The Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) story to date has largely been an individual/consumer-driven one. FB stock has rallied nearly 500% since its early-2012 IPO because it has catered to people’s personal vanities. It’s also delivered highly-targeted ads that advertisers increasingly crave.
The social networking giant has quietly entered a new era, however. While people looking to remain in touch with friends and family is, and will remain, the company’s bread and butter, Facebook is taking the next, natural step. It’s reshaping its platform into one that blurs the line between business and personal matters. For instance, Facebook Messenger just got business-friendly.
The development is one that current and prospective investors of FB stock will want to watch closely as the consumer side of the company’s business races closer to a point of saturation and the organization seeks out new ways to maintain its incredible growth pace.
FB’s Business-Minded Messenger is Just the Beginning
Here’s the short version of a long story. Although Facebook had already offered some business tools for corporate entities in its previous version of Messenger, the newest 2.2 version of Messenger better integrates the chat platform with that advertiser’s own tools. It even allows an entire conversation to move from one platform to another. It also allows for a long-awaited broadcast of messages to a large number of Messenger users, rather than just one.
It’s certainly not the Facebook of yesteryear, which almost seemingly sought to shield users from intrusive advertising. Facebook-users are pretty well in the habit now, however. So it’s safe for the social media player to shift to a slightly different paradigm.
It’s not the only way the company is seeing the business market as an opportunity, though.
Case in point: Facebook and salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) are combining salesforce’s Quip productivity app with Facebook’s private social networking platform called Workplace by Facebook. It looks and feels a lot like the integration of LinkedIn and the Office productivity software put in place Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) after Microsoft acquired LinkedIn. The deal gives each partner a chance to sell their product to the other partner’s customers.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking this development more seriously than business-oriented initiatives in the past. This year, Facebook actually sent representatives to Salesforces’s annual showcase called Dreamforce. They were on hand to tout the Quip integration with Facebook’s work-oriented platform, as well as promote the other workplace tools it offers.
For perspective, Facebook’s Workplace platform already has 30,000 businesses on board. And that headcount is still growing.
Looking Ahead for FB stock
It’s not like Facebook is the only name making such a move. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) offers iOS Business Chat. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has also announced it’s going to connect users with marketers. Microsoft is already entrenched in the business market.
But no other players out there has the massive stream of steady web traffic Facebook does. Just ask investors of Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP), who watched their shares of SNAP plunge 20% in one day this week. That was following news that ultimately indicated its social networking site just wasn’t sticky enough to keep users interested, or attract new ones.
And that’s the overarching difference in how, and why, Facebook can successfully inject these marketing messages into a user’s experience. It’s become the go-to place for people to stay connected to other people. It’s simply too much trouble for most users to manage two social media personas or migrate to another one.
Facebook’s increasingly important business tools still don’t make a big impact on, or for, FB stock. It’s a venture that’s going to be a big deal sooner rather than later, however, so now’s the time to put it on your radar.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him on Twitter.