Facebook has started rolling out a new version of Messenger — called Messenger 4 — that promises a more “simplified” experience. Among the updates, the messaging app is reducing the current number of tabs from nine tabs down to only three: a Chats tab, People tab and Discover tab.

Other new features will include the ability to personalize chats using customized color gradients to reflect the mood or topic of conversation and a “Dark Mode” interface that minimizes phone screen glare.

Why marketers should care

While the earlier versions of Facebook Messenger included a “Discover” tab, Messenger 4 will give more prominence to the area of the app where users can find and communicate with businesses directly.

Previously, Facebook Messenger included nine tabs, but as the newest version begins to roll out, users will only see three tabs — a Chats tab which will be “front and center” of the app and include a Camera at the top; the People tab to find friends, see who is active and view Stories; and, the Discover tab where users will be able to, as Facebook writes, “…connect with businesses to get the latest deals, play Instant Games, book your next vacation, follow the news and more.”

Facebook Messenger is gaining more traction with brands as more companies are using the messaging platform to reach consumers, either directly or via bots or ads. Facebook’s efforts to simplify the layout of Messenger and drive more engagement play right into the company’s goal of further monetizing the messaging app so that it is a consistent stream of ad revenue.

Akvile DeFazio, president of the social media marketing agency AKvertise, says her company has ramped up Facebook Messenger advertising efforts for clients because of the results they’re seeing.

“Facebook Messenger has been increasing in use for users and advertisers alike. It’s a smart move for Facebook to begin dominating the chat space — with Messenger and chat apps bringing brands closer to consumers and in a more personalized manner, more so than email these days,” says DeFazio.

More on Facebook Messenger 4

  • The new Messenger 4 is rolling out globally over the coming weeks as Facebook says it wants to give users time to get accustomed to the changes.
  • All previously added features — such as polls, video chatting and the ability to share your current location or play a game with friends — remain available.
  • According to research conducted by Kelton Global in August of this year, seven out of ten people said simplicity was a top priority for them in a messaging app.

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