Social media platforms merging! Boon or bane?
There could be a lot of reasons why Facebook is contemplating the integration and to save you the trouble, we have listed them down for you
By Sahil Chopra
Facebook has announced the merging of the 3 platforms namely, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. It is rebuilding the underlying infrastructure so that people who might use only one of Facebook’s properties could communicate with others within the company’s ecosystem. Though the date of incorporation hasn’t been finalized yet.
Messaging helps people stay connected all the time and it fosters a seamless, simple, reliable and private way of communicating with one another. As per a statement by a Facebook spokesperson, “the aim is to make messaging products end-to-end encrypted and make it more convenient to stay connected with friends and family. Not to mention, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are ample algorithms, formats, functionalities of the digital ecosystem that need to be in sync for implementation.”
By allowing these messaging apps to merge across platforms, Facebook is hoping that it will keep its users more engaged and get them to use this merged system as their primary messaging service. By doing so, the company could also tout higher user engagement to advertisers, bumping up its advertising arm at a time when growth has slowed down. But the big question is, will it be a boon or a bane to the digital marketing companies? Cross-platform messaging may also lead the way for businesses on one platform to message potential customers on another and it might make it easier for Facebook to share data across the three platforms, to help its targeted advertising efforts. As per the statistics, Instagram is touted to currently influence 75% of their user purchase decisions. With the ongoing craze for social media amidst the masses and the classes alike, this figure is likely to grow manifold.
While all three apps will continue to work as stand-alone applications, the underlying messaging infrastructure will be integrated. For example, a WhatsApp user could message an Instagram user, something that’s currently not possible.
The project is likely to be completed by the end of 2019 as reported by The New York Times and with time we shall know how it affects digital marketers.
The integration has been the cause of a lot of conflict lately as the founders of both Instagram and WhatsApp have left Facebook due to the rising control over the apps that were stand-alone earlier. There could be a lot of reasons why Facebook is contemplating the integration and to save you the trouble, we have listed them down for you:
1. The integration will help digital marketers to target customer base of three platforms at
one go which is a big win considering the time and effort devoted to different ad
campaigns on different social media platforms.
2. Every business is adapting chatbots to generate multiple leads in a shorter period of
time. The integration would allow to have one chatbot for all the platforms and chatbots
will be able to contact users, regardless of what platform they are on.
3. Unsolicited emails you didn’t sign up for are annoying and unsubscribes don’t usually
help. Email marking is a $100+ Billion-dollar industry as there is no such credible
alternative to emails for business-to-consumer communications. Everybody uses emails,
but different messengers. The integration could create one such alternative to emails as
businesses would easily be able to reach consumers on all the three popular social
4. China uses we-chat for almost all the services online such as to buy clothes, call a ride-
sharing service, order lunch etc. Although there are different apps for different services
in Western markets, but integrating all that a consumer needs will increase the ease of
access to these services.
Lately, there have been various questions rising related to security as WhatsApp offers end to end encryption of the data but Facebook does not and how this affects the integration is something everyone has got eyes on.
Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at John Hopkins University, said the change “could potentially be good or bad for security and privacy”.
The integration will make way for a broader communications landscape and definitely add to the worth of Facebook which is currently estimated to be $500 billion.
According to Statista’s report, the numbers of messaging app users will rise up to 2.48 billion in 2021 and with the integration we can expect a huge potential market for brands.
The author of the article is Founder & CEO at iCubesWire.