Facebook Messenger and the future of Companion Apps
If you’re in mobile, unless you’re hiding under a rock, you’re aware of Facebooks announcement at F8 over the last 2 days. During the multi-day conference the social media behemoth quietly announced “Messenger Platform”.
Messenger platform enables developers to easily build apps that integrate with Facebook Messenger. The idea is to open up the platform so that Messenger’s 600 million users can find new, fun ways to enhance their messaging experience. Sound familiar? The messenger platform launched with a handful of select partners who have already integrated their products directly into Messenger.
The announcement shows that it is clear Facebook is more interested in harnessing the power of 1,000s of developers versus keeping a walled off environment. If history tells us anything, it is: as Facebook goes, so do the others. Days after Facebook Messenger released in 2014, Facebook quickly released a companion app of their own; ‘stickered’. At Grin, we were acutely aware of Stickered when it launched, as the social media giants next moves would have serious implications for the validity of companion apps as a segment. Stickered, built by Facebook, allows users to overlay their photos with stickers. A simple, fun, companion to messenger – clearly they were laying the groundwork for their most recent announcement over the last 2 days.
Of course, this announcement brings a certain level of validation to the business model at Grin. We have been preaching companion apps as a viable, real segment within mobile apps, akin to social gaming years ago, for the last 9 months. It’s an early segment, yet to mature, with a long way to go – everyone, including us, is still finding their way – but it’s right where we’re focused. All of our apps, new & currently in development, are companion apps to social networks. Facebook opening up messenger in this way shows us, that at Grin, we’re on the right path and we’re early.
The question will slowly begin shifting from: are companion apps a valid segment? into who is positioned to emerge as the leader? A question, that we at Grin, are beyond excited to answer over the coming years.