Marking a major milestone for Facebook and its mobile messaging ambitions, Android users have now downloaded Messenger more than 1 billion times.
Davis Marcus, head of messaging products at Facebook, boasted in a post on Tuesday.
“Happy to make it to the very exclusive Android 1 billion+ downloads club."
The achievement is further validation for Facebook -- and its controversial decision to separate Messenger from its core Facebook app, last year."
Indeed exclusive, only Facebook and Google have birthed apps that have broken the Google PlayStore’s billion-download barrier. The club includes Gmail, YouTube, Google Search, and Maps, along with Facebook’s flagship app and its WhatsApp messaging service.
Several months after the move, CEO Mark Zuckerberg used a “town hall” meeting to address the diversification strategy.
“On mobile, each app can really focus on doing one thing well, we think, and the primary focus of the Facebook app, today, is News Feed.”
At the time, Zuckerberg admitted that requiring more than 1 billion users to install a separate messaging app was a “big ask.” He said.
"Even though it was a short-term painful thing to ask people to install [another app], we knew we could never deliver the [right] quality experience as just a tab in the main Facebook app."
Despite a healthy approval rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars by Google Play users, some people still resent Facebook’s decision to break off Messenger.
One user complained in the comments sections of Marks’ post.
“U [sic] have got one billion downloads because u [sic] didn't left [sic] any option for users other then [sic] downloading this app.”
Facebook clearly has big plans for Messenger. Earlier this year, it officially turned the service into a platform for developers to directly distribute their apps to users. Trying to upend customer relationship management, Facebook also recently announced plans to position Messenger at the center of business-to-consumer communication.
In addition to purchase confirmations, the Businesses on Messenger program are expected to facilitate direct conversations between businesses and consumers and provide a direct channel for various updates and notifications.
With the big Messenger changes, Facebook is following the lead of Line and other platforms, which have been redefining the definition of a messaging service. Some in the industry see Facebook’s focus on Messenger as a bit defensive.
“Messenger is Facebook’s answer to the growing concern of the younger generation abandoning Facebook, the social network, for messaging apps like Snapchat,” said Greg Ratner, director of technology at Deep Focus, recently told Social Media & Marketing Daily.
Defensive or not, Facebook has recently sought to bolster Messenger with a growing list of features. Just last week, it added a peer-to-peer -- or friend-to-friend -- money transfer service to Messenger.
COMMENTARY: At Facebook F8 held on March 25, 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced two major additions to Facebook Messenger: Messenger Platform and Businesses on Messenger.
Messenger Platform enables developers to easily build apps that integrate with Messenger; so that the more than 600 million people who use Messenger can find new, fun ways to express themselves with GIFs, photos, videos, audio clips and more. With Messenger Platform, an app's content can be shared through private and group messages to spark conversations that are creative and expressive, while providing developers with growth and reengagement opportunities.
Messenger Platform apps can display the option for a person to install the app from within Messenger, or to reply using content from the app. If the person receiving the message doesn't already have an app installed, they can tap Install to be taken directly to the app store to get started using the app. This means people can discover apps recommended by their friends, naturally through their conversations.
With Messenger Platform, developers may also see increased app engagement: If the person receiving the message already has the app installed, they'll be able to tap Reply on an image in a message. Then, instead of scrolling through pages of apps on their phone, they'll be taken directly to the app to reengage and respond with relevant content.
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Some Messenger integrations will also have the opportunity to be featured directly in Messenger via a new tab in Messenger conversations. The tab provides shortcuts to apps people have already installed, as well as new apps they might be interested in trying.
Businesses on Messenger
In addition to Messenger Platform, Facebook also announced and previewed the first steps they've taken to bring businesses on Messenger with the goal of enhancing how people and businesses communicate. Businesses on Messenger enables things like the following: during the checkout flow on a business's site, a person can choose to start a conversation with a business, receive updates from that business on things like order confirmations and shipping status updates, and ask the business free-form questions about the order, receiving quick responses.
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Facebook's initial partners are online retailers Everlane and zulily. Facebook is also working with Zendesk to support the live chat experience. To learn more, please visit messenger.com/business.
Courtesy of an article dated June 10, 2015 appearing in MediaPost Social Media Daily