the phone, either via email and online, but also in their favourite messaging apps, with 50% of customers saying that experience is more important to them now compared to a year ago (CX Trend report by Zendesk 2022).

Additionally, seven out of 10 consumers report feeling closer to businesses they can message (Meta Data, February 2022).

Business messaging brings businesses and people closer together, allowing people to have one-on-one personalised connections with businesses, while helping businesses get the most out of their valuable conversations and drive business performance.

Globally, there are more than one billion people connecting with a business account across Meta’s messaging services every week. And across Southeast Asia, research conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Meta indicated that business messaging has become critical to consumers, with an average of nearly 70% adoption rate across Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand (BCG x Meta Whitepaper 2022).

Leveraging business messaging to increase your operational efficiency and drive better result

Unfortunately, not all businesses are well-equipped to meet the rising and ever-changing consumer demands. In recent years, businesses are being put under greater pressure than ever to balance better customer experience with the need for efficiency and measurable return on investment (ROI).

More than one-third of businesses say that it is important to know how each dollar they spend turns into profit. Additionally, they are facing industry headwinds with changes in data policies and regulations such as the elimination of third-party cookies, affecting their ability to create personal experiences – 43% of marketers and 55% of media agencies are concerned about the potential elimination of third-party cookies (Forrester, 2022).

In this context, business messaging not only helps businesses interact more personally at scale via artificial intelligence (AI) and automation; it is also the answer to effective digital marketing and a less dependent approach from cookies while bringing higher business performance.

A study conducted by Forrester Consulting and Meta in December 2022 showed that business messaging products have a 61% better impact compared to other communication channels previously used.

For example, in terms of sales, the order value from customers is 22.1% higher due to communication between sellers and buyers through business messaging.

As a result, more and more businesses are finding new reasons to expand their messaging strategies to not only create better customer journeys and drive loyalty, but to drive business performance.

Reducing friction, increasing ROI and reaching customers at scale via AI

AI has been an integral part of Meta's DNA and Meta Business Messaging is part of our suite of solutions that utilises AI as a business and creative partner, making it easier for marketers to augment and enhance what they are already doing.

Prior to AI automation, messaging via chatbots had to be manually created by typing in answers to commonly asked questions, which can be laborious and time-consuming. Now, with the power of AI,

Meta Business Messaging is capable of delivering relevant chat, with automated question-and-answer flows that feel natural and could significantly enhance your customer service experience.

Additionally, the investments we are making in AI modelling are helping us improve ad formats like lead ads and ads that click to message. In fact, 40% of our advertisers globally are already using click to message ads format (Q3 2022 earnings), and within Southeast Asia, more than 90% of advertisers in Singapore and Vietnam use click to message ads (Meta Data, March 2023).

One such example is Vua Nem, a leading mattresses and bedding retailer in Vietnam. Vua Nem wanted to attract more people with high purchase intent for its premium mattress products during its year-end sales promotion. It introduced a new campaign of ads that click to Messenger and set up an automated Messenger experience that offered people a unique promotion code when they messaged the business.

The company saw a 54% increase in new messaging connections and three times higher reach from ads that click to Messenger with an automated offer, compared to usual ads that click to Messenger.

Additionally, in countries where WhatsApp is the main form of communications, ads that click to WhatsApp are making it even easier to start conversations. Take for example, Anker Indonesia, a leading seller of portable charging technology and audio products.

The company wanted to turn up the frequency of its digital marketing efforts to expand its reach beyond email or SMS campaigns. It decided to develop a one-week campaign using WhatsApp to inform customers about a new flash sale on headphones. The open rates for messages in WhatsApp reached over 63%, add to cart rates reached over 27% and the team saw a high 6.65% sales conversion rate in one week (i.e., a significant number of customers opening messages through WhatsApp went on to purchase headphones).

How businesses can take their messaging strategies to the next level

To further accelerate their business growth, businesses need to focus on driving better ROI while making sure they are meeting consumer demand for richer brand engagement experiences. At Meta, we are not only committed to enable businesses of all sizes with our technologies and provide capabilities for accelerated reach but also create more personalised brand engagement experiences for consumers.