Facebook has seen great adoption of their Snapchat Stories clones on both Instagram and WhatsApp, with each now being used by more than 250 million people every day. But their other Stories tools - in Facebook proper and Messenger - have been less successful.
Or at least, that's the perception - Facebook's released regular usage updates on both Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status, but not for Facebook Stories and Messenger Day, which fuels the assumption that they haven't been as popular. Combine that with anecdotal reports that no one's using Facebook Stories and it does seem like that option hasn't won people over. At least, not yet.
For Messenger Day specifically, Messenger chief David Marcus has said that early adoption has been good (it's now been available to all users for around five months), particularly amongst younger users - and definitely sharing more image-based content via Messenger is on the rise, which The Social Network sought to underline late last week with the release of new data on Messenger image usage as part of World Photo Day.
And their new AR features were specifically highlighted - first up Facebook's shared the most popular mask, effect and frame on Messenger:
Yes, that's right - 'Cat on Head' is the leading mask in Messenger - which is no doubt why Facebook highlighted it in their most recent Messenger promotion:
It feels a little absurd to be reporting on such features, as it did in Snap Inc.'s most recent earnings call when CEO Evan Spiegel lauded the performance of the 'Dancing Hotdog' (which he says is 'the world's first augmented reality superstar'). But this is the new social era - cats on heads, dancing food, vomiting rainbows, all of these can viably be included in market reports, and are relevant consumer trends to note.
Of course, these new effects are not only available in Messenger Day - it's possible that their most common usage is now within Messenger's video calling function, to which they added group video calls back in December, catering to rising usage trends. Facebook also hasn't released any specific figures on how much their masks are used, so it's hard to say how often, comparatively, the 'Cat on Head' filter is applied. But still, it underlines the broadening potential for Facebook's expanded visual tools, and which ones are resonating most amongst the user base.
Furthering that, Facebook's also reported that Brazilian users are sharing more photos via Messenger than those in other nations.
Which is interesting because WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform in Brazil, though the app has had various privacy challenges in the region. Maybe that's pushing more users to Messenger, or maybe Messenger's visual options are simply considered better amongst the user base. Either way, Facebook wins.
And one other data point - New Year's Eve was the most popular day for sending photos in Messenger.
Which is not a huge reveal, but interesting to note in regards to overall usage trends.
Facebook's working hard to expand the usage of Messenger in order to capitalize on the 1.2 billion people who now log onto the app every month. Last year, Facebook reported that there were more than 17 billion images being shared on Messenger per month, a figure that's no doubt risen since. And while their other initiatives like Messenger Bots have yet to take off in a significant way, any means through which they can expand the perception of what Messenger is can only help in boosting the possibilities of what it could be.
Make no mistake, Messenger will become a more important platform for business. It's worth keeping tabs on usage trends like these to help optimize your Messenger commerce strategy.