With soaring second-quarter mobile ad revenues that skyrocketed Facebook shares to an all-time high yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now looking beyond users’ feeds for added avenues of monetization in the realm of messaging.
Zuckerberg is reportedly in discussions with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick about embedding ride-sharing reservations within the Facebook Messenger app, according to Recode.
Sources also told the tech blog that the preliminary plans were “very conceptual, and nowhere near execution” -- though nevertheless “a direction that Messenger has to go in.”
An obvious integration would be to allow Uber users to hail a ride merely by pressing send on a Facebook message.
This model has already been seen in the Asian market, where Chinese users of top messaging app WeChat can hail taxis through a local service called Didi Dache, as well as purchase other products.
Whatever route the two companies choose, both could stand to benefit from the collaboration. Facebook could see Messenger usage increase as well as store additional consumer payment information. Uber, for its part, would be granted access to the Messenger app’s roughly 200 million monthly users, according to Recode.
During an earnings call Wednesday, Zuckerberg may have added fuel to the fire when he discussed the business opportunities of messaging extensively and said he was more “excited” by the prospect of messaging than photo-sharing.
That said, Zuckerberg made it clear that Facebook would tread carefully, opting not to “take the cheap and easy approach and just try to put ads in.”
"There's so much groundwork that we need to do in order to make it so that people are communicating with businesses and public figures in these other apps that we're building," he said.
Other recent moves by Facebook indicate its emphasis on messaging -- and pushing beyond its utility as a mere communications tool.
In addition to its acquisition of WhatsApp and launching its own Snapchat derivation called Slingshot, the company also poached former PayPal president David Marcus to head up its messaging division last month.