Facebook has announced the integration of its messaging functionality that will link Messenger and Instagram Direct in a variety of different ways. Users of the two apps will be able to send chats, videos and pictures between the two platforms for the first time. Facebook’s integration of the two gives Instagram the best features that Messenger already has but to also give their uses access to the best messaging experience, no matter which app they are using. Evidence shows that one in three people find it difficult to remember where to find their conversation thread when using multiple social media platforms, therefore this integration will make things less confusing, however, it is not at full capacity just yet. Social media channels help businesses connect with their customers, increase brand awareness, boost traffic to their website and in return increase sales. With more than 3 billion users around the world using social media every day the engagement on these platforms is increasing and the platforms themselves are evolving.
Facebook’s goal is to have all their messaging platforms; Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp, all connected so users of each app can send a direct message to one another but without having to download each app onto their device. This would inevitably make Facebook the leader in global messaging with new opportunities on their social media platforms, for marketing, eCommerce and even more across the cross-platform network. However, the integration is not at this step yet – at this stage, all of the Instagram messages will remain only available on the Instagram app. The main change is that people using the Messenger app can now reach you on Instagram without you needing to download a new app, meaning you will be able to see your messenger threads in Instagram Direct. But all existing Instagram messages will only be available on Instagram, at least for just now.
The New Key Features
This new integration Facebook has announced will enable some new interesting features to celebrate the next stage in their evolution. The first new element will be chat colours, allowing the user to choose a colour for each of their chats for Instagram and Messenger. Selfie Stickers will be coming to the Instagram platform too allowing a unique hybrid of emojis and selfies. Giving the user a new way to interact and engage with each other. Another new interesting feature is ‘vanish mode’ – Facebook has been looking into this since the start of Snapchat in 2012. This is where the message will disappear after the recipient has read it.
While people around the world are trying to find new ways to stay connected to one another amid Covid lockdowns, Facebook introduced ‘Watch Together’ as one of their new exciting features. This lets Facebook users host video parties using Messenger Rooms and can invite up to 50 friends at a time. Instagram users will now be able to join ‘watch together’ video co-watching parties via messenger. The Watch Together feature will let users pick from a selection of video content, from TV shows to movies. This is providing a way to keep people engaged while physically separate. Facebook is trying to add more video content to the listings by establishing deals with distribution giants, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and more.
Furthermore, part of Facebook’s additional reporting and blocking capacity they have added message controls which will let users decide who can message them directly and where on the app the message is stored. Going forward you will be able to report a full conversation thread instead of screenshotting and reporting one part of the conversation. The last key feature is Facebook Messenger’s new logo. They have gone for a new colour gradient tone which is to reflect the future of messaging; being more fun, dynamic and connected with people.
Users of the social apps will be able to reject the new update however due to the appealing new features Facebook is convinced a lot will say yes. As well as the platforms merging messaging, users of Messenger and Instagram Direct will be able to search profiles on each platform, again users can opt-out of this feature if they choose. Facebook doesn’t have an exact date for when this integration will be available globally however the new features are currently getting tested in certain countries. No timeline has been realised but some people suspect that Facebook will try and integrate WhatsApp with Messenger and Instagram Direct too.
Why is WhatsApp not included in this Integration?
Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp and with the new announcement, people are wondering if it includes WhatsApp too. The integration does not include WhatsApp as of yet, Facebook has commented on this issue and said they are focusing on the cross-app functionality for Facebook and Instagram first as they need to do more research on how the cross-app communications will work on WhatsApp.
The Integration plan to bring all 3 platforms together will be difficult as it will raise privacy issues. Facebook and Instagram people give their true identities and a lot of information about themselves whereas for Whatsapp people only give their phone number. Not all users of all three platforms will want integration; some might decide to keep them separate. If the three apps become knitted together it could also mean being served ads on WhatsApp too, Right now WhatsApp is just a call and messaging app with no marketing communications however this might be one of the things changing if WhatsApp gets integrated with Facebook and Instagram. A Facebook spokesperson has said that “WhatsApp will remain a separate app at this time” as they are still determining how to integrate the app with Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
More Opportunities for brands
With the integration of Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct and the possibility of WhatsApp adding to this integration, it will give businesses the platform to reach out to customers on the three platforms all at once which will save time and resources for brands. With the update, businesses can reach a larger, worldwide demographic and connect with new and existing customers. This type of communication could overtake email marketing as it’s more engaging and user-friendly. The average open rate on email campaigns is 20% however brands could see up to 80% open rates and click rates by messaging customers via Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct all at once.
It could be a big opportunity also for brands looking to increase their Instagram presence. Data suggests that over the past 12 months daily conversations between people and businesses using Messenger or Instagram Direct increased by 40%. Brands can have more meaningful interactions with customers on Instagram which will improve customer satisfaction and drive more sales.
The continued integration of Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct comes just after Facebook announced they are going to push more e-commerce elements on the platforms too. Recently Instagram has added shopping capabilities to their video features; Reels and IGTV. This aligning with the fact video content is getting increasingly more engagement from people on social media. People will be able to watch these videos on Instagram with buttons which take them straight to that specific product – making the customer experience and journey more seamless.
Facebook recently introduced chatbots to its platform too. This gives businesses a channel to easily connect with customers around the globe with a single chatbot platform – for Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct. Chatbots are becoming more used in marketing and can be seen as a big opportunity over the next couple of years. Chatbots are great for brands if you want to be more user-centric as it incorporates artificial intelligence, automation, personalization and interactivity. It becomes an instant customer service feature which customers love as they get an answer or the next steps instantly.
Facebook can be seen as copying WeChat’s business model by moving all their messaging apps to one single system. In China there is no Facebook, there is only WeChat. The platform is like a one-stop-shop app as it has the messaging feature but also it’s an alternative to a search engine, you can shop and buy clothes on the app and even order food etc. There is no service like it due to having a range of messaging platforms elsewhere instead of having one.
With Facebook being in the early stages of the integration of their apps, they are wanting to give assurance that their plans comply with GDPR as a lot more people are concerned about their privacy online. In 2019, WeChat recognised this and added message cryptography to their app to give their users the choice on their privacy.
WeChat is used by nearly 800 million smartphone users in China and as it is available in other regions, therefore has over 1 billion active user base a month. To build an app that does everything is an immense challenge that even WeChat struggled to overcome therefore for Facebook to fully do this right it could take years.
Facebook has commented on this new integration and said it will be rolling out their new features across Instagram and Messenger in a couple of countries around the world first with a global rollout coming soon. This new update brings loads of new interesting features to Instagram Direct and Messenger. It’s the next big step for Facebook’s integration of their apps, making it easier for their app users to stay connected no matter where in the world they live. Facebook’s integration plan will eventually make their platform the world’s largest interconnected messaging network. Facebook has been under scrutiny recently for privacy problems, especially with the plan including merging all three apps; Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook started the process last year with the branding to all of their apps and bringing them under one unified banner.
This development can be a great opportunity for businesses especially since Facebook is pushing more eCommerce elements on the platforms too. Research has shown over the last year a 40% increase of daily conversations between brands and people on Messenger and Instagram Direct. The interactions brands can have on social messaging can be more meaningful to the customers which in turn will improve customer satisfaction and drive more sales.
Social media is an essential part of every business marketing strategy, whether it’s a small shop or a big national brand. With platforms updating features constantly and the news of some apps integrating can be exciting or worrying for businesses – as some brands might not know how to use the new features and keep updated with it all. If you are struggling to keep your social strategy current and struggling to find the best way to utilize these new elements, contact us today. We can enhance social media presence and your brand awareness, improve the quality of traffic to your website and create better quality leads so you can get better results. Our marketers at Jam digital, live and breathe social media, therefore, you will be in the best hands.
If you need support or advice with your social media strategy, Jam Digital can help. Outsourcing to Jam can offer your business the opportunity to optimise your time and budget through partnering with our team of experts, ultimately we will generate the best results for your business.
For more information and advice on Digital Marketing contact Jam Digital Marketing today on 0330 094 7323, email: email@example.com.