In-app purchases for using Facebook to chat to friends?
For a while now the rumour mill has been turning, slowly grinding down the big globules of payments rumours into fine sand that permeates even the deepest crevices of the internet. So, it came as no surprise to hear Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talk about how the social network will be entering the world of payments.
However, it’s not in quite the way you’d expect, and it may well not be for a little while yet. But it seems that the new strategy going forward is how the company sees itself making money from its users – diminishing advertising and opting for facilitating payments instead.
“[Facebook isn't going to] take the cheap and easy approach and just try to put ads in or do payments and make money in the short term,” said Zuckerberg in last Thursday’s earnings call.
As I said, it comes as no surprise, especially as so many rival messaging apps contain payments mechanisms inside them already – although it’ll be interesting to see how WhatsApp handles the transition to including payments in Facebook Messenger.
The news of Facebook’s payments venture came out due to a line of questioning from RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney around the acquisition of PayPal’s David Marcus, and why he’d been put in charge of running Messenger when his strengths lay firmly in payments.
While this may have already been enough of an indication that something was coming, Zuckerberg chose to reveal some future plans in hope of stemming the tide of analysts factoring in payments into Facebook earnings – when in reality that wouldn’t be the case for a year or two.
“Messenger will have — over time there will be some overlap between that and payments,” replied Zuckerberg. “But I guess what I’m just trying to say is two things. One is, the payments piece will be a part of what will help drive the overall success and help people share with each other and interact with businesses.
“We’re going to take time to do this in the way that we think that’s going to be right over multiple years,” he summed up.
One question remains though, what could Facebook do with a payments system inside of Messenger?