March 7, 2019Published by: Drew Benvie

The future of social is private – Facebook announces integration with messaging apps

Facebook announced overnight that it has grand plans for the future of social media across its three main brands: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. In a blog post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg making this announcement, there is a big push for a 'privacy-focused vision' for the future of social media.

Stories, private messages and groups are the growth areas in social media, he says. And so this is where Facebook will place its energy. Towards the end of his post, Zuckerberg states:

"If we do this well, we can create platforms for private sharing that could be even more important to people than the platforms we've already built to help people share and connect more openly."

Public social media has its place, Facebook hastens to add. You only need to look around the blogs, forums, on Twitter or YouTube to see that permanence has its place. But the trend towards privacy on social is a marked one.

The growth of private social - Battenhall's data

In November we published our own data on the growth of social media activity amongst the biggest brands online. In particular we surveyed the 100 top performing brands on Instagram, and the stand-out trend was the shift toward private social - exactly what Zuckerberg has pinpointed in his announcement overnight.

In our research, the amount of activity on Instagram Stories overtook the news feed in October 2018. In that month alone, we saw 10,079 Stories published, versus just 8,949 posts to the news feed.

What Facebook will be seeing is more marked data on all user activity, and our research suggests we will see a dramatic switch from the news feed being front and centre, which it has been since Instagram launched, over to Stories. And this is a trend others will no doubt follow.

What's next

This is really about two things. Facebook looking after its users' data over its private messaging services, which is a major focus in the public eye right now. And then separately more widely on social media, a drive towards privacy - namely groups, Stories and ephemeral content. Facebook hints at both new developments in its existing apps, and the potential for new social and messaging apps altogether, which I think there would be a great deal of appetite for. Whether this new space is built or bought will remain to be seen.

About Battenhall

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