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Facebook Tracker: Pay The Messenger?

Facebook Stock (FB) has held steady at values set in the first half of March. While the end of last month saw new heights above $140 as Facebook’s additional video strategies came to the forefront in investors’ minds, April has seen those gains tempered.

In the past month, FB has seen a 0.31 percent drop in value — though coming off record highs and still well up (some 21 percent) for the year to date. The second full week of trading in April closed with FB shares worth $139.39.

Pre-market trading on Monday (April 17) morning saw FB in the green 0.36 percent, pegging a rise in the works for the week to come. Soon after the bell on Monday morning, FB was up 0.78 percent from Friday’s close, hitting to $140.48 and trending upward.

Recently, the company made a play to up its P2P payments cred as other social media and messaging services break into the space.

While Facebook’s Messenger app has enabled peer-to-peer payment since 2015, the latest upgrade sees the company rolling out group payment options for Android mobile and desktop users. The new functionality allows users to pay either everyone in the chat group or individual members. No word yet on when Facebook will make group pay options available for iOS.

Group pay makes sense. It’s a social network, after all. And everyone’s doing it.

Snapchat and China’s WeChat have joined the social P2P space. Social messaging company Kik also recently announced its plans to enable in-app payments. The one thing Messenger certainly has over the competition is the largest existing user base. Currently, Facebook Messenger sees over 1 billion monthly users globally.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which sees comparable global user stats, looks to roll out P2P payment functionality in India within the next six months. Whatsapp will leverage government-backed cross-bank payment system Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to enable payments for its 200 million Indian users.

Facebook hasn’t seen significant revenue from payments. In Q4, payments brought in $180 million for the social media giant, down 12 percent over last year. As Facebook eyes ways to boost growth, enabling more ways to pay could certainly grow the use cases on Messenger and WhatsApp and could potentially work to augment daily user numbers for the standalone applications.

The group pay move in Messenger is another way to make the social network and its constituent apps the central hub of the internet. It’s not about growing payments as a revenue source for the company. (Been there, done that.)

As PYMNTS’ Karen Webster recently wrote, Facebook’s future isn’t in the payment space. It’s all about the ads.

Facebook is testing ads in Messenger. The more use cases, like P2P payments, the more reason for users to come back (in theory). The more frequent users, the more attractive the ad space becomes for marketers. About 50 percent of Facebook’s advertisers already create mobile-specific advertisements. Facebook reported in February that 90 percent of users access the site via mobile device and some 84 percent of the company’s ad revenue comes from mobile — about $7.25 billion in Q4 2016.

About 50 percent of Facebook’s advertisers already create mobile-specific advertisements. Facebook reported in February that 90 percent of users access the site via mobile device and some 84 percent of the company’s ad revenue comes from mobile — about $7.25 billion in Q4 2016.

Facebook recently updated its suite of advertising services in a bid to draw in more SMEs, adding audience targeting tools, a mobile design studio and online courses in 10 languages.

All of this bodes well for marketers once Messager ads go mainstream.

Today, some 5 million businesses advertise on Facebook each month, the company said, up from 3 million in March of last year. Combined, eMarketer projects that Facebook and Google will take in 46 percent of online ad spend in 2018.

There’s one realm, however, where Facebook has pledged to keep advertising out (at least for now) — the company’s new recommendation feature for its Messenger chatbot M.

Earlier this month, Facebook rolled out the ability for M to make recommendations to users in the U.S. during Messenger conversations. M detects language that might indicate the need for assistance or integrated services — calling an Uber, sharing location, starting a poll, sending reminders, etc.

“The system learns from the things you like to do and you don’t like to do,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s head of messaging products. “If you don’t use the things that are being suggested for a specific use case, gradually those things will go away.”

Facebook noted that messaging content will remain private and not be used for targeted advertisement.

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Latest Insights:

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. The September 2019 Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker, serves as a monthly framework for the space. It provides coverage of the most recent news and trends as well as a provider directory that highlights key players across the mobile order-ahead ecosystem.

 

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