Digital marketing news 120 Spot Studio Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Weekly Roundup #120 – GAMB, WhatsApp & FB Groups

Here we are again with another round up of the most interesting developments in digital marketing for the week. Before reading on, you can catch up on last weeks edition here, where we took a look at why tech giants are joining up with supermarkets, if digital wallets will kill cash, and how to market to an overseas audience.

Back to this week, we cover the following:


WhatsApp Pilots New Services for Businesses

WhatsApp – the messaging app owned by Facebook – has been testing a pilot program that is set to monetise the application. Used by over 1 billion people every day, WhatsApp will now offer a ‘verified’ green badge next to a business contact that acts as proof that the business has been authenticated by the company.

Having been tested in India, Brazil, Indonesia and Europe, companies that have taken part in the pilot, such as the Indian healthcare startup that sells prescription drugs online, have said that using the app to communicate with customers was, “much easier than through SMS or our app.”

WhatsApp has explained that they know that businesses have different needs, and that they,

“Want an official presence – a verified profile so people can identify a business from another person – and an easier way to respond to messages.

We’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks.

These businesses will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.”

Luxury fashion retailer YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP has also trialled the technology, and have found that it has functioned as another sales channel. Gabriele Tazzari, Director of Research & Development noted that,

“To date we have made countless sales across WhatsApp, even selling a single item for over £80,000.”

Whatsapp has made the necessary updates to their terms & conditions and privacy policies, and the company explains their latest developments as a response to changes in the rest of the communications sphere.

“Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls.

People use our app every day to keep in touch with the friends and loved ones who matter to them, and this isn’t changing – but as we announced earlier this year, we want to explore ways for you to communicate with business that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam.”


The New Tech that Combines Mobile Web with Downloaded Apps

There are several new changes and technologies that have been created in order to make using the mobile web more smooth and efficient:

PWAs and Instant apps are designed to blur the line between the mobile web and an app, creating a seamless user experience; and the eCommerce platform Hollar, which sells ‘cool’ gifts starting at $1, has seen sales increase impressively thanks to its instant app.

James Ho, vice president of product development at Hollar, noted that the instant app,

“Has allowed us to be more efficient in converting what I call the ‘undecided’ app user, who allows us into their device—at least temporarily—for a better experience […]

They get all the benefits of a highly converting, highly engaging install path, without us ever having to get in their face about trying our app.”

The ease of using the instant app means that customers do not feel pressured to download a native app and they get a better experience than using the mobile web alone.

Hollar noticed another advantage of using the instant app, as it unearthed an unforeseen marketing insight. They discovered that most of its best converting traffic was thanks to email messaging, not search as it had previously assumed.


Facebook Looks to Monetise its ‘Groups’

Facebook Groups

Facebook has selected several of its groups – in the areas of parenting, cooking and lifestyle – to test out its latest development. The social giant will start to let group admins charge a monthly fee in order to access a special sub-group full of exclusive posts.

Charging between $4.99 and $29.99 per month, this development will allow Facebook to eventually monetise its groups feature which currently has over 1 billion users.

Facebook explained that the original motivation behind this move came from the Groups themselves, some who wish to build revenue, and others who plan to use the funds to put into the group’s offline activities.

Alex Deve of Facebook explained that,

“It’s not so much about making money as it is investing in their community […] The fact that there will be funds coming out of the activity helps them create higher-quality content.”

Deve also noted that the groups have their own ideas, and that Facebook is interested to see how they will evolve.

Sarah Mueller’s ‘Declutter My Home’ group is launching a $14.99 per month ‘Organize My Home’ subscription group that will offer its members exclusive checklists and video guides to help them stay on track.

The ‘Grown and Flown Parents’ group will build a subscription group based around college admissions, so that parents have access to college councellors for a $29.99 membership fee.

Content creators can also look forward to a range of offerings that are currently in the pipeline at Facebook – subscriptions, ad revenue shares, tipping, sponsored content and product placement would all be ways for creators to monetise their content where they were previously giving it away for free…


How Chatbots are Helping with Lead Generation

Chatbots are becoming a very popular way for brands and companies to generate new leads.

Automating conversations between customer and brand, chatbots make it possible to hold thousands of conversations at once, providing all of those customers with valuable insights.

Sephora is one brand that has had great success with chatbot technology; it partnered with messaging app, Kik, to offer customers makeup and skincare tips, tutorials and product reviews. A second chatbot was created to help customers set up in-store appointments, and Sephora also partnered with Facebook Messenger to use AI for visual search – resulting in ‘Sephora Colour Match’.

Sephora’s chatbots saw customers who used the technology spend $50 more than those who didn’t, and bookings increased by 11% through the bot.

These increases in revenue and engagement are thanks to the chatbots ability to store data on each customer – remembering their product preferences, suggesting related products and compiling information and preparing for the most frequently asked questions.

Chatbots do not simply answer questions, they can use the data they collect to personalise the customer experience, and to move leads through the purchasing journey.

Facebook Messenger has over 1 billion users, and now offers a ‘Click to Message’ feature in the Facebook app – allowing businesses to connect to new leads. By using Chatfuel, Chattypeople or Botsify – along with many other chatbot builders – it is possible to quickly and easily program a chatbot for your company.

The bot can ask the leads qualifying questions throughout chat in order to identify those that are qualified leads – and can offer discount codes, a free trial, an ebook or an easy-to-book appointment in order to move them further along the sales funnel.

Including a chatbot on the landing page is a smart move for most companies, as it is safe to assume that once someone has clicked onto your site, they would like further information. The chatbot can glean what kind of information each visitor requires, and can offer it to them in a quick and efficient way.

“The very nature of chatbots is to gain more information over time, so keep that in mind when developing one of your very own.

The insights about your customers can help you with segmented marketing campaigns, recommend products and services, and upsell, to name a few benefits.”

Marcela de Vivo of ClickZ

It seems as if chatbots are most certainly the future, and brands who do not partake may be left behind.

A recent Facebook survey has found that customers are 50% more likely to buy from a brand after chatting with them – and it was neither here nor there whether they spoke to a human or a bot.


What GAMB – The Global Alliance of Merchants on the Blockchain – Means for Business

The German software company Gambio is building GAMB – the Global Alliance of Merchants on the Blockchain. GAMB will allow sellers on the platform to help shape the rules of the marketplace, which is in contrast to the more centralised marketplaces of Amazon, for example.

Decisions about features and services, costs and fee structures will be made by the merchants themselves in a decentralised, autonomous organisation.

Online shopping is seen as a centralised space, as the merchants within it are consolidated and therefore have very limited autonomy; and this centralised format is susceptible to fraudulent activity and the risk of hidden charges.

Instead, by using cryptocurrency and blockchain, merchants could circumvent the issues of a centralised organisation. Dr. Felix Hotzinger, Senior Advisor explains that,

“By using blockchain technology, we can provide a platform which not only provides secure transaction, but an opportunity to create an ecosystem of vendors and merchants which is self governing.”

Although GAMB is going up against the biggest tech giants in the world, there is optimism that their system could enable businesses to manage their eCommerce offering locally, whilst also pooling all of their data in order to continually improve their positioning.


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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

Controlling the chaos of the digital landscape, Sebastian is a multiplatform executive, project manager and photographer.