Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular apps for mobile devices. It often holds the top spot on the Google Play Store and ranks in among the top five on the iOS App Store. Though there seems to be little trouble in getting people to download Messenger, Facebook is hoping to get users to spend more time on the app by generating a better user experience, possibly generating more revenue for the company. Last week, Facebook announced the launch of its Messenger 4, the latest version of the Messenger app.

Many of the changes to Messenger can be summed up in the word streamlined. The latest update is designed to make the app easier to navigate and less complex for users. In the past, the way Messenger divided various features meant that some features were underutilized by people with the app.

As Facebook stated in a blog post announcing the app updates, "In a recent Messenger study, 7 out of 10 (71 percent) people told us simplicity is the top priority for them in a messaging app. Among people surveyed who are messaging more frequently, 62 percent say messaging makes them feel closer to their friends. We believe Messenger 4 delivers the closeness and authenticity that you've been asking for -- through simplicity of design and powerful features that put the focus back on messaging and connecting."

One of the major changes involves the number of divisions in the app, which have been cut by two-thirds. To make it easier to find and use the app's features, the new Messenger has three tabs instead of nine. All of the features Messenger users are used to seeing will now be placed in a Chats, People, or Discover tab.

All of a user's conversations, both personal and ones with groups, will be in the appropriately named Chats tab. This is also where users will find visual communication features, like the camera, at the top of the tab so users can more easily take photos and video to share in conversations.

Information about a user's friend list has been moved to a People tab. This is where users can find friends, catch up on people's Stories, and see everyone who is active right now.

Finally, there's a Discover tab, which is the most important one for marketers, since it will provide many opportunities for business owners to use the platform for marketing purposes. The Discover tab is where users can connect with businesses to get the latest deals, play Instant Games, book a vacation, follow the news, and more.

The Discover tab will create a lot of opportunities for Facebook to place relevant ads --  products ads, app install ads, and more--in front of its Messenger audience.  

To help users get accustomed to the changes, the updated features will be rolling out over several weeks. Besides the major updates to the Messenger app content layout, Facebook also announced several new features it's planning to introduce in the near future. An example is Dark Mode, a re-skinned interface that cuts down the glare from your phone. People could be more likely to use the app later at night if they don't have to worry about the effect of glare on going to sleep.

Since Facebook is planning more changes in the near future for Messenger, stay on the lookout for new ways business owners can use Facebook services to reach their target audiences.

In the meantime, read this article about Facebook's recent crackdown on low-quality content.

Published on: Oct 29, 2018
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