Facebook sees an opportunity to connect businesses with its 1.2 billion Messenger monthly users — and create new revenue sources for the company along the way.
"There's an app consolidating phenomenon where people spend time on fewer and fewer apps," Kemal El Moujahid, Facebook's product manager for Messenger and virtual assistant M, told CNBC. "So, if you want to reach out to your consumers on mobile, you have to be considering Messenger."
There's a growing concern that digital media users aregetting sick of seeing too many ads in their social media feeds. Facebook Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner addressed the issue in July 2016, saying ad load (or the number of ads on a website or platform) would be a "less significant factor in driving overall growth, especially after mid-2017."
So as the main Facebook feed is almost full, the company is starting to monetize its other products. And there's plenty of room for growth on Messenger as more people include messaging apps as part of their daily lives. More than 2 billion people —about 80 percent of smartphone users — are expected to be on messaging apps by 2018, according to eMarketer.
"Our people are spending the whole day on Messenger, and they want to be able to run their life from Messenger," El Moujahid said. "Being able to consume these services without having to download an extra app is a huge added value for them."
Here's three main areas Facebook sees opportunities for businesses to use Messenger:
The phone is out of date for customer service because people can't multitask while talking, El Moujahid said. Email can be slow. Developing your own live chat experience can be costly. Many companies use online forms, but people don't often finish filling them out.
"It's not very delightful as a user, and you have a high dropout rate," El Maujahid said. "Messenger is more conversational."
Facebook is trying to convince companies to move those experiences to the Messenger platform, since 70 million businesses have a presence on Facebook already.
It's fairly easy to create AI bots for messenger, and most of the questions people have are simple enough for bots to understand, El Moujahid explained. For complicated requests bots can't handle, humans can always step in.
Facebook is working on ways to integrate other company's bots so users won't have to leave its app to use the other features.
For example, Messenger users can add Spotify songs. A clip of the song plays directly in Messenger, although users will have to leave the app and go to Spotify to hear the full track.