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The use of visual communication tools like video chat, emojis, and AR filters is gaining steam on Messenger, according to a post by Facebook Messenger VP David Marcus.

The head of Facebook’s massively popular chat app — which boasts more than 1.3 billion monthly active users globally and over 200,000 active bots — reviewed the strides the chat app made over the past year before outlining how it will focus its efforts in the year ahead.

Messenger is leader for much of the Western chat app industry, so any changes it undergoes in 2018 will have wide implications for both users and businesses.

Marcus outlined three actions Facebook Messenger will take in 2018, which other players in the industry are likely to mimic:

  • Place greater focus on the visual aspect of messaging. Marcus anticipates visual messaging — images, video, GIFs, and stickers — to fully take off in 2018, as video chatting to engage with others becomes more popular on the platform. Facebook reported 17 billion video chats in 2017, doubling the total from 2016. And more than 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs were sent last year. In 2018, Messenger will continue to add features that emphasize visual messaging as a tool to help drive new and innovative ways for users to interact with one another.
  • Turn Messenger into a channel for customer service. With one of the largest social networks powering it, Messenger is well placed to intensely threaten legacy channels of customer relationship management (CRM), like email and phone calls. Already, more than half of consumers would rather message a business than call customer service, according to Read More Here