- Facebook is launching another new feature in its Messenger chat app with the inclusion of Instant Articles content, according to Marketing Land.
- The roll-out will begin with Android devices, with iOS support coming soon, according to a Facebook blog post.
- For Messenger users, shared Instant Articles content will be indicated by a lightning bolt in the top right corner.
Aiming to make its Messenger app central to everyday mobile communication, Facebook is making the most of Messenger's sizable share of the chat app market by adding new functionalities to the app. Adding Instant Articles to the app gives its publisher partners an entirely new platform where content can be shared, and provides marketers another venue to reach an engaged mobile audience.
eMarketer estimates that Messenger will reach 105.2 million active daily users in the U.S. this year. That figure represents 40% of mobile users, making Facebook Messenger the leading over-the-top mobile messaging app in the U.S.
Bringing Instant Articles to Messenger represents another threat to publishers' business models, reeling media companies' content into Facebook's walled garden. But publishers often struggle with the mobile user experience, something that Facebook wants to do right.
“Currently, links shared via Messenger load in a mobile browser, which can be a slow experience, especially in places where low connectivity is an issue," Facebook wrote in a post announcing the feature. "Now people can have the same fast, interactive experience reading Instant Articles in Messenger that they have in the Facebook app, and publishers can tell beautiful stories and reach their audiences through both Facebook and Messenger.”
Facebook has also been active in bringing marketing to the app through chatbots. Facebook recently announced 11,000 bots have launched on the app since the Messenger Platform was released only two-and-a-half months ago. The new chatbot feature reduces the need for brands to create their own individualized apps to connect with consumers, relying instead on branded chatbots within Facebook's app. Facebook is looking to seize on the growing trend of consumers only using a few of the many apps they have installed on their smartphones.