Facebook seems to be expanding in all directions right now, from AI through to virtual reality. It has also been busy acquiring other social media platforms, among them Instagram and WhatsApp. Although it’s always impossible to tell exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has planned next for the social giant, the rumours of a merger between Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp are now firmly planted in reality. In fact, it’s on the cards to happen by early 2020.
What does the merger entail?
Although the exact details aren’t clear yet, it will mean combining the capabilities of Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram to enable users on any of these platforms to communicate with others on a different platform. The cross channel capability is designed to create a seamless messaging experience for users. It also presents opportunities for brands to create a more streamlined digital strategy when targeting these platforms.
The benefits of the Facebook Messenger merger
Essentially, it opens up the world of chat so that conversations can be seamless. Facebook is seeking to create one big communication platform that incorporates the preferences of consumers across all these three existing ones. It’s a huge market to tap into – 60 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp every day and Instagram has more than a billion monthly active users, for example. Combining the three would give Facebook access to a huge pool of consumers and make it easier for brands to reach them too.
Data privacy issues
Facebook has had a few data privacy issues recently and these have been well publicised. So, it faces quite a challenge when it comes to the proposed merger and the implications it may have for the way that users’ data is handled. Currently, these three platforms treat the conversations that take place on them quite differently. For example, WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption for every single chat whereas Facebook Messenger only provides this when users are in “secret chat” mode.
How might brands engage with a merged platform?
Look for greater insight into who the user is
Accessing these alternate social platforms currently requires different data each time. For example, anyone can use WhatsApp with just a phone number. However, users of Instagram and Facebook Messenger also have to provide details such as a name. When the merger takes place, bringing all this information together could provide greater insight into each user than brands using one of the platforms had previously been able to gather.
Opportunities to improve return on investment could also arise from this merger. For example, brands that are currently using just one of these channels will be able to apply their marketing efforts across all three without significant extra investment. A much wider audience will be available and management of all three channels can take place through just one medium.
The Facebook Messenger merger is due to take place in early 2020 and could signal significant change for messaging services. If you’d like to find out more about how to integrate this development into your marketing plans, take a look at the Iconic Digital blog.