Why Opting In And Out Of Updates On Messenger Is A Big Deal

by • November 4, 2015 • FacebookComments Off on Why Opting In And Out Of Updates On Messenger Is A Big Deal3639

Only last week Facebook introduced a new way to get updates around major sports (and other) events, through its Messenger platform. For those that haven’t caught up with the news yet, Facebook is also silently rolling out a new way to opt in and opt out of updates, again directly from Messenger.

Also Read: Facebook Wants To Be The Leading Second-Screen App

We all know that Facebook has big plans for Messenger. We have been told that it’s the perfect medium for businesses and developers, and that the vision is to make it an integrated communications platform, that will bridge friends, brands and content.

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From this point of view, the latest a move – albeit a small one – makes total sense. However, I do have a feeling that there’s a lot of unrealised potential here. So, why is opting in or out of updates on Facebook Messenger big news?

Breaking News

Twitter is the indisputable winner in this category – for now. However, Facebook has been taking calculated steps towards thwarting Twitter’s dominance. Trending topics were a good start. Just a while ago, Facebook updated its search algorithm in order to show news sources and helped publishers rank better first. Now, with opting in for updates on live events, Facebook aims to spread breaking news like wildfire.

If you like our stories, there is an easy way to stay updated:

Easy Opt In & Easier Opting Out

The process of singing up for updates is easy. So far, Facebook shows a minimal pop up, prompting users to subscribe to specific event updates. Upon opting-in, users get details on how to opt out from this “micro-feed”. Just by typing “@event_name unsubcribe”, anyone can quit from getting the updates. No frills, no fuss. Simple.

Emerging Markets

Emerging markets have limited connectivity and bandwidth and most users operate on feature phones rather than smartphones. It’s also common for users in these markets to be mainly using GSM features – SMS for example. Sweepstakes, contests, promotions, and everything else is powered through traditional short messages. Users opt in and opt out of such activities, simply by typing simple texts, such as START and STOP and by hitting the send button.

It’s no secret that Facebook has its eyes firmly set on emerging markets. Either with its Internet.org initiative or by tweaking its newsfeed to accommodate slow connections, the social network is doing its best to establish a foothold in those markets and improving users’ UX. By replicating those simple steps (opting in and out, using specific texts), Facebook caters for the transition from GSM infrastructure to fast data networks.


Promoted Trending Topics, anyone? As soon as I saw this update, one thing crossed my mind; promoted trending topics from brands. But how is this relevant? Well, brands could pay to have a major event trending, while cross-promoting update opt-ins through Messenger. With Facebook being the largest data pool ever, brands have a variety of valuable stats and behaviours that will help them tailor messages and retrieve important figures regarding the performance of their campaigns.

The Challenge

Spam. With users becoming more technologically savvy, they become more wary of the services they use, and the info they share. It will be challenging for brands to tame Messenger, without becoming too obtrusive though. However, this is another discussion that I will analyse in a different article.

If you like our stories, there is an easy way to stay updated:

Image courtesy of AdWeek.

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