With the popularity of group video chats on the rise, Facebook’s adding a new way to facilitate group video conversations on Messenger, with a simplified option to add more users to a group video conversation as it’s in progress.
As explained by Facebook:
“Currently, to turn a one-on-one video or audio chat into a group chat, you have to hang up, start a new conversation from your inbox – either by creating an entirely new message or by searching for an old one – and then turn that conversation into a call. But with this new feature, you can simply turn a one-on-one video chat or voice call into a group call – without having to interrupt the conversation.”
The process for adding people to a group video chat is fairly simple – as shown in the above video, when you’re in a video chat or voice call, tap the screen and select the “Add person” icon, and then choose who you want to join.
“And of course, all your favorite filters and effects are still available, too. Plus, after the chat ends, keep the conversation going in the automatically created group chat in your inbox.”
Those face filters and visual effects are important – as social media options have evolved, group video chats have emerged as one of the more popular means of connection, particularly among younger audiences, with tools like Houseparty quickly gaining traction.
Facebook made note of this trend when they launched Instagram live-streaming in late 2016, with Instagram Live product manager Shilp Sarkar saying:
"The use case that caught our attention was people just hanging out on live, particularly young people. After school, they jump on a livestream and hang out. That use of live [video] is particularly interesting to us."
Sensing a potential competitor for attention, Facebook quickly launched both Instagram Live and group video chats for Messenger around the same time, and video interaction within Messenger has proven to be popular. According to Facebook, video chats on Messenger doubled in 2017.
Given this, the addition of a simplified connection process makes sense. You can currently add up to six people to a Messenger group video chat, while up to 50 people can tune into the conversation (but won’t show up on screen).
In terms of marketing use-case, there is potential to utilize Messenger video chats as a means to host more intimate education sessions or conversations – though Facebook Live is more suited to this type of interaction. Messenger video chats do, however, provide potential in a customer support sense, and the ability to add others to a conversation could make it easier to put a face to your company, and add more personalization to your interactions.
For example, you could connect with a customer via video chat and provide a more visual, personal connection - and if the query required input from another department, you could add them to the call quickly, streamlining the process.
There are various options to consider on this front – though the focus is on personal interactions and pushing that core use case.
The ability to add more people to an in-progress video chat or voice call is available now in the latest version of Messenger on both Android and iOS.