As of August 15, 2019, Facebook will be discontinuing its Messenger Codes, and that means that the Messenger camera will not provide support any longer for scanning those Messenger Codes. If you happen to be using Messenger Codes in your current marketing strategy, this means that you need to take steps to find alternative approaches to replace the lost functionality.
In its recent announcement on the Facebook Developer Website, the platform has declared that users will not have the ability to generate or scan Messenger Codes right within the app, which means the unique image that opens up an entirely different connection sequence will not be available after August 15. Facebook instead recommends that businesses utilize a phone’s native capabilities in order to potentially scan QR codes having m.me links as an alternative, but still efficient solution. Instead of using the proprietary Messenger Codes, Facebook will then revert to using the more traditional QR codes.
Reason for the discontinuation
Facebook has not exactly made public its reasons for discontinuing the usage of Messenger Codes, although there appear to be some logical and fairly obvious factors which played into their decision. First of all, virtually all phones have the capability to scan QR codes automatically, but on the other hand, very few of them can automatically sense and scan Messenger Codes. In order to even open the Messenger scanning code reader, at least four taps are necessary on your phone, and this has always been considered more than a little inconvenient. In fact, many users have complained about this extra effort, even if they appreciated the service rendered.
In truth, Messenger Codes functionality is not very widely known at all, and it does not have a huge following of users, so it never achieved anything like widespread popularity. In addition to that, Facebook has its own built-in QR reader anyway, which can be located simply by searching for ‘QR Reader’ right within Facebook itself. It is therefore highly likely that a major part of the reason Facebook is eliminating Messenger Codes is simply that not many people will miss the functionality in the first place, and secondly the platform appears to favor funneling everyone toward using standard QR codes anyway.
In other words, ease and simplicity are probably major factors behind Facebook’s decision to drop Messenger Codes in favor of QR codes. It also makes a lot of sense to discontinue a proprietary scan feature which is specific to Messenger when Messenger is about to be integrated with WhatsApp and Instagram messaging. Following integration with those other two applications, Messenger Codes would stand out like a sore thumb as a proprietary scan feature and would probably interfere with integration in the first place. It seems fairly clear that Facebook favors QR codes because they provide a lightweight and more efficient solution than do the somewhat cumbersome Messenger Codes.
Steps you need to take
There’s certainly no reason to panic if you have relied on Messenger Codes as part of your marketing strategy, because there are some very viable alternatives which you can rely upon instead. As already mentioned, QR codes are still available, as are powerful chatbots, and when these two are combined, you will still have all the capabilities of Facebook Messenger which you can use for your marketing strategy.
Since all Messenger sequences which get created have their own unique Messenger URLs, you can send that same URL to individuals of your choosing with the use of a QR code. This in essence, accomplishes exactly the same thing that a Messenger Code would have done for you in the past, and probably with a little less hassle. There is even an upside to this different approach, because there are probably a lot more users who are inclined to scan a QR code than are motivated to scan a Messenger Code.
About QR codes
If you happen to be a bit unfamiliar with Quick Response (QR) codes, they offer a means of opening a URL on any mobile phone. Beyond that, QR code generators offer the functionality to accomplish a number of other useful tasks such as sending an SMS, creating a calendar event, or providing contact information. The best QR code types to use are those which you think others will be likely to share. For instance, a scan-to-SMS QR code after being generated in a user-friendly format such as JPEG, can be extremely useful when you’re trying to integrate with other applications.
Next, you would have to upload your QR code to some server which has the capability of communicating with the Facebook Share API. Anything that you share on Facebook will contain four separate components, all of which are fully customizable for using in your QR code campaign. When you do go about customizing these components, you should remember that your QR code will be placed in an image which needs to be large enough that people can easily scan it.
The second component is your headline, which is extremely important for getting attention in Facebook feeds which tend to be very crowded. The third component is the source, which means that any brand executing a marketing campaign needs to host the QR code on a URL which will provide campaign context. The final component is a description which you should take advantage of, to provide relevant and valuable information about your campaign.
Having accomplished all this, you’ll need to then take your campaign live. After having been integrated, Facebook will provide you with a Facebook share URL which is campaign-specific, but you can use a URL shortener to make it easier to share and more trackable. In order to achieve maximum uptake, you should take some time to test your QR code with several different QR code readers before actually deploying to your target audience.
Remember that Messenger Codes are not being discontinued until the middle of August, so you have plenty of time to consider your alternative strategy. For those of you who have made heavy usage of Messenger Codes, you should have no trouble substituting QR codes to accomplish the same thing. QR codes are probably even more popular than Messenger Codes are, and you’ll probably reach a much wider audience by using QR codes. So, the truth is, Facebook may be doing you a favor by discontinuing Messenger Codes, since it will force you to adopt a solution which is probably better in the long run anyway.