David Marcus, head of Facebook Messenger (pictured), expects visual messaging to “fully explode” in 2018, as he highlighted changes which will be coming to the app in the course of the year.
“Though visual messaging has been around for a while, it really started to reach ubiquity in 2017. I predict visual messaging will fully explode in 2018: people will expect a super-fast and intuitive camera, video, images, GIFs and stickers with almost every conversation,” he wrote in a blog post.
He added 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs have already been sent on the app: “Not only will you see more from Messenger in visual messaging this year, but this is where the industry is heading, and we won’t be looking back.”
Facebook will continue to invest in real time communications including improving its group chat feature. Marcus said the company will also invest in “massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year” after the app became “too cluttered” with a host of new features, not all of which were successful (such as virtual assistant M).
For businesses, Marcus said Messenger will gain creative ways to become a true customer care channel. There are already 200,000 bots on the app, many of which are used by consumers to talk to businesses.
Marcus also pointed out some milestones for the app: 1.3 billion people actively use the app every month and 17 billion video chats took place in 2017, twice as many as in 2016.