By Judy Boniface

GDPR comes into force in May, but there is still much work to be done. Here Judy Boniface, Chief Marketing Officer of Mailjet takes a look at how an initiative from Facebook could help you meet the

Facebook recently confirmed it is privately testing a platform that would allow retailers to send mass communications through Messenger to its purported 1.3 billion monthly users. Reach is, of course, a tremendously attractive number for Facebook, but there are several factors which marketers ought to consider before investing next year’s hard-won budgets.

Against the backdrop of tightening European data regulations, Mailjet commissioned a piece of research earlier this year to assess the major communication updates in development among social media and digital marketing providers and discovered that just 2% of consumers want to use chatbots to communicate with retailers.

Certainly, Facebook has struggled to drive ubiquitous adoption of Messenger bots among users. Since launching the functionality in 2016, Messenger has augmented bots with group chat capabilities, begun suggesting them through its AI assistant M and built a bot discovery section into Messenger.

Unlike a bot, this latest incarnation dubbed ‘Messenger Broadcast’ would allow businesses to send out messages without being asked a question first — though only to users that initiated a conversation with the company in the past. Access for retailers remains fundamentally rooted in earning the consent of users before engaging with them via Messenger Broadcast.

A universal dilemma

Under GDPR social media will be cast into the world of “opt-in” marketing, where the ability of retailers to reach out to consumers will hinge on clear approval for the use of data in a prescribed way. While Instagram Stories, Snap Ads and Pinterest Pins have all seen brands move into the social space fluidly, these platforms have never had to secure such tangible permission from users.

Becoming compliant in a way that earns consent could prove challenging for social media companies. When asked about major updates in brand communications through social channels, 35% of people responded saying they haven’t noticed a single one. In fact, only 6% of consumers had noticed Instagram’s ‘buy button’ and the platform’s Explore page change.

It paints a clear picture that while these channels are innovating, users don’t currently notice changes to the day-to-day experience. To win consent, Facebook must evolve services including Messenger to suit the more immediate needs of consumers and in…