With Facebook’s latest announcement about their messaging platforms, Mark Zuckerberg is getting one step closer to achieving his vision of connecting the world. The social media company has released news about their plan to merge three of their most popular platforms to form a cross-platform integration for easier communication. In this article, I’ll be going over what marketers and agency owners can expect as Facebook integrates Messenger with Instagram and WhatsApp.
Instagram, Facebook Messenger WhatsApp Merge
While Facebook has already made significant updates to its Messenger platform recently, the company has even bigger plans for the future. By the year 2020, Facebook aims to merge the messaging facilities of all three services, while keeping the apps themselves separate. The Instagram, WhatsApp Facebook Messenger integration has a ton of potential to redefine how we, as users, interact with the apps.
According to Facebook, all three services will remain as standalone apps that are distinct from one another, but they will share the same infrastructure and connect at a much deeper level. This means you will be able to send messages across platforms.
For example, a Facebook user could send a message to a WhatsApp-only user using Messenger, something which is currently impossible.
What Will WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger Merger Look Like?
Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook are three of the world’s biggest messaging networks. Between the three of them they have more than 2.6 billion users globally. That’s approximately 34 percent of the world’s population.
Not only does this mean increased connection across a huge segment of the population, but the new messaging facilities will reportedly have a strong focus on privacy. Zuckerberg has reportedly ordered that all of the apps incorporate end-to-end encryption, which protects messages from being seen by anyone except the people who are part of the conversation. WhatsApp has long been a favorite messaging platform because of its encryption capabilities.
While this end-to-end encryption may ease some fears for users after Facebook’s data and privacy breach issues from 2018, data privacy is still a concern for skeptics who are worried about such integration.
It’s expected that work on the messenger integration will finish at the end of 2019 or early next year.
How Will The Instagram, WhatsApp Facebook Messenger Integration Work for Consumers?
One significant difference in the messenger integration is that while Instagram and WhatsApp consumers will be able to use the apps anonymously, Facebook will still require you to use your real name. As per usual, WhatsApp will require users to have a functioning mobile phone number to operate, though the others do not.
Another significant difference is that the Messenger integration will see Facebook advertisements merge with the other platforms as well. While this is a huge benefit to brands and digital marketing agencies, many WhatsApp users who are accustomed to an ad-free experience may resent advertisements following them across from Facebook
There is a good chance of cross-platform spam, misinformation, and unwanted communication occurring, particularly for WhatsApp users who are used to more private conversations.
Another worry about this unified Facebook chat system is that it will force users to connect their different accounts for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp into a single online identity, which would certainly help Facebook’s ad business but might not be great for end users.
What Will The Instagram, WhatsApp Facebook Messenger Merge Do for Marketers?
If consumers react well to Facebook’s ambitious messenger merge, then this change will make a lot of social media marketers happy. As I mentioned previously, the combined user-base of the three apps is 2.6 billion globally, and this new chat system will give marketers access to that base through a singular channel.
This also means that brands will be able to reach audiences across different platforms without necessarily having to be on that platform. For instance, if you have a Facebook page set up for your brand and you use chatbots through Messenger, that bot can then reach out to users in WhatsApp without your brand having to set up any kind of profile or account in WhatsApp. Basically, brands could be tripling their reach without having to increase resources by much, if at all.
It will also be interesting to see what, if any, new ad formats Facebook will offer to brands to run campaigns across channels. If brands are able to reach out with a continuous narrative across each platform without the user seeing repeat content, that could be a huge opportunity for engagement and story-telling.
While there are still many unknowns about how this will play out, the announcement has certainly gotten people talking and questioning not only how the messenger integration will work, but why Facebook is planning such a merge.
Is one chat system necessary? Or, is it a way for Facebook to take three popular platforms and turn it into one unified advertising monster! Although the update will not occur until 2020 it will be interesting to see over the next several months how this decision will take shape or if it will ever become a reality.
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