What Facebook Messenger Gets Wrong That WeChat Gets Right


Pardon the paywalled content (though you should subscribe), but here's Ben Thompson on why monetizing WeChat has worked while Messenger hasn't:

Remember, while Facebook has taken the strategy of releasing multiple apps under the overall Facebook umbrella, including brute forcing Messenger into its billion person user base, WeChat keeps all of its functionality inside one app, and that includes Facebook-style social broadcasting. Said broadcasting is displayed in a feed interface that is browsed during down time, making it far more suitable to advertising than the purposeful activity that entails interacting with a chat interface.

In other words, not only is WeChat’s advertising success not an indicator of Messenger’s potential monetization potential, it is arguably the opposite: Messenger may be trying to ape WeChat features, but Tencent has its eyes on Facebook proper and the News Feed cash printing machine (and the company has a lot of runway: fill rate is very low and the targeting technology is very immature, all sitting on top of the best data in the world).

This is a similar take (from the opposite angle) of my argument that "Messenger Day" -- the "Stories" clone within Facebook Messenger -- is being rejected because it's not what the product is really about. It's pretty clear why Facebook would like Messenger to operate this way -- because it will be much easier to monetize this way. As WeChat (and to a lesser extent, Snapchat and even Instagram) is proving. 

Next up: Messenger to try a more feed-like approach in a new bottom tab?


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