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POV: Facebook Integrates Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger Infrastructure

Background:

Facebook has announced plans to integrate the messaging infrastructure of its hugely popular services WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger into a singular product intended to deliver “the best messaging experiences.”

Details and Implications

The Facebook-owned apps (used by 2bn + people on a monthly basis) will continue to remain distinct App brands from each other, but the move will seek to streamline and improve the consumer experience by allowing chats to cross between the products all within an end-to-end encrypted environment. The changes won’t be complete until the end of 2019 or 2020.

The move is the latest step taken by Facebook in its integration of WhatsApp into its ecosystem. In 2016 this stance shifted so that WhatsApp shared some user data with Facebook. The latest change will allow Facebook to advance its own growth plans and at the same time increase user adoption and daily usage.

Facebook has recently come under pressure to provide assurances about data, including its security, and this move allows it to adopt WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption technique across the unified messaging app, delivering a messaging platform that’s both reliable and private.

As well as improving user experience and data protection, the change could also allow Facebook to look at how it can leverage the data from the combined back end into new advertising offerings.

No details about the possible ad products that could be created using this data have been revealed by the company, but the market perception is that it will result in Facebook collecting a higher volume of accurate user data that it can leverage into advertising products.

For example, better visibility on data from the platform could enhance Facebook’s widely used ‘Interest’ targeting and as the data will come from one platform the user consent should be easier to track.

Summary:

We expect this move to unify the WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger technical back-end will further strengthen Facebook’s data and in turn expand the depth of available data for paid social targeting. The integration will take time (possibly until 2020) so we will have to wait to see if it results in the availability of a wider target criteria or other ad products but if it does we would expect those to be available across both brand and direct response campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Further Reading:
Business Insider | CNBC | The Verge | Financial Times | New York Times