Social media giant Facebook has announced it is working with taxi network Uber, a development which could have far-reaching consequences for digital marketers.
Facebook’s first hook up with a transport company will see users of the Messenger app able to hail a taxi from it. This means Messenger users will be able to book an Uber ride without having to leave it and open the Uber app.
Uber on Messenger
The service has already been rolled out in parts of the US, with the move being announced by the two companies involved on their own blogs. Those using the new service get their first ride free up to the value of $20 (£13.37). As yet there is no news of when the service will be available in the UK.
With 700 million Messenger users worldwide the development could be the first in a series of hook-ups between Facebook and other service providers.
The social media giant has said the partnership with Uber is part of Messenger’s ongoing development and that “more countries and other transportation partners will be available soon”.
As simple as sending a message
Facebook explained how the new service works on its blog: “You can request a ride from a car service without ever needing to download an extra app or leave a conversation.”
Uber said: “With the ability to request, view, and pay for an Uber ride in Messenger, taking your next ride is as simple as sending a message.”
Facebook removed instant messaging from the Facebook in April, telling users to download Messenger if they wanted to send and receive personal Facebook messages on their phones. With Facebook buying rival instant messaging service WhatsApp for $19bn (£11bn) last year, the signs are that it thinks this aspect of its platform will become increasingly important.
In terms of digital marketing, this development opens a new channel for promoting brands, but how this can be exploited without disrupting user experience is open to question. However, there can be little doubt that it is significant and a sign of things to come.