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Dissecting Facebook and Instagram’s messaging merge

Have you noticed your Facebook messenger logo change recently? Just a few weeks after the announcement that Facebook and Instagram’s messaging services are merging, Facebook also revealed a new look for their Facebook Messenger app including a new icon and colour, which is very similar to the colour and look of Instagram.

Facebook has also revealed some new customisable chat themes, such as ‘love’ and ‘tie-dye’, as well as some additional features on the way, including selfie stickers and vanish mode. See more here.

But what is Facebook’s aim with this merger? Facebook Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, recently announced his plans to re-engineer the foundations of three of the world’s most-used digital messaging services, all of which he owns: Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.

In short, if you are using Instagram and WhatsApp, but not Facebook or Facebook Messenger, you will soon be able to connect with someone on Facebook Messenger from Instagram or WhatsApp.

What will the impact be of this interconnectivity on social media advertising?

  • The ability to target and communicate across platforms: Currently, having to create content and ads for a growing array of ad formats and platforms is time-consuming. The ability to communicate and reach your target audience across multiple platforms ‘in one’ will save time, but could also improve efficiency, as the algorithm will learn from the different platforms and users in order to improve performance.
  • Target audience insights: Audience insights have yet to be confirmed in relation to this move, but this could be a huge opportunity in terms of refining campaigns and targeting, thereby improving overall performance. Facebook and Instagram currently require your name to login, whereas WhatsApp requires a phone number. If the merger requires a user to link this information, we would have a larger audience pool to target, along with the ability to expand lookalike audiences.
  • New advertising formats Facebook’s main aim with this merger is likely to increase ad revenue and it’s therefore probable that they will be releasing new ad formats to entice brands to utilise this merger. Nothing has been realised about this yet – but watch this space as it could be another element that improves performance.

Based on the above and what is likely to be released down the line, this merger will allow us to increase reach and improve performance. We will be able to target platforms and ad placements that are currently somewhat overlooked, due to low volume and/or engagement. Utilising this merger to its full capacity, there may also be cost benefits from Facebook, which will help performance-led brands.

As an agency, we encourage clients to run across all Facebook ad placements, to increase reach and decrease costs; based on Facebook best practice guidance and ARM learnings. As it stands, if you have a solid targeting strategy in place, the platform will show the right message to the right user at the right time. The merger will enhance this play across all the platforms, making it an exciting expansion with potential opportunities for advertisers across social media.

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