The decision to make Facebook Messenger its own app may have been a good move for the company after all. Thousands of people have since downloaded it, and it has even overtaken the use of its standalone main app. However, it was not without controversy.
Last year, the company announced that it was removing the private messaging functionality on its main app. Users would need to download the Facebook Messenger app if they wanted to continue using it on their smartphones and mobile devices. However, the feature would not be removed from the desktop or mobile Internet versions.
There were many looking for ways to avoid downloading yet another app. Some would wait to reply to messages when they got to their home computer, while others would use the mobile Internet version on their devices. However, many soon realized that having the app was worthwhile. Messages were sent directly to the phone, over the top of any other app.
The app makes it clear when someone has a private message, and they can see who has sent each message without going into the app. The main downside is the inability to check the “other” inbox, which is where messages from those not on the friends list is usually sent.
There was also some controversy over the terms individuals needed to accept to install the app. The permissions required included access to a phone’s contact list and camera. Many felt like these were too much, but Facebook stated that it was just to be able to use all functions on the app, including making calls.
Despite the initial reaction, the decision to move to the standalone Facebook Messenger app seems to have been a good move for the company. According to statistics from November 2014, it made the number five spot based on the overall reach, with 43.1 percent of users downloading it. The main app had 69 percent of the share in the same month.
Compared to a year ago, the Facebook Messenger app is growing. It was at 22.1 percent. However, the use of the main app has dropped from 76.2 percent, suggesting that some people preferred the social media site for the private messaging feature. Facebook states that half a billion users had migrated to the Facebook Messenger app by November 2014.
The Facebook main app took the top spot on the ComCast statistics for downloads. However, Google took six out of 15 places with Google Play taking the second-place spot. Google Search and YouTube had third and fourth respectively. All three moved up a place each from the 2013 report. Twitter is dropping behind according to reports, with just 21.3 percent reach. However, it did see an increase in positions due to other apps dropping behind. It moved from 15th place to 11th place in 2014.
Other companies may want to look at Facebook’s decision to split its apps. It has led to getting more downloads, and it certainly seems like an app people want. More people are now using it, despite the initial controversy surrounding it. Moving to the standalone Facebook Messenger app may have been the best decision the company made in 2014.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham