MENLO PARK, CA: Having spent a couple of years adding a host of new features to its Messenger app, Facebook plans on moving in the opposite direction in the coming year.

In a blog post, David Marcus, head of Messenger, said that such features “continue to set us apart”, while at the same time acknowledging that not all had “found their product market fit”.

The app had in fact become too cluttered, he admitted. “Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.”

In late 2016, the social media giant launched Messenger Lite, an Android-only app originally intended for emerging markets using smartphones with limited memory and processing power and with slow internet connections.

But when it was made available in more developed markets in autumn 2017, people there were quick to tap into the benefits of using a version of Messenger that takes up less space on their phone and consumes less data.

“Facebook Messenger Lite is proof positive that we’ve overthought and over-engineered the modern messaging app,” wrote The Verge’s Vlad Savov.

“It’s embarrassingly simple, though the embarrassment should be shared out among Facebook’s full-fat Messenger, Google’s constantly failing efforts to make a non-terrible messaging app, and confused alternatives like Skype.”

Alongside a simplification of the app, Marcus flagged developments in visual messaging and the evolution of Messenger as a customer care channel.

And he further noted that the past year had seen some major brands developing their presence on the channel – “which signals the acceptance from CMOs that it’s time to create a unique and effective experience that can reach more people at scale”.

He promised “investment in rich messaging experiences not only from global brands, but [also from] small businesses who need to be creative and nimble to stay competitive”.

Sourced from Messenger, The Verge; additional content by WARC staff