Brafton recently reported that Facebook was testing a new “pay-for-delivery” message service that charged users $1 to get messages into members’ inboxes, even when senders and receivers weren’t connected through the service. The new program only allows consumers to interact and pay for message delivery, not brands, but that may change if the service takes off.
AYTM Market Research conducted a study in December 2012 to determine how often users send and receive Facebook messages. According to the source, 26 percent of survey U.S. Facebook members participate in the practice. More, 35 percent said they sometimes use the messaging feature, and 13 percent don’t send or receive content at all.
The source also asked Facebook users about the new “pay-for-delivery” feature and discovered that most members wouldn’t use the service. Ninety percent of Facebook participants said that they would definitely not pay $1 to send messages to people outside of their social networks. If AYTM Market Research asked brands, responses would likely be very different.
While members might not see the value of sending content to users outside of their networks, marketers immediately see the lead generation benefit of “pay-for-delivery” services. Currently, social media marketers use the messaging system rarely. In fact, the only benefit of sending messages to users today is for social care opportunities. Brands are able to respond to users’ comments via Facebook through personal messages, but opportunities to reach additional fans for a small fee could cause more social media marketing professionals to look to the service for help.
In April 2012, about 46 percent of U.S. marketers reported using Facebook messaging as an outreach asset. But the report also found that 19 percent of brands will increase their private messaging efforts over the next 12 months. Facebook has an opportunity to bolster its direct marketing feature by providing professionals with a lead generation and nurturing tool that builds brand awareness and engagement.
Social media marketing will evolve over the next year to show meaningful ROI, and as platforms unveil tools to help brands thrive on the web, spending on social outreach will also rise steadily. Therefore, businesses should begin strategizing for the inevitable rise in online marketing resources by dedicating more time and money to understanding how new technology works.