In a Newsroom article and press event yesterday, Facebook announced a new update to their standalone messaging app, Messenger, that aims to get back to basics with a strong focus on user experience.
Messenger, which has over 1.3 billion users, has become a popular app that allows people to do multiple actions, from messaging to even sending money.
Before the redesign’s release, Facebook conducted 2 studies among 11k people in Australia, USA, UK, Canada and France. The studies stated that 7 out 10 people said that they were looking for simplicity as a top priority in their messaging apps.
“Among people surveyed who are messaging more frequently, 62% say messaging makes them feel closer to their friends. We believe Messenger 4 [the new update] 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.” Writes Stan Chudnovsky, VP of Messenger, on the article.
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“Messenger is really powerful,” says David Breger, a product manager on the app. “But if you look at something like this, I don’t know if the first word you would use is ‘simple.’”
Facebook launched the new update yesterday, alongside this promo.
New features coming out so far include customizable gradients for messages, a smaller number of tabs (going from 9 to 3), a swipe to right to call option and a new “dark mode.”
The new tabs are Chats, People, and Discover. Chats will contain conversations and stories, People will show off stories (again) and display online friends while Discover will be home to interactions with businesses and games on the app.
Some of the changes, like Dark Mode, were announced earlier this year at the F8 conference.
Is it really a redesign?
The new update features mostly cosmetic changes, “prettying” the standalone app. During the press event detailing the update, reporters asked Chudnovsky as well.
Chudnovsky called the changes a “new foundational element,” but also stated Messenger had to play it safe. Messenger’s users aren’t big fans of changes, while some are still spiteful of the fact that Facebook forced the app on them in the first place.
“Changing the UI of something that 1.3 billion people use, that’s really hard to do without making a lot of people who are using your app really upset,” he said. “That’s why big redesigns generally don’t happen, or when they do, they don’t go well.”
Because of this, the new update is not coming out in full swing. Users should expect to see multiple updates in the upcoming weeks or months as the new features will not launch together.
Will it still be monetized?
Messenger is one of Facebook’s monetized platforms; marketers are able to use it through ads in messages, in-between stories, and click-to-message ads that are shown on Facebook’s main app timeline.
Should marketers worry about the new update?
According to Business Insider, Chudnovsky said “Messenger ‘[doesn’t] expect any changes to monetization right away,’ and predicted that having a standalone Discover tab could help make it ‘more and more obvious to people that this is a place they can talk not only to people but businesses as well.’”
He also stated that the new redesign is meant to integrate all of these features in a more simplistic way; this comes back to the main focus of the redesign to provide a better user experience.
For a while now, Facebook has positioned the app as a place for businesses to handle customer support issues as well.
Currently, the update was only available on Apple’s App Store for Egyptian users, but if you see it on Android Play store, let us know!