Meta Just Introduced AI-Powered Marketing Bots for BusinessesMarketers can now slide into prospective customers' DMs, for a price.


Meta wants to help your business make more money by monetizing your customers' DMs, and it's using AI to help.

The Mark Zuckerberg-founded company has announced a new AI-enhanced feature designed to help businesses engage with customers. The feature is a customized marketing chatbot that can send messages on communication platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp. One company with early access to the tech claims it helped it save at least 20 percent on customer support costs. 

In a blog post, Meta's head of global business operations, Nichola Mendelsohn, wrote that the company is currently testing a new feature that will enable businesses to create a customized AI chatbot that can chat with prospective customers on Messenger and WhatsApp, answer questions about products, and make recommendations. Customers will always have the option to request that a human agent take over, and businesses will also be able to jump in at any time. 

As an example of how businesses can use the AI marketing bot, Mendelsohn put the spotlight on the Philippines-based hospital apparel company White Coat Manila. In a short video, a woman named Mona clicks on a Facebook ad from White Coat Manila, which brings her to Messenger. Mona asks if they have any scrub tops in a woman's size M, and what color they would recommend. The bot responds that their best-selling color is merlot, which is back in stock in her size, and displays a collection of merlot-colored tops. After getting a few answers about the return policy, Mona tells the chatbot she's ready to buy a product, and a human agent takes over. 

According to Mendelsohn, White Coat Manila has saved "at least 20 percent on customer support costs" by using AI. Since the feature is still in testing, only select businesses can make their own custom bots, which they do by sharing information about themselves and their product catalog in the Meta Business Suite.

Mendelsohn also announced that select advertisers will soon be able to send paid marketing messages directly to prospective customers' DMs on Messenger. In an example video, Meta showed how these paid messages could be used to offer Messenger users coupon codes and exclusive discounts on their favorite brands. To identify targets, Meta's AI systems will recommend "the right subset of recipients based on the outcomes they care about the most -- like helping turn a lead into a conversion or generating awareness for a new product." 

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