For years, I’ve maintained that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Inc., has had his eye on a singular goal: becoming the global version of China’s WeChat. WeChat is China’s most popular messaging app, with 1 billion monthly users. China’s population is 1.4 billion people, which means approximately two in three Chinese are on WeChat. But WeChat is so much more than a messaging app: In addition to messaging and photo sharing, users can schedule appointments, manage finances, pay friends and businesses, order car services, book flights, and shop — just to name a few capabilities.
Zuckerberg wants to keep users inside the Facebook, Inc. walls (inclusive of its apps, services, and hardware) for as long as possible. In Zuckerberg’s company manifesto posted recently, he adds to a list of moves attempting to inch Facebook, Inc. toward WeChat’s super-app status:
But there’s a key difference between Facebook, Inc. and WeChat: government oversight. Facebook, Inc.’s “privacy-focused vision” comes with a backdrop of looming privacy regulation and antitrust complaints from Europe and the US.
WeChat operates in a Communist and intrusive government that allows monopolies. Zuckerberg can’t have his cake and eat it, too: He is trying to strike an impossible balance between growing users and time spent in-app to fuel more advertising dollars while also trying to build a singular “privacy-first experience” to appease privacy regulators, all under a cloud of potential anticompetition breakups that could reduce the company’s services.
For marketers, don’t panic just yet. In the short term, your ad targeting won’t be impacted, but you may find it more challenging to engage with customers on Facebook, Inc.’s messaging apps. In the long term, marketers have to track two things:
Jessica Liu, senior analyst, Forrester, authored this article, which can also be found here.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.