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What will the merge of Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram mean for users and brands

There’s a 99% chance that the last message you sent before reading this article was on one of these platforms: Whatsapp, Facebook or Instagram.

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No, I’m not psychic. I just did the exact same thing before I started writing this article. Also, they are the three largest messaging platforms in the world, all owned by Facebook. This brings us to the subject of our article and the big announcement that Mark Zuckerberg made earlier this year: Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp will merge, most likely in 2020.

“The integration that we’re thinking about, we’re really early in thinking through this,” Zuckerberg said on the company’s Q4 earnings call. “There’s a lot more we need to figure out.”

Until that happens, I’m gonna add more context to the decision, explain the reasons behind it and what this merge means for both users and brands.  

Why is this happening?

It’s not like their gonna say it out loud, but it’s not that hard to guess. Facebook’s growth has slowed last year due to market saturation in developed countries. It is also noticeable how a large segment of Facebook’s audience migrates towards Instagram, a platform which is more intimate and less populated by ads. Facebook still wants its users number to grow and since it won’t be able to achieve this in an organic way, then it will by merging the three apps into an “everything” app or service.

A much easier communication across platforms

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Although these apps combined have 2.6 billion users, their popularity varies from country to country and is also influenced by personal preferences. For example, we might use Facebook Messenger to connect with both friends and colleagues from work, but we may tend to use Whatsapp or Instagram for more private conversations. Right now, you can’t reach a person unless you are on one of the platforms he or she uses. But that not might be the case starting next year.

Now, don’t panic, because the interface of the apps won’t change at all. You will still be able to use them just as you have until now. And looking on the bright side, it will ease the communication between people, allowing them to interact across platforms. That means you will be able to send a message from Instagram to someone using Whatsapp or from Whatsapp to Facebook without you having the app installed. Pretty cool, right?

But is our data safe?

This merger raises questions towards privacy. Because all the platforms require different types of information when creating an account and that might be an issue. Whatsapp needs your phone number and Facebook makes you reveal more of your personal data. And after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that emerged last year, no one wants their data to be used for the wrong purposes.

That’s why the real challenge Facebook faces is to provide the same end-to-end encryption that we find on Whatsapp but not on the other two platforms.In other words, the messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, status updates and calls are secured from falling into the wrong hands and stay only between the people having the conversation.

What would the merger mean to brands?

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Chatbots

In 2018 we have seen many organizations using chatbots. Smart technology ensures that a chatbot can do more and more and it will be better at recognizing the questions and intentions of the customer. It is expected that the adoption of chatbots will increase.

Therefore, the merge of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram could not have come at a better time. Now, the chatbots are available only on Facebook Messenger, but after the merge businesses will be able to work with them also on Instagram and WhatsApp, making it easier to reach their customers.

A unified inbox

Another way the merger will ease the way brands and their customers interact could be a unified Inbox. If a brand is present on more than one platform, it won’t matter where the questions will come from, whether is Instagram or Facebook or Whatsapp, because it will be able to respond to them quickly.

A great challenge

It’s gonna’ be a while until we will know for sure how the merger of the three apps will impact the way we interact with people around us, but that didn’t stop us from imagining a few changes that might occur. Other than that, it will also bring new opportunities to brands and challenges for digital marketers like myself.

So, if you want to stay on top of Social Media, I suggest you start planning ahead of this move. It might just be the edge that sets you apart from your competitors.
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  • Tags: facebook, instagram, mark zuckerberg, social media insight, social media merger, whatsapp
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