Messenger is rolling out some new features for the holidays, including influencer-inspired group AR effects, fresh Soundmoji options, featuring Taylor Swift, and a new test of bill-splitting within group chat threads.
First off, on the new group effects for video calls, which are interactive AR features that can be applied to multiple people in a video chat.
As you can see here, the new features include a royal crown, a retro recording display, and more.
But it’s not the features themselves that are the key note of interest here, it’s who Messenger has partnered with in their creation. The platform has teamed up with various high profile influencers from other apps for the initiative, including, King Bach, TikTok star Bella Poarch and Zack King.
In this sense, it seems like this could be another step in Facebook’s broader push to win back younger users, by teaming with popular creators that they know in order to maximize awareness of its new group AR features.
I mean, the effects themselves don’t seem overly engaging, but maybe, by tapping into these popular influencers, that could be a way to boost awareness, especially among their primarily younger fan bases.
In addition to this, Messenger has also added a new Taylor Swift Soundmoji set, in honor of Swift’s new album ‘Red’. Soundmojis, which Messenger launched back in July, display an emoji character which also plays an audio snippet, which the recipient can hear when they get the message.
And finally, Messenger is also launching a new test of Split Payments, which will enable users to more easily share the cost of bills and expenses.
As you can see in this example, with the new split payments option, Messenger will automatically divide the full cost among recipients, in which you can either include or exclude yourself from the equation. The payments can then be facilitated directly in the app, via Facebook Pay, making it easier to manage bill-splitting arrangements in an automated and transparent way.
Overall, the additions are fairly minor, though bill splitting could be handy, and could prompt more usage of Meta’s tools for payments, furthering its eCommerce push, while partnering with popular influencers will also no doubt have some effect in raising awareness of these new features.
The new AR effects and Soundmojis are available to all users, while bill-splitting is being tested in the US from next week.