Facebook has announced a new set of sponsored chat themes for Messenger, as well as a new quick reply bar for shared images, and QR and payment links which make it easier to request and send money within your message threads.
First off, on the new themes - as we reported yesterday, Facebook has added a new Messenger theme for the latest film in the 'Fast and Furious' franchise, which could point to coming sponsored theme opportunities within the app. Facebook has now added to this, with additional themes from Olivia Rodrigo, to celebrate the launch of her new album Sour, as well as a 'World Oceans Day' theme.
Facebook hasn't made this an official ad offering as yet, but the expansion of its custom themes, tied into film and music launches, could point to this becoming a new opportunity in future. It would likely be a more high-end brand promotion approach, but it could help to increase engagement around such releases, and build hype within the app.
To test out the new themes, choose a conversation, navigate to its settings, and click ‘Theme’.
In addition to this, Facebook has added a new Quick Reply option when viewing media in a message thread.
As you can see here, now, users will be able to add a response to a shared image by replying beneath the image itself when in view mode.
Previously, if a friend sent you a video and you clicked to watch it, the video would expand to your whole screen and you had to exit the media view to respond to it. The update will streamline that connection, which could help to facilitate more engagement.
And lastly, Facebook has also added new QR codes and payment links options in Messenger, to better enable funds transfers within the app.
The main addition here is that the process will enable users to send money to, or request money from, anyone in the app, even if you're not connected to them already.
As explained by Messenger:
“No need to download a separate payment app or add new contacts on the fly! To access your personal QR code and payment link, visit your Messenger settings and tap “Facebook Pay.” Simply share the payment link or allow your friends to scan your QR code to send or request money.”
The update eliminates the need for Messenger users to download or use any other apps to make payments, which could help to give Facebook a competitive edge in facilitating more transactions. Facebook is working to make Messenger a more useful application, in more ways, and with the capacity to make payments in-stream, that could help the company add in more business transaction tools and other processes to improve its utility.
These are some interesting updates, and while the chat themes have been around for a while now, and streamlined replies for images are not revolutionary, as such, they all add to the broader picture in the app, and build on its capacity, particularly for promotions and transactions.
You can read more about the latest Messenger updates here.