Yellow Pages and directory services have been adapted in a variety of ways in response to the rising role of the Internet in everyday life and the economy. Facebook’s newest reveal will challenge the Yellow Pages industry with upcoming adjustments to their Facebook Messenger app that will make it easier for consumers to engage with chat bots and businesses.
Facebook’s messaging feature previously lived on the native Facebook mobile application before migrating to its own separate app in 2014. With billions of messages sent a day through Facebook, the move to a separate application was framed as a way for the messaging experience to receive its own preferential treatment. The decision has paid dividends for Facebook, with Facebook Messenger recently reaching 1.2 billion users as the most popular messaging app in North America, according to SimilarWeb.
Since then, Facebook Messenger’s newest innovation comes in the form of bots, which allow customers to interact with artificial intelligence through their favorite brands and companies. Currently, Messenger has 100,000 active bots; however, only 4 percent of companies have deployed chat bots and 31 percent are currently testing them, according to Forrester Research. For the millions of businesses who have active pages on Facebook, the expectations for customer service and the role of artificial intelligence in business roles has been raised.
According to Business Insider, the newest addition to the Messenger bot software will include a new “Discover” tab, which will make it easier for consumers to find and interact with brands. Because of its large network of data, the Messenger Discover tab created a platform where users can discover local businesses through mapping locations or searching by brand. The incentive for businesses to participate is high, as Facebook has already become a central hub and chat bots can now serve as a customer service tool. Half of U.S. consumers say they prefer to use some form of messaging for customer service, according to Aspect.
Yellow Pages and directory services have evolved to take on the digital age, as consumers have become increasingly accustomed to searching online for products and businesses. Dirxion offers print Yellow Pages services with flip-and-feel online versions as well as an Internet Yellow Pages product called Local Search. Online versions of the print Yellow Pages use PDFs of the publication and are easy to navigate while providing flexibility to print and distribution costs. With the Local Search product, Dirxion creates and provides a website for local directories to sell space on that website to local businesses to advertise on. SEO strategies can be implemented on the sites, pushing the Local Search engine up higher when customers search for products or businesses advertised on the site.