January 8, 2021

Let’s Talk Local #04: Facebook as a source of business with Florian Will

Facebook’s Florian Will joins us to talk about Facebook as a source of information on businesses.

We'll cover:

  • Why Facebook became a place where people could find business info
  • The shift from brand-level to local-level communication
  • The impact of direct messages on customer engagement

Listen & follow on Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform.

Conversation transcript

Text has been lightly edited for clarity.

Today, we're joined by Florian from Facebook. Florian, welcome! Thank you for being here. Can you give a little introduction about yourself and your role to our listeners?

Thank you so much for having me Evan, Great to be here. I'm Florian and I'm a Partner Solution Manager here at Facebook. So my role is to enable our great clients and agencies on our diverse ecosystem of third party technology companies that can support to solve challenges. And my role is really to consult on the best suitable solution to solve a challenge in Central Europe. Great to be here.

So your role is to work with third party companies, and PinMeTo is one of those companies, so that's how we’re connected. And I want to start off with a general question about Facebook's role, because I remember the first time I logged onto Facebook, which is a long time ago, and it was seen as primarily a social platform for connecting people to talk to my friends. But I didn't really see it as somewhere to go for information about businesses. But that has changed now, and I will go to Facebook if I'm looking for info about a local business. And I was wondering what encouraged Facebook to become a place where people could go to find info about local businesses?

I think that's a great and important question. So Facebook is a social platform, and around 2.5 billion people use Facebook every month to connect with friends and family and discover things that matter. With this amount of users, exactly as you say, your business’s customers are most certainly there as well. We at Facebook have clearly identified how users are interacting with businesses, and the other way around. So it is possible to stay connected with your community and your customers from anywhere.

And actually, in fact, a study stated that 7 in 10 businesses that were surveyed think that they are communicating effectively with their customers. However, only 2 in those 10 customers that were surveyed agreed with that. So this shows us that new ways of communication between businesses and customers need to be established. Facebook, and also our messaging ads, have provided an essential opportunity for businesses to leverage those new ways of communication.

It’s also important to mention that our platform's opportunity for businesses is always global, hence it's possible to grow across borders and connect seamlessly with customers.

And I want to ask you a bit about the way that communication is done, because something we've seen at PinMeTo is that in recent years, the way that big brands have been communicating with their customers has been shifting. It used to be at this high level, brand level communication, kind of putting out one big message to cover the brand’s whole audience. But now we're seeing that there is a shift towards local level messages, so more particularly tailored messages towards individual local audiences for the places these brands serve. How is facebook adapting to that shift from brand-level to local-level communication?

Great observation and something that we absolutely support as well. And so absolutely more and more advertisers realize Facebook's platform to be a key channel for effective and efficient direct response marketing, so to say. And this is not only relevant for digital e-commerce businesses, there are increasingly huge opportunities for brick and mortar or physical stores to really drive offline conversions. So exactly as you mentioned. As Facebook can be leveraged, for example, where PinMeTo is an expert, to mirror your offline point of sale structure via location pages and leverage local ads that we have, such as inventory ads or a dynamic creative location, and really engage more in leveraging offline conversion success for physical stores.

This requires a lot of capabilities, which PinMeTo can support and where we have been working together successfully. But there are also other Facebook marketing partners that can help within the specialty of creative measurement or ad technology. So there are huge opportunities that we natively support, but also allow our diverse and various ecosystem with many experts to participate.

For this customer engagement, one of these ways that customers try to engage with brands is using direct messages, and of course Facebook has that feature. I'm wondering how you see the business direct messages evolving in the future.

That's an important topic and really top of mind for us. So conversation is delivering next level brand experiences. Conversations shorten the distance between wanting and having, and people globally are embracing conversational commerce across a wide range of categories. So with the on-the-go, on-demand convenience that mobile affords, people now have zero tolerance for friction. Many are actually literally reappraising the relative values of time, effort, and money. In fact, 58 percent of people that were surveyed globally now consider convenience – so, communication – alongside price when deciding where to shop, which is very, very interesting if you ask me.

We’re like 87% of the world's smartphone population messaging, and with 100 billion messages exchanged across Facebook products every day, our conversations are uniquely positioned to answer shoppers call for better experiences. And maybe, maybe also suitable to the time right now. Last holiday season, two out of three people that were surveyed globally told us that they had messaged a business. So I'm really curious on how this is going to evolve in this holiday season of cross platform messaging on Instagram Messenger, which is even more seamless. And I touched a bit on the ecosystem where you are a big part of. And there are also chatbot partners as well that can help you to set up a chatbot, for example, to help you with a product catalog, to get conversational commerce for your business going and help you grow.

It's interesting that you mentioned the role of direct messaging this holiday season. I actually just yesterday interacted with a brand through Facebook. I was flying back home from Sweden – I'm from California and I live in Malmö, Sweden, where PinMeTo has its headquarters. And I was checking into my flight on KLM and they had this option, "Do you want the printed ticket? "Do you want it to email or do you want us to Facebook direct message to you?" And I thought, "Wow, what is this world that I'm living in, that Facebook is now sending me my boarding pass to my Facebook messenger?" It's really interesting, and, like you said, frictionless. So I thought, this is great, it just fit really easily into my life. I'm going to have the messenger app open the whole time when I'm waiting in line at the airport anyways. So if I can go from messaging my friends to showing my boarding pass in a few milliseconds, I think that's pretty cool.

Absolutely, pretty seamless. And I think there are huge opportunities for various verticals or industries ready to make use of that. And I suppose, like if you ask me, I did a lot of weird Covid purchases from businesses, and I think there would be even more if we had conversational commerce be put forward and supported for many businesses.

You know, I can't let you get away now that you said you've done some weird Covid purchases. Can you share at least one of those?

Actually, there's one thing I'm not sure if you have seen, but I got a lot of ads on Instagram for massage guns. So it's basically, it's massage equipment with an engine that you can put on your muscles on your shoulder, and it massages you. It is actually pretty good when you are working in the home office and don't have a proper desk. What about you?

I've been really into homebrewing lately, so, you know, various types of yeast or things to throw into a brew bucket. But that's great, a massage gun! I haven't tried that. Well thank you! So we've covered now both the Facebook ecosystem and also massage guns! So it's really valuable information for all of us, for our listeners all over the spectrum.

Thank you so much for having me. Great working with you!


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