In the last 10 years, how far has Facebook come? And how different is it now to how it was in the beginning? Facebook went from nothing to being THE social network pretty fast, exclusively in the realm of university students originally, it went on to define a new kind of personal communication, used today by 1.59 BILLION people globally. Facebook now owns WhatsApp (1 billion users) and Instagram (400 million users) as well as the virtual reality brand Oculus Rift, and that's just for starters.
Facebook Messenger is the world's second biggest messaging app, with 600m active users, behind only WhatsApp with its 700m. Messaging is the place to be right now in social media and brand communications, as this new chart published in The Economist shows so clearly. 3bn people use the top 10 messaging apps collectively, The Economist says. One thing the number two app, Messenger, has over WhatsApp however is that as a brand communications and customer care channel, it is far better established.
With 1.39bn users and counting, Facebook as a social network is double the size of WhatsApp, and is still the de facto place for people to follow brands on the social web. This is why Facebook's announcements last night are so interesting.
Facebook has announced that it is introducing Messenger for businesses, and is turning Messenger into an open platform for companies and developers to make new things out of its system. So now is the time to start experimenting. Already just in the last week, Facebook launched payments over Messenger. I think this is going to be a really interesting space.
Will WhatsApp's simplicity trump Facebook's new Messenger platform? As the saying goes, do one thing well, right? Still, there's plenty of fun that can be had with Messenger now, so watch out for brand innovations and new developments in this space.