Facebook by the Numbers [infographic]

Facebook by the Numbers [infographic]The online social media news site, Mashable, has put together a very nice infographic giving an overview of the current state of the social platform Facebook.

We all probably know that more than 800 million active users are currently on Facebook, but what we should especially notice is that more than 50% of these log into Facebook every day.

For brands on Facebook, this is something that establishes how important and effective it can be for your business to be present with a Facebook page. With more than 2 billion posts liked and commented on every day, there’s a good chance to connect and engage with customers online. Further, I’m sure that it’s pretty much expected by customers that they can find all of their favourite brands in social media, if they want to know more about the brand or have a question they need answered.

Actually, a recent study made by MarketTools shows that 23% of firms offer customers support on Facebook, which means that it’s becoming more mainstream. The study included 331 companies with an annual revenue of more than $10 million, and it found that 23 percent of them provide customer service and support via the social network. However, 34 percent of the executives who responded were aware that customers use social media to comment on or complain about products and services, but just one quarter of those respondents said companies always respond. And this is definitely something to take notice of.

To get back to the infographic, some more stats in the infographic says that 75% of Facebook users are situated outside the US, but the average US Facebook users spends 7 hours and 46 minutes on Facebook per month. Further, the infograhic shows top 5 lists of for instance most liked pages, non-internet brands by likes etc. And then some more fun facts are included as well, illustrating how 83% of women are annoyed by their Facebook friends or how 48% of people say that they look at their ex’s profile too often.

But take a look at the infographic here – and let us know what you think 🙂

Facebook By the Numbers

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.