The latest expansion to Instagram focuses on messaging, courtesy of a new integration with Messenger tools, the parent company revealed Monday via blog post.
One particularly annoying trait of modern messaging is the need for businesses to hop from one platform to another, just to wrangle their online customer communications. With the new Messenger API — developer tools that allow apps to communicate and work together — businesses on Instagram can have more efficient communications by bringing their IG messaging to other platforms.
Merchants and other brands would be able to handle messages from across Instagram, including Profile, Shops and Stories, and integrate them with other business apps and workflows — like CRM systems, which may get a more comprehensive view of customer loyalty efforts.
The change will also bring features from Facebook Shops messaging to the Messenger API, as well as offer automated responses to businesses on Instagram. The Messenger app has allowed bots for years, but it’s the first time automation will come to Instagram messaging. Here, companies can set up quick replies to common customer questions.
The update is not yet available broadly, but now graduates from alpha to closed beta testing.
“We are excited about early results some businesses saw during alpha testing, including higher response rates, reduced resolution times, and deeper customer insights as a result of integrations,” Messenger product manager Marion Boiteux wrote in a Facebook blog post. “We’re also testing with a limited number of developer partners, and are delighted at the initial response.”
Michael Kors is one of the early partners. According to a spokesperson for the brand, “We are now able to increase efficiency, drive even stronger user engagement, and easily maintain a two-way dialogue with our followers. This technology has helped us create a new pipeline for best-in-class service and allows for a direct line of communication that’s fast and easy for both customers and our internal team.”
Other companies that have been testing the tools include Adidas, Amaro, Glossier, H&M, MagazineLuiza, Nars and Sephora, among others.
Facebook also highlighted cases like those of alpha partners Clarabridge and Khoros Marketing. Clients using the former’s customer experience platform to manage Instagram direct messages improved response rates by as much as 55 percent. The latter reported that clients saved four hours a week on average, compared to when they used to deal with DMs directly, and shortened response rates during business hours.
The benefits of streamlining customer communications are apparent for brands. For Facebook, it’s the latest effort to more tightly integrate the various platforms under its umbrella.
“The updates to the Messenger API are part of our overall effort to make it easier for businesses to reach their customers across our family of apps,” Boiteux said.
As testing continues, businesses and developers can signal their interest by signing up for their respective waitlists.