Are ‘recurring notifications’ Meta’s answer to email marketing?

Meta has announced a new feature for businesses marketing products on their platforms – recurring notifications. Initially available through Facebook Messenger, the capability will also be rolling out on Instagram.

The feature is designed to help deliver tailored and timely messages to customers, with the possibility to trigger messaging automatically, depending on the situation. For example, a book store could send customers a triggered message when they’re favourite author releases their next book.

Meta has provided some detail on the kind of capabilities businesses can take advantage of with recurring messages;

  • Tailored and timely messages that ‘drive action’: create personalised messages about your chosen topic to help you meet their business goals:
    • Discovery: Product discovery recommendations, brand inspiration content, newsletters
    • Consideration: Product alerts, behind-the-scenes news, pre-sale alerts, recommendations based on past purchases
    • Conversion: Discount codes, promotional content, loyalty rewards, partner offers
    • Engagement: Tips, community stories, cross-sells, product service reminders
  • Message throughout the customer journey: Messages can be sent daily, weekly or monthly so businesses can reach customers at any moment in their journey.
  • Send messages that deepen customer relationships: Customers must opt-in before you can send recurring messages, and are shown the topic and frequency in advance. This helps ensure a positive customer experience and maintains customer trust. Naturally, they can opt-out at any time with a tap.

But, all this won’t come for free. Meta is describing recurring notifications as an optional ‘premium feature’, meaning eventually businesses would need to pay to use the functionality. For the time being however, it’s available to businesses using the Messenger platform as a free trial.

Another nail in the email coffin?

So why do I draw such a direct parallel with email marketing?

Email is currently one of the main channels businesses use for this type of data-driven, triggered communication. Marketers use email for personalisation, A/B testing and as a key channel for ongoing customer engagement. Companies like Mailchimp have built entire businesses on it.

However, the widening of these types of communications into the instant messaging space feels like an obvious evolution.

And if you want evidence that Meta is thinking along the same lines, look no further than their product webpage for recurring notifications.

Screenshot from developers.facebook.com; Meta is already using Email as a direct comparison point for its recurring notifications case studies.

Only time will tell how consumers will engage with and react to recurring notifications. With opt out being only a tap away, businesses will need to be creative & thoughtful about what kinds of messages are appropriate for their valuable customers.