As scooped by TechCrunch (and reported here) last week, Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at F8 to confirm the rumored launch of the Facebook Messenger Platform. The new Facebook Messenger will give the service’s 600 million+ users the ability to create & share content with third-party tools directly in the app itself.
Content-generation apps such as Bitmoji and Giphy, and a sports app from ESPN, are among the more than 40 developers with Messenger Platform applications ready to go as of today. Users will be able to download the third-party apps via deeplinks provided in Messenger to their OS’ app store.
Developers looking to integrate their own app into the Messenger Platform can download the new SDK now.
Businesses will also soon have the option of allowing customers to contact them directly through Messenger. Facebook is currently working with retailers zulily and Everlane to beta-test providing customers with order and shipping details, along with a method for contacting customer service, all within the Messenger Platform. The company announced plans to partner with ZenDesk as well; businesses looking to get in on early testing can apply here.
This business integration could be a first move in turning Facebook Messenger into an eCommerce platform — in addition to communications & content — as I speculated in last week’s post highlighting F8 2015. With Messenger already beginning to allow users to send payments to each other, the inclusion of a business-focused area in Messenger could be the next big step towards getting Facebook into eCommerce (which would be welcomed by digital marketers, as it would lessen the path to conversion for DR-focused campaigns).
Facebook’s ability to not only recognize the power of audience segmentation within their own properties (including the flagship, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp) — but properly nurture & develop those experiences — only serves to strengthen the company’s foundation (think: more baskets, one egg in each). The expansion of Messenger into an app and business tool is, then, just one step in what I assume will be a long line of enhancements to the current Facebook product suite.