Count Facebook as another competitor looking to stem the flow of users — and, in turn, advertisers — flocking to Snapchat.
Facebook on Thursday revealed it’s taking its Messenger Day feature global for Android and iOS after testing it late last year. Around that same time, Facebook rolled out an improved, native camera built into Messenger.
Day, in its simplest form, lets users share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Users can let all of their followers see their Day photos and videos or it can be made available only to a select group. Stickers, frames and other effects — of which there are more than 5,000 — can be added to these photos and videos.
Facebook head of product for Facebook Messenger Stan Chudnovsky was in the Los Angeles area late last year for a press demo day to show off the native camera and Day feature.
“It’s way more visual. It’s way more expressive. It’s way more of a video-first type of experience,” Chudnovsky said in an interview at the time. “That will allow the whole internal conversation to switch from text-based, visual augmented [conversations] to visual, text augmented — which is where the whole world is going.”
Visuals as the main source of communication and the rise of the camera as perhaps a replacement or supplement to the pen, is a conversation being had across most social media platforms.
Snap Inc., which owns the Snapchat app and Spectacles camera-enabled sunglasses, fancies itself a camera company and has gained traction among users for the temporary snaps people can post of the sometimes seemingly mundane aspects of their lives. The lack of pressure to post something heavily edited has been enough to nab users and thus advertisers to the app, but the competition is catching on.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, launched a raft of products last year in hopes of solidifying its place in the market. Among the new features was Instagram Stories and ephemeral messaging in a bid to woo back customers who had become disenchanted with the influx of marketers and people posting only the highlights of their day — in the best possible filter, angle and lighting possible.
“If we stay the highlights product, we have just one type of shared experience and, actually, what we needed to do was open up Stories so that you could post all the other stuff you really want to share with those same people,” Instagram chief executive officer and founder Kevin Systrom said last weekend during Girlboss Media’s Girlboss Rally conference.
The new features, Systrom said, have helped balance the platform so that there’s a place — the regular Instagram feed — to post the highlights of a person’s day, while Instagram Stories is a place to catch perhaps the not-as-attractive glimpses into someone’s life.
“The second you define yourself as how you affect people, you realize you can start producing all these different products — whether it’s Live, Stories, direct ephemeral messaging or whatever else we’re going to launch in the future,” Systrom said. “It remains to be seen, but I think we have transitioned from just being a photography company.”