If you haven’t heard, Facebook recently confirmed that it’s working to integrate its three messaging platforms - Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp - in order to facilitate cross-platform communication for users.
This is a huge development - the new infrastructure would keep the three applications distinct, while simultaneously enabling users of each platform to chat with each other, regardless of which they're logged into.
The project is under development, and still has a way to go (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently noted that we won't see anything on this front till at least 2020). But even so, it's worth considering the opportunities it could bring.
In this post, we'll look at eight things you should know about the planned Facebook messaging merger, and what it means for regular users, marketers and businesses.
1. Users gain a windfall of convenience through the integration
When looking at all of the people who use these apps, Facebook realized that the process could be streamlined, making life more user-friendly.
After announcing the new messenger concept, the company told The New York Times that its striving to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.”
“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks,” said Facebook.
2. The integration’s a massive opportunity for businesses to reach a bigger and more diverse audience
Along with the three chat applications’ collective 2.6 billion users, there's another group that will also reap the benefits from this app integration - businesses.
Think of how much more effective it will be for businesses to reach out to customers on three diverse chat applications, from one chat marketing platform.
With this new update, you'll be able to reach a larger, worldwide audience, and spend more time connecting with both new and returning customers.
Soon, not only will you connect with the 16-24 year old demographic that dominate both Instagram and WhatsApp, but you’ll be able to reach the increasing number of 25 and older users that thrive on Facebook as well.
And there's no more need to worry about how to connect global markets, with WhatsApp’s largest user bases falling in Asia, South America and Europe.
3. Facebook expects major revenue from the integration
The integration will also open up substantially more revenue opportunities for Facebook, with additional space for advertising inventory.
This is something the company needs, as they’ve voiced concern over saturated ad space in recent years - let’s not forget that ad revenue is critical to the company’s survival as well.
Sources have also hinted at the possibility of exclusive ad features which users would be able to pay for.
By creating more space for innovation, Facebook can bring in bigger profits, and more business.
4. Chatbots are about to explode in marketing
Chat marketing looks set to become one of the biggest opportunities for marketers over the next few years.
Chat marketing automation checks off a number of the most user-centric, growth-critical trends in digital marketing, namely artificial intelligence, automation, personalization and interactivity.
A conversational interface, coupled with artificial intelligence, can help overcome a business’s conversion obstacles and enable more responsive customer service.
Already love using chatbots to reach your customers on Facebook Messenger? Get ready to turn on those same chatbot marketing funnels through WhatsApp and Instagram with little additional effort.
With this integration, businesses will be able to easily connect with customers around the world, across diverse populations, using a single chatbot building platform.
5. Businesses gain an effective alternative to email marketing’s declining engagement
The integration will also give businesses a global channel for direct communication that’s more engaging and user-friendly than email marketing.
Benchmark reports show the average open rate of marketing emails is 20%, while the average click-through rate of those emails is a 2.43%.
Instead, businesses can enjoy 60% to 80% open rates, and click rates between 4x to 10x greater than in email.
This new integration will give businesses a single platform for reaching customers more effectively than email marketing campaigns.
6. Facebook stands to rival WeChat through the integration
When looking at Facebook’s messaging app competition, there's one application that stands above the rest: WeChat.
WeChat is used across China as a multipurpose platform, something that hasn’t been seen elsewhere due to user fragmentation.
By integrating all three messaging apps though, Facebook could encroach on WeChat’s ubiquity in China and its 1.08 billion monthly active users.
7. Internal restructuring at Facebook is underway
It’s no secret that big changes lead to internal restructuring -the founders of WhatsApp and Instagram left after Facebook began taking more control over what was previously their own business.
The New York Times also reported staff members citing this new project as a key reason for their departure from the company.
8. Marketers who act fast with chat marketing will gain the most
It's not often in the tech world that huge changes like this come along.
If you’re building a business, and developing your online strategy, you may be able to get ahead of the curve by getting into messaging now - by incorporating messaging into your approach, you'll be well-prepared for the next stage, helping you expand your opportunities faster.
And odds are you’ll be the first in your market to take advantage - worth considering in your process.
A version of this post was first published on Inc.com.