Facebook led the Summit with this very interesting statistic: “There are now more messaging users than social users globally.” While the semantics of “messaging” vs. “social app” draw a fine distinction, on raw user count alone, WhatsApp and Messenger account for 2.9 billion users, and Facebook alone sits at 2.4 billion.
With these numbers in mind, Facebook’s contention is that conversation should be a larger part of the consumer journey when it comes to advertising, even noting that consumers are increasingly expecting to be as well, creating a virtuous cycle of sorts.
While the move indeed indicates that Facebook’s chief executives are looking to centralize acquired properties that once operated with relative autonomy, the integration also marks a response to growing concerns over user privacy. Under this new technical configuration, all the messaging platforms will be endowed with end-to-end encryption, warding off the possibility that people other than those taking part in conversations will ever read messages sent on the platforms.
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At the Collision conference in New Orleans on Tuesday, Facebook’s head of product for Messenger, Stan Chudnovsky, spoke with Recode’s Kurt Wagner about how the company is trying to unite the messaging app’s 1.2 billion users with the 60 million businesses in the Facebook ecosystem.
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The pieces are in place for Messenger to become a major new marketing platform. Indeed, the various (mostly mobile) use cases range from customer service to e-commerce. So far, none of my experiences has been great. But there’s huge potential over time.
Bots could displace apps just as apps displaced search. “Search started with consumers typing into a box,” Pingup’s Ron Braunfeld said recently. “[AI] is all about knowing where you are, time of day, what’s in your refrigerator; and giving you the right information without having to search.”