Photo Credit: google images
For years, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have largely been three separate social media platforms. Your activity on Instagram, for example, had absolutely no impact on the way that you used WhatsApp. Even what you did on Facebook was largely irrelevant to your WhatsApp experience. But a recent new move – enabling videos from Facebook and Instagram to play inside WhatsApp – is a sign of more integration to come between these platforms.
Possible use cases
The move by WhatsApp seems simple enough, but it could have far-reach implications. For one, users won’t have to leave WhatsApp in order to watch Facebook and Instagram videos. Imagine that you’re chatting with a buddy via WhatsApp about the game you went to last night. You’d be able to insert a video of yourself at the game directly into the chat, and your friend could watch a “picture-in-picture” of the video, while the two of you continue to chat.
The entire experience becomes entirely seamless – no more closing down an app, opening a new app, and then returning to the old app. You can do everything from inside WhatsApp. That’s especially important because the open rate on WhatsApp is 70 percent. So you now know that if you send along a Facebook or Instagram video to someone else via WhatsApp, there’s a nearly 70 percent probability that they will watch it.
Marketing and promotion
So just imagine how brands and small businesses might be able to use this feature. For example, it becomes much easier to send out any video assets originally developed for Facebook or Instagram to customers on WhatsApp. So if you have a promotional video originally created for Instagram, you could now send that to WhatsApp users, and they would be able to watch it immediately.
Using this logic, WhatsApp becomes much more of a distribution platform and not just a communication platform. Just as you cross-post videos (or links to videos) on other social media platforms, you’d be able to cross-post on WhatsApp. In much the same way, you can now post Instagram Stories to Facebook. And soon, you will be able to post Instagram Stories to WhatsApp.
Another use case involves customer service. It will now be much easier for two people to discuss a product, problem or issue within WhatsApp. Right in the middle of a chat, you could send over a video from Facebook or Instagram. And likewise – a customer service rep could send you a Facebook video, and you’d be able to “stay on the line.” The two of you could watch the video at the same time, and you could be walked through every step.
Facebook, WhatsApp and the elusive search for “synergies”
In the business world, of course, this is known as creating “synergies.” Since Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram, this makes sense, right? Just as large conglomerates that acquire other companies look for synergies to make the deal work for shareholders, Facebook is now hunting around for synergies with its various social platforms.
The big question, of course, is how users are going to react. Are they going to like the fact that the lines are blurring between WhatsApp and Facebook? At what point does WhatsApp simply become Facebook Messenger? From Facebook’s perspective, it makes sense to make all three platforms as interoperable as possible. From a user’s perspective, though, the case is not nearly as clear.