After expanding the availability of their scaled-down version of Messenger, Messenger Lite, last October, Facebook's now adding video calls to the app, which will enable users on older Android devices and/or slower Internet connections to also participate in the rising video shift.
As you can see from the video, starting a video call in Messenger Lite is easy:
- Open an existing conversation, or find the person you’d like to chat with in your contacts list
- Tap the video camera icon on the upper right corner of the screen to begin a video call
- Additionally, you can also switch to an audio call to a video chat while in a call by tapping the video icon in the bottom right corner of the screen
As noted, the addition will enable more users around the world to participate in video calling, which has seen a significant rise in usage of late.
As reported in their 2017 usage stats, the amount of video calls conducted on Messenger doubled over the last year, with more than 17 billion video chats conducted through the app.
That growth has reportedly also lead to Facebook considering video calls for Instagram - last week, TechCrunch reported that files in Instagram’s code suggest that the Facebook-owned app is planning to launch audio and video calling options, though it remains unconfirmed as yet.
Part of the appeal of Messenger video – other than being available within the app that 1.3 billion people are already using every month – is that you can also use Facebook’s Snapchat-esque video masks within the chat. Those tools will not, at this stage, be available within Messenger Lite, but having the capacity to take part in video conversations will no doubt appeal to users, and provide another way to connect in a more immediate and engaging way.
In a brand context, enabling wider use of video can only be beneficial, as it provides new connection opportunities which can further enhance customer connection. Of course, not every business wants to be linking up via video, but having it as an option is always helpful, and having it readily accessible in a Messenger interaction can allow for walk-throughs and similar visual processes for greater interaction.
This is particularly relevant in developing nations. While the main Messenger app is still the most popular messaging tool in most western countries, Messenger Lite is regularly in the top 10 app rankings of dozens of smaller countries, where Facebook has seen its most significant growth of late.
It may seem like a smaller addition in the scheme of things, but it opens up new connection capacity to a broad range of consumers, which will not only provide immediate considerations, but may also raise the bar of expectation for brand communications moving forward.