As part of its most recent earnings announcement, Meta pointed to future opportunities in business messaging, and connecting with consumers via message, as it looks to re-align its ad business with consumer shifts.
Meta has long noted that more sharing is now happening in DMs, as opposed to people posting to their social media feeds, and with that, Meta’s looking to provide more tools for Messenger and WhatsApp to help brands connect with consumers where they’re increasingly engaging.
In line with this, Meta has announced a new partnership with business advisory group Plug and Play on an accelerator program for businesses, which will include the establishment of a new innovation hub ‘to help businesses connect, transact and service their customer base through messaging’.
As per Meta:
“This work aims to create and implement solutions for more actionable and meaningful business practices by leveraging Plug and Play’s global corporate innovation platform.”
Plug and Play aims to connect businesses with solutions to their tech challenges, through an expanding network of innovation partners that it can assign to different projects.
Plug and Play is already working with over 50,000 startups, and 500 world-leading corporations, along with venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies, across a range of industries.
Within this, Plug and Play will now introduce Meta messaging training, which could be a big step in highlighting the opportunities of business messaging to more brands, and making it a more functional, valuable element of business process.
“Plug and Play will run its first three-month accelerator program through the end of 2022. Startups accepted into the accelerator will meet one-on-one with the corporate partners to analyze opportunities for pilot, new customers, and investments.”
It does seem like a key area of opportunity. Aside from the above-noted trends towards more sharing within messaging channels, Meta also says that it facilitates over a billion messages between people and business every week via its apps.
Meta has tried various ways to monetize messaging in the past, through the introduction of Messenger Bots, shops in messenger, even ads in-stream. None of those have worked, but messaging for business, and other varied purposes, is huge in some Asian markets, and if Meta can get it right, it could still become a much bigger consideration for more organizations around the world.
And it could also form a key part of Meta’s growth in India, which is now its biggest user market. WhatsApp is a key communications platform in India, so while messaging might not catch on in western markets, it could still be a big part of Meta’s future in some regions.
Though, of course, it would love to make it a more significant consideration in all areas, and this new push, as noted, will work to align with evolving usage habits to help Meta cash-in in new ways.
You can read more about the new Plug and Play accelerator program here.
Reddit Adds Images in Comments for Selected Communities
Reddit’s adding a new engagement option with images in comments now available within some 1,500 subreddits in the app.
Just as it sounds, some subreddits will now be able to switch on image posting within comment threads, providing another way for people to interact and share within these communities. Reddit also enabled GIFs in selected subreddits back in July.
As explained by Reddit:
“Ever wanted to share a candid cat pic in the latest r/cats thread? Perhaps, help out a fellow r/crochet hobbyist? Or maybe even fulfill a father’s dream of being hugged by sasquatch in r/photoshoprequest? If so, this feature is for you!”
Here’s how it looks in practice (on desktop):
As noted, it’s another way to facilitate interaction within Reddit’s highly active chat threads, which could help add context in various ways.
Though it won’t be available to all communities.
Reddit says that ‘not safe for work’ images are not allowed and will be automatically removed, with only selected, approved subreddits able to use the feature at this stage.
“In SFW subreddits that turn on the feature, you’ll notice an image icon at the bottom panel of the comment section. Tap the image icon (see video below) to pull up your camera roll or desktop files, make any edits you want (on mobile only), and upload.”
It’s a simple, and potentially engaging feature update, which could help Reddit drive more interaction.