Almost a decade ago, Facebook separated from its in-app messaging platform, which became the Messenger app. Although people have been accustomed to keeping the two apps for years, Meta announced they might merge Facebook and Messenger again. On 7th March, Facebook Head Tom Alison published a blog post in which he wrote:
“We are testing the ability for people to access their Messenger inbox within the Facebook app and you’ll see us expand this testing soon.”
Whether the Messenger app is leaving for good has yet to be confirmed, but the social media giant still aims for users to keep Facebook and Messenger alike. Alison also highlights that their investments in artificial intelligence (AI) are “unlocking new ways for people to discover great new content on Facebook and share it with the people they care about.”
As specialists in social media marketing in Leicester, we believe these changes on Facebook and Messenger will impact small businesses. Continue reading to find out how.
Remembering the reason behind the separation
Looking back at the Facebook and Messenger separation in 2014, one will remember the mixed reactions. Some were either okay with it or had nothing to say; others were against it. Many Facebook users were furious because using a separate chat app took more effort and storage. Surprisingly, despite the people’s objection against the Facebook and Messenger separation, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Messenger gained half a billion active users a few months after the update.
In a live Q&A session on 7 November 2014, Zuckerberg explained:
“We wanted to do this because we believe that this is a better experience. Messaging is becoming increasingly important. On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well [. . .] Messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking. In some countries, 85 percent of people are on Facebook, but 95 percent of people use SMS or messaging. Asking folks to install another app is a short-term painful thing, but if we wanted to focus on serving this [use case] well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience. We build for the whole community. Why wouldn’t we let people choose to install the app on their own at their own pace? The reason is that what we’re trying to do is build a service that’s good for everyone. Because Messenger is faster and more focused if you’re using it, you respond to messages faster, we’ve found. If your friends are slower to respond, we might not have been able to meet up.”
As years passed, users made the most out of Messenger. Other than sending plain texts, they have utilised its media and file-sharing capacity, video calling and voice messaging feature, creative filters and backgrounds, and more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people heavily relied on social media. A research study from The University of Texas at Austin Center for Media Engagement states that:
“People reported that they increased the number of platforms that they used and spent more time on social media as a result of the pandemic [. . .] During the pandemic, Facebook and WhatsApp users saw 3% increases in the percentage of superusers saying that this was important. Facebook Messenger superusers saw a 13% increase.”
This confirms the reliability of Messenger as an individual app. Users take advantage of its features that make communication more accessible and seamless.
Why Messenger is re-merging with the Facebook app
The shift in users’ social media habits made them decide to test access to Messenger inbox within Facebook. However, it’s not a surprise anymore as the plan to put Messenger back into Facebook was already reported in June last year. It would be like “TikTok’s messaging functionality.”
Whatever the real motive of Meta behind this test, they made it clear that, “. . . [they] want it to be easy and convenient for people to connect and share, whether in the Messenger app or directly within Facebook.”
How the re-merging of Facebook and Messenger affects small business
Although the possible update might not make an apparent difference in exchanging messages with customers through the Messenger app, the convenience will surely encourage more customers to inquire about the products posted on the seller’s Facebook account.
As a social media marketing agency in Leicester, we see that convenience, time, and seamlessness can influence a consumer’s willingness to connect with a seller. Thus, brands or small businesses should take advantage of what the reintegration of the two apps can offer.
One of Meta’s focuses this year—aside from artificial intelligence, monetisation, and creators—is messaging, which entails re-integrating the Facebook and Messenger apps. Users may look forward to a more convenient and seamless way of messaging friends through Facebook, just like before. There are no details about how the reintegration will look and function yet, but small businesses or brands can already plan how to market their products and connect with their customers through the upcoming update.
Other Social Media Marketing Resources
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Is TikTok the New Google?: https://metricconnect.co.uk/is-tiktok-the-new-google/
TikTok’s Updated ‘Promote’ Tools to Amplify Organic Content: https://metricconnect.co.uk/tiktoks-updated-promote-tools-to-amplify-organic-content/