digital marketing

Triple threat: What Facebook messenger merging means for digital marketing

We predict higher levels of digital engagement

While Facebook made significant updates to its Messenger platform recently, the company has even bigger plans for the future of digital marketing. Back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg made one of the largest venture backed purchases in history with the acquisition of WhatsApp. The 21.8 billion dollar purchase caused a Silicon Valley stir and dwarfed its previous Insta buy; now with three of the biggest social sharing platforms at their feet, Facebook are starting to flex their muscles.

As a previous WhatsApp tenet, data privacy seems to be at the forefront of every social media scandal. In the midst of Facebook’s own privacy outrage, their hand was forced and the news on messenger merging finally broke.

But what does this mean for digital marketing?

WhatsApp has over 500 million monthly users who send 500 million pictures and messages back and forth every single day – 150 million more than Facebook users. For example, a Facebook user or business could send a message to a WhatsApp-only user, something which is currently impossible.

Dark social media

Unlike the name suggests, there’s nothing demonic about this type of social sharing. As marketers, we must not underestimate its power.

Dark social is essentially word of mouth, links, pictures and opinions shared through private messaging apps. These referrals are unfortunately un-trackable, with your analytics software often listing them as direct traffic. The lack of traceability could mean optimisation of the wrong things and the black cloud covering the data is not particularly welcomed by us social media specialists.

With the merging of social media platforms, users will be able to send these kinds of messages across platforms, thus growing the power of dark social.

Emerging markets

By creating a central messaging hub, Facebook creates an opportunity for marketers to interact with their customer across a multitude of platforms. We’re predicting a rise in chatbots and the emergence of a new form of B2C communication, one that could rival the ubiquity of email marketing.

Reach your target

The merger also presents opportunity in the form of personalisation. Zuckerberg recently wrote that, “There’s no question that we collect some information for ads—but that information is generally important for security and operating our services as well”. With this in mind, it’s evident that the proposed central messaging service could unlock an even richer treasure trove of data for Facebook to mine. The digital marketing team at Sowdens are hoping for the creation of new ad formats to enable cross-platform advertising.

And of course, we come full circle and once again grapple with the problems of privacy scandals and the implications of targeted advertising. It will be interesting to see how users react to the new merger, will it turn people away, or will they become immune? We’d love to know what you think, tweet us @sowdens.

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