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Facebook’s Unification Between Messenger and Instagram Explained

People talking through Messenger
Everything you need to know about Facebook’s latest update unifying Messenger and Instagram.

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Messaging has come a long way since Facebook first introduced it to Instagram and Messenger. They’ve continually explored new ways to improve how people communicate online with over 100 billion messages sent on Facebook’s family of apps each day. Video calls, sending GIFS, and sharing stories are parts of daily communication in a digitally connected world. The role of messaging apps for staying in touch has become even more important since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 1.3 billion people use Messenger as a place to share content and stay in touch with friends. 75% of consumers also prefer to engage with brands using private messaging channels vs traditional channels. Yet, one out of three people find it difficult to remember where to find a certain conversation thread. 

Facebook has officially announced they will connect Messenger and Instagram to create one seamless messaging experience more than 18 months after Mark Zuckerberg’s initial announcement of a unified messaging infrastructure for Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The update will enhance Instagram’s original direct messaging service, Instagram Direct, by unifying it with Messenger

“We’re connecting the Messenger and Instagram experience to bring some of the best Messenger features to Instagram,” Facebook’s Adam Mosseri and Stan Chudnovsky, the heads of Instagram and Messenger respectively, said in a statement. “People on Instagram can decide whether to update immediately to this new experience.”

This is what to expect from the update, how it’s being perceived, and what it means for businesses.

What’s included in the new Facebook Messenger and Instagram messaging update

Messenger on Instagram will look and feel exactly how it does on Facebook. There will be all of the old familiar features. Replying to specific messages, forwarding messages, and chat themes. Messenger users will feel right at home.

New custom emoji reactions and message effects will help people put more emotion and creativity into their conversations. 10 million people already customize chat threads in Messenger everyday.

Facebook isn’t stopping there. They will be rolling out new features and ways to connect with family, friends, and brands. Here are some of the changes coming soon to the Messenger experience on Instagram:

  • Cross-app communication: Seamlessly stay in touch with friends and family across Instagram and Messenger through messaging and video calls.
  • Watch together: Watch videos, TV shows, movies, and more with others while on a video call.
  • Message controls: Filter who can and can’t message you.
  • Vanish mode: Choose between options where messages disappear after they’re seen or when you’ve closed the chat.
  • Animated message effects: Add flair and personality to messages with animated effects.

The update will also include new privacy and safety features. Users will be able to control whether message requests go to their Chats list, Message Requests folder, or received at all. Suspicious activity can be reported more easily. Other users can be blocked across all apps.

How people are receiving the new update to Instagram Messaging and Messenger

News of Facebook Messenger merging with Instagram has been picked up by TechCrunch, CNN, The Guardian, and dozens of major news publications. It’s one of the largest updates they’ve planned to release. Outlets that have covered the Facebook Messenger and Instagram update include:

TechCrunch: Messenger’s latest update brings new features, cross-app communication with Instagram

Mark Zuckerberg stated, “If we do this well, we can create platforms for private sharing that could be even more important to people than the platforms we’ve already built to help people share and connect more openly.”

Facebook said they will be first releasing the feature in a few countries around the world before expanding it globally. It’s the start of an easier way to stay in touch with friends and family across multiple apps. Here are key reasons why this update will be so impactful as the world continues to become more digitally connected.

  1. 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month. 
  2. 410 million users use video chat on Messenger monthly.
  3. 20 billion messages are sent between users and businesses on Messenger each month.
  4. There are 40 billion monthly active business on Messenger
  5. 17 billion photos are shared on Messenger each month.

Understanding the unified messaging infrastructure between Messenger and Instagram

Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s plans in 2019 to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger services using a unified messaging infrastructure.

The apps will remain standalone. But the underlying technical infrastructure will be unified. The three largest apps with 2.5 billion users combined will be able to communicate cross-platform for the first time. 

Facebook stated it wanted to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.” All of the apps will be reconfigured at their most basic levels to achieve this. This includes how the apps store messages, user data, and encrypt conversations. 

Unifying Messenger and Instagram is the beginning of redefining how billions of people use apps to connect with friends, family, and businesses. Internet users have an average of 8 social media accounts across different platforms and spend 2 hours and 29 minutes using social media each day.

This is a big step towards simplifying communication. Facebook announced that users will have more privacy settings and convenience as a result. An easier experience staying connected to their personal network at all times.

What the Messenger and Instagram update means for brands and businesses

The Messenger and Instagram update won’t only affect billions of people all around the world. It has the potential to greatly assist businesses. 

Emojis, gifs, and the new enhanced message effects will give brands more personality and flair when having conversations. There will be more touch points and opportunities for brands to drive sales. A brand may start a conversation on Facebook but guide users to conversion on Instagram.

Facebook has already combined Messenger and Instagram chats in a new app for small businesses called Facebook Business Suite. Brands can post directly to Facebook and Instagram at the same time and manage their cross-platform conversations from a single dashboard.

Enterprises will have to watch this space carefully to find out what exactly the impact will be on their messaging strategies.

The official Facebook For Business website states, “Currently, Business Suite includes tools like posting, messaging, insights and advertising capabilities, improving the experience of managing a business across our apps.”

69% of people in the United States use messaging apps to connect with their favorite brands. They feel more confident about a business when they can be messaged at any time. Cross-app messaging is one more tool to optimize customer acquisition, build meaningful connections on social media, and show customers you care.

Final thoughts on Cross-App Messaging Between Instagram and Messenger

Unifying Facebook Messenger and Instagram will be one of the largest updates the apps have experienced. It’s the beginning of unifying how billions of people communicate between social networks. The start of a more convenient, secure, and private way to keep in touch with friends, family, and brands.

The optional Instagram update will be rolled out in a few select countries before expanding globally. Instagram users are welcome to keep the original messaging system if they like.

Messenger on Instagram will have its original look and feel. Users can reply to specific messages, forward conversations, and customize chat themes. Cross-app video calls, advanced privacy settings, and other new features will be added.

Any major update to the most popular messaging apps in the world should demand the attention of marketers. It’s essential to watch how the space develops over the coming months to stay ahead of the competition.

Want to learn more about how having meaningful conversations with customers can drive revenue and improve marketing performance? Get in touch with one of Spectrm’s conversational marketing experts today.

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