On Tuesday 16 January 2018, David Marcus the Head of Messenger at Facebook revealed, in a post on the platform, that the Messenger app will undergo some major changes in 2018.
Messenger now has 1.3 billion active monthly users and has seen businesses and services become more active on the Messenger Platform with over 200,000 bots now live. According to Marcus, businesses are currently driving traffic at scale to their Messenger experiences thanks to click-to-Messenger ads and the recently introduced Messages Objective.
The Facebook Messenger Head also touched on the rise of visual communication, with over 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs sent since inception. He also revealed that there were 17 billion video chats on Messenger in 2017 – two times as many as compared to 2016. With AR filters and effects, plus the ability to get together in one-on-one and group video chats (for up to 50 people at a time!), people were connecting with voice and video calling more than ever before.
Marcus, on the plans for 2018, in his post said “Now we’re setting our sights on 2018 to make Messenger the best way to spend time together when you’re apart, or to make plans to spend more time together in the real world. We want to make Messenger the best way to organise a night out with friends, do your homework, or simply connect with the people you care about via text, photo, video, or realtime audio or video. We want you to be able to dream about a vacation with family and friends and plan it all in one place. We want you to save time and effort when communicating with businesses, and make payments even simpler.”
How Facebook Messenger will change in 2018:
1) Increased focus on real time: The post revealed that Facebook will continue to invest in real time communications after the growth it showed in 2017.
2) Group Chats: Facebook revealed that Group Chats will receive a number of new features in 2018.
3) Simplification: Facebook highlighted that previous updates began to make the app too cluttered. They plan to invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger.
4) Visual Messaging: An increased focus on Visual Messaging. “I predict visual messaging will fully explode in 2018; people will expect a super fast and intuitive camera, video, images, GIFs, and stickers with almost every conversation,” said Marcus in his post.
5) Customer Care: Facebook plans to evolve messenger into a “true Customer Care channel.” According to a Facebook-commissioned study by Nielsen, 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service, and 67% expect to message businesses even more over the next two years.
6) Marketing Channel: In 2018 Facebook will look for investment in rich messaging experiences not only from global brands, but small businesses who need to be creative and nimble to stay competitive.