Facebook's David Marcus Knows Why People Prefer the Messenger App

November 17, 2017

The way companies communicate with their customers is changing drastically, and Facebook’s head of Messenger says his company’s app creates a space for them to have a better dialogue.

David Marcus joined Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg from the WPP Stream conference in Ojai, California Friday. He points out that no one ever seems to call companies anymore. Not only is the process tedious, he says, but it’s not the way clients prefer to communicate. Marcus thinks Messenger is a more viable and effective option than even traditional texting.

This push for consumers and companies to communicate via Messenger, which was created in 2011, comes at a time where communication apps are on the rise. Data research firm Statista projects that by 2019 2.19 billion people will be using mobile phone messaging.

Marcus said in September that Facebook Messenger had 1.3 billion active users every month. The company’s other product, WhatsApp, has over 1 billion daily users on the platform. According to Statista, WhatsApp is the most popular option worldwide, and Messenger ranks #3.

Marcus argued that the number of people choosing to communicate via Messenger continues to increase. “As a result [the app] becomes a great platform for businesses as well,” he said.

He points to a survey Facebook conducted found that over 64 percent of people across demographics would prefer to communicate with a brand via a platform like Messenger. But there is a generational difference. A study by Goldman Sachs found that 34 percent of millennials like a brand more when it uses social media, but that number drops to 16 percent in individuals over 36.

Facebook has sought to monetize Messenger through advertising.

“We have ‘Click to Messenger’ ads … you can buy ads that direct people to opening more conversations with your brands inside of Messenger.”

Integrating a system where brands and consumers can increase communication is reminiscent of Facebook’s active advertisement strategy. The tech behemoth one of the two dominant players in the advertising industry -- the other being Google. It rules display advertising with a projected market share of 39 percent this year and revenues at $16.33 billion, according to eMarketer.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Male_1: Is the thing with messaging, that text is more efficient or is it AI? What w- I mean, you know, the the trivial explanation is always, young people don't like to talk on the phone, right? That always struck me as a silly explanation, why, why is this a thing?

David Marcus: Well, I mean, it's a thing, because people across all demographics by the way, not only young people, now prefer to use messaging um versus talking or making a phone call or sending an e-mail. Um and even when we ask people, if they would like to interact with companies on a platform like Messenger, over 64 percent of them across demographics and countries say that they'd rather message a company then um connect with them. And 67 percent of them say that they prefer talking to people on um messaging platform rather than calling them or emailing them. Um and so, it became the platform of choice for communications between people in groups. Um, the capabilities um, of a platform like Messenger as compared with texting, traditional texting, is like, you know, so much different because you can do so, so many more things.

Male_1: Yes.

David Marcus: They're richer way and it's more expressive and you can do, you can upgrade to live video at any given point in time. Um, so people choose more and more to communicate on Messenger and as a results, um it becomes a great platform for businesses as well because businesses need to go where people are.

Male_1: What if [NOISE]