Did you hear what Facebook announced regarding three of its primary messaging apps?
It's pretty exciting!
Facebook is planning on integrating the messaging services of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
While all three of the apps will continue to work as stand-alone applications, the underlying messaging infrastructure will be integrated.
As an example, a WhatsApp user could potentially message an Instagram user.
According to the New York Times who interviewed 4 people familiar with the project, said the messaging integration effort will be complete by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
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Why Integrate Messaging Across Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp?
Facebook hasn't given clear reasons for doing so, but I believe it's a broad play to combine, contain and entrench users across Facebook's messaging ecosystem. Additionally, as you'll read below it's an even more ambitious attempt to compete with WeChat – the super app in China.
Reason #1 – Huge Business Opportunity
Integrating messaging services is a huge business opportunity, not only for Facebook but for businesses.
Why? Messenger Marketing and Chatbots.
It would be quite annoying for a business to build a Messenger bot for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Integrating Facebook's messaging ecosystem would allow business to message their customers and potential customers regardless of what messaging platform they are using.
This change would appear to extend the reach of a bot created for Facebook Messenger to a significantly much larger and more geographically and demographically diverse population, which creates a compelling case for businesses to engage and communicate with their customers via chat.
Reason #2 – Support (Not a Replacement) To E-mail Marketing
While e-mail marketing is still relevant today (it's not dead) – everyone has one. Although it's a $100 Billion dollar industry, e-mail marketing can be awful and annoying at times.
Companies and individuals can find and buy your e-mail address and send you unsolicited e-mails. And even when you do unsubscribe, there's still a possibility that the company or the individual won't honor your request.
While e-mail marketing can be spammy, it's still a valuable business communication mechanism because there's no user fragmentation – everyone uses e-mail. but people use so many messaging platforms.
Personally, I use Messenger, iMessage, Slack, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Merging messaging across these 3 popular applications would create a messaging system that could rival e-mail. Businesses could reach most internet users, while users could avoid spam since Facebook requires that users opt into receiving messages from businesses.
Reason #3 – WeChat “The Super App”
In China, WeChat is the Super App. There is no newsfeed, only WeChat.
WeChat is used as an alternative to a Web browser, not just for messaging, but also to buy clothing, call a ride-sharing service, order lunch, exchange business cards, share articles, etc.
This is what the typical day for a WeChat User looks like.
No such service exists in the Western-world due to user fragmentation of messaging platforms.
If Facebook can make it work and consolidate messenger utilization, which I think they will, more and more businesses could roll out services on top of that platform – making it The Super App in the Western-world.
This would make Facebook enormously more valuable as Tencent (the parent company of WeChat), which is currently worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
People already overwhelmingly love and prefer chat vs. e-mail and Facebook's announcement makes it even more critical that you as a business owner start engaging with your customers and potential customers via messaging.
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