In previous posts, I have discussed how Whatsapp is part of Facebook’s plans to expand their social media presence. At the same time, an important monetization aspect remains marketing to the correct audience and Facebook has been struggling with this in recent times, what with reduced usage and migration of the younger audience to platforms such as Twitter/ Snapchat.
At such a time, Facebook has brought in new elements in Messenger which is aimed at helping brands engage the audience. This also includes messaging from the app which allows people to communicate from the app and the corresponding message will feature the app as well. This adds 2 elements – firstly the brand is able to ensure that the branding is not affected by the transfer from their app. Secondly The app is able to reach a larger audience of non users by motivating existing users to share information with their friends through the Facebook Messenger app.
For Facebook there are immediate benefits – greater involvement from new apps and developers whom they might be interested in acquiring at a later stage. But the most important benefit is that it rekindles the social relevance of Facebook. Over time, Facebook has been losing users and traction among existing users. Many people log into Facebook but time spent on the website has been going down while number of posts or images shared has also been reduced. This has a direct impact on the marketing revenues of Facebook. By enabling sharing through messenger, Facebook reactivates many dormant users while increasing their share of wallet of the marketing budget
The key to see is how quickly developers swarm onto this ecosystem and what other players such as Twitter do to oppose this. Twitter already has credit card and purchase through tweet systems coming in place and over time,they are definitely looking at providing brands with a channel not just for engagement but for closing the loop as well. It’s key that Facebook work on making Messenger not just a branding tool but also a method for completing the transaction. Ideally, partnerships with payment channels or acquisition of a payment startup may help them in this regard.