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The Messaging Battle Between Facebook and Snapchat Intensifies

On the face of it, you might think that Facebook Messenger and Snapchat aren't in direct competition. Despite now being a standalone app, Messenger is still an appendage to Facebook, whilst chat is at the very core of the Snapchat service, and it's almost entirely based on image and video.

Despite this, it's becoming more obvious by the day that they are competing, Facebook having bought the Masquerade startup a few weeks back, which is eerily similar to Snapchat's filter feature, and Snapchat having jumped on Bitstrips, which owes much of its early success to Facebook. In Snapchat's most recent update, a number of features bearing more than a passing resemblance to Messenger appeared, including the ability to leave audio messages, video call requesting, stickers and much more.

Even with that in mind, it seems like the two could quite happily co-exist, but their developmental lines are running parallel now. Facebook has the advantage of access to more users, and they have gone to great lengths to assure that as many of them as possible download Messenger, but Snapchat is self-contained, with no extra app downloading necessary, which affords its own advantages.

Facebook are unlikely to get anyone to sign up to the full service purely to get ahold of Messenger, but since over 1 billion people are already using it, that's not a big concern, they're more bothered about increasing Messenger's capability to the point where people are using it for everything from shopping to hailing a taxi. It's also worth remembering that Facebook is directly competing with Snapchat on the main platform too, especially with video content. Snapchat has Discover and Live Stories, and Facebook have Mentions.

Of course, it's all about making money, and both Snapchat and Facebook have advertising features ingrained into the messaging service. Facebook favour targeted ads, whilst Snapchat use content which is contextually relevant (ie to a sports event, holiday or season), but not targeted. That's set to change soon though, as increasing pressure has buoyed Snapchat into using Discover as a market research vessel.

What both of them really want is for their service to effectively replace texting and voice calling as a primary means of communication. It might seem like an unrealistic goal, but times are changing and being able to access such features from an app you're on every day anyway carries a lot of appeal. At the moment, they're both caught in a messy lock of copying and reworking each others' ideas, and ultimately it will come down to which approach advertisers decide they prefer, but whichever one gets out ahead will likely always have to compete or co-exist with the other, neither of them are going away.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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The Messaging Battle Between Facebook and Snapchat Intensifies Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 Rating: 5

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