Facebook Messenger Merge: What Does it Mean for PPC?
Facebook announced earlier this year that they have plans to merge the messengers on Facebook and Instagram with Whatsapp to create one distinct messaging stream, though the three will remain separate apps. This means that the messages one receives on Whatsapp should be accessible through your Instagram or Facebook, and vice versa. Though there is no specific date for this rollout as of yet, it is expected by the end of 2019 or early next year.
Facebook shifted its product offering slightly by moving Facebook Messenger to its own standalone app. It had the ability to text, call and video call with people in your Facebook “friends” as well as your contacts that also had the platform. With it no longer hosted on the Facebook app, it was better positioned to compete more directly with other messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Facetime and Viber. Though Facebook also owns Instagram and the two run a number of similar features such as Stories and a shared Advertising platform, it never introduced its Messager ads onto Instagram messaging.
Whatsapp, which was bought by Facebook in 2014, has never offered its app as an advertising platform. Famed for its end-to-end encryption, it offered its users a safe and secure messaging service. In a landscape where people are more wary of how their data is used and tracked, Whatsapp positioned itself and a safe haven from hackers or third-party cookies.
So, what impact will this have on ads?
Right now, Facebook runs ads on its own messenger app. With a number of options of ads to run on the platform. Advertisers can choose In-app message ads, promoting engagement with users or simply use the messenger app as a platform to show ads that drive traffic to their site. Though Whatsapp agreed it would never show ads on their platform in 2012 before it was sold, Last year, Facebook announced that they were going to start running ads on Whatsapp in 2019. This was announced before the merging of the platforms but has yet to be rolled out.
With over 90% of its revenue coming from advertising, Facebook relies on its user data to offer advertisers the targeting options relied on to run successful ads. With the three platforms linked, it would give Facebook a new platform to reach people. It would seem remiss of them not to take advantage. As all of the accounts will be officially linked, it means Facebook can target users based on their interests or behaviours on Whatsapp, just as it does now on Instagram. We are likely to see Whatsapp be introduced as another platform to advertise on through Facebook. What these ads will look like though, remains to be seen.
Other changes we are likely to see
Another thing to consider is that for Messenger and Instagram, users need to sign up their profile. Though, for Whatsapp, users just need a phone number. This means there will need to be changes made to the signup process to ensure that the accounts are now linked. Whether this is done by linking your phone number to your Facebook or Instagram account has not been announced.
The linking of the apps may also be a cause for more stringent safeguarding of user data. Facebook has already been the object of investigations due to its data collection and sharing practices in the past. Linking two large platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp, which have positioned themselves on different sides of the spectrum when it comes to using user data, will prove tricky and is likely to be watched closely by governing bodies.
Olwyn is our Paid Media Manager. After joining our parent company Friday Media Group in 2017, she gone from strength to strength, sharpening her knowledge around all things PPC, developing and executing highly successful strategies in several industries and becoming an all-round power-house of paid media. She also considers herself the funniest person in the office, were not sure on that one.