Facebook Is Testing Separate Inboxes
Over the years, Facebook has become well known for its many changes. From the very first launch of what has become our standard News Feed in September of 2006, to the birth of the ‘Like’ in February 2009, our much-loved social media platform has paved its way as a leading force in the industry. Almost every day, Facebook are running tests behind the scenes, introducing new features and bug fixes to the platform to create a much more valuable and seamless experience for every user. Their latest test has come in the form of an inbox update for chats with businesses – here’s what we know.
What We Know So Far
According to MobileMonkey, Facebook have recently been testing a new feature that has seen a number of Facebook Messenger users finding their messages from businesses in a separate folder. This feature essentially groups together any messages you get from businesses, setting them aside in their own part of the app to allow users to access their messages from their family and friends first.
However, despite this feature being tested, the official Facebook Messenger page has stated that this is simply a test and that it hasn’t been planned for general release.
Facebook’s Ongoing Changes For Businesses
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Facebook make changes for businesses on their platform. In fact, in August just last year, the social media giant introduced a major algorithm change for how the News Feed sorts and displays various posts.
With this change, Facebook intended to return the platform to its former glory and meaning, providing each and every user with a more valuable social experience. While Facebook Messenger may be set to be the next big social media trend for businesses, the platform’s new focus on providing a more social experience has ensured that our feeds are full of posts by friends and family. This means that any posts from brands, businesses or other related pages will be listed after standard social posts, or at least less often than status updates.
While it was rumoured that Facebook might push this further towards an ‘explore’ tab – not too dissimilar to Instagram and Snapchat – this hasn’t come to fruition just yet, but with this new Messenger test, it could be a matter of time.
Are We Likely To See This Become A Permanent Feature?
Facebook has tried and failed with many of its projects over the years. From their very first app to their photo-sharing app ‘poke’, projects have been plentiful, but few have made it to fruition. Some of its failed projects include:
The First App
Facebook’s first ever app was, for lack of a better term, a flop. Designed simply to create a mobile version of the site, it was slow and full of errors and bugs, which often caused it to crash more often than it was actually useable. For this reason, the app was shut down, and it wasn’t until 2012 that it finally released the app more like the one we see today. It was faster and after splitting Messenger into its own app in 2014, it became the powerhouse we know it as today.
Poke was a Facebook-designed app that saw users sending photos to one another that would disappear within a few seconds – sound familiar? In fact, it was this familiarity in light of Snapchat’s already substantial success that caused the app to flop. It barely got the recognition Zuckerberg expected, though he did later claim that it was ‘more of a joke’ than a genuine product release
The News Feed ‘Ticker’
Seasoned Facebook users may remember an attempt at a live, second-by-second news feed that sat alongside the standard one. This news feed updated with every fresh post, new friend that your friends made, check-ins, comments and likes. All of this would appear as and when it happened, but unfortunately, this aptly nicknamed ‘creeper feed’ never quite caught on. It was in December 2017 that the feature was removed.
Facebook Gifts was a new way for users to shop online and send presents to their friends. It acted in a similar way to today’s Moon Pig and Funky Pigeon, in that you could make the purchase of sweets, cookies or soft toys and have them shipped to your friends and family without having to click away from Facebook’s platform. Despite being quite a nice idea in theory, it never took off and was closed before it ever really began back in August 2013.
Facebook’s history of failure with new features might be vast, but we have to remember that they’ve had some significant successes. From the Messenger app and personal ‘walls’ to the like button and the ability to update our relationship status, there has been plenty of notable features that have become a staple of the Facebook experience.
Whether a separate business inbox will work in favour of users is unclear, but for the businesses utilising chat as a way to stay in touch with their consumers, the results could go one way or the other. On the one hand, keeping the chat separate from personal ones may make them easier to access but on the other, this could mean they go unread.
While this may be a concern for business, it’s difficult to predict what may happen if this test becomes a reality. For this reason, the best course of action for businesses is to keep an eye on Facebook and it’s potential new features.
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