Facebook Messages Are Dead

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At least when it comes to sending email.

Last November, Facebook introduced it’s new “Social Inbox” messaging system, which included the option to have messages sent to your Facebook account through your very own @facebook.com email address. Shortly after that announcement, we started tracking emails opened using Facebook messages with our Email Analytics technology.

So how many emails are being opened using Facebook’s messaging platform? Not very many. In fact, it’s so few that measuring it all seems a bit silly: usage peaked in November last year at 0.0000688% of total opens we tracked that month—perhaps from curious early adopters wanting to try it out. The chart below details the trend over the last year:

You might argue that they were never “alive” to begin with. The folks at Emailvision have seen similarly low usage rates (with less than 0.0015% of all emails using an @facebook.com email address) and assert that the poor user experience is much to blame. I concur. In our explorations last year, I didn’t see any compelling reasons to make a switch over to Facebook for my primary messaging needs. True Facebook messages (sent from one user to another without using an @facebook.com address) are a great way to send quick, casual communications to friends. However, they lack a comprehensive organizational system and have mixed support for HTML and CSS, leaving much room for improvement as a true way to send and receive email messages.

It also seems as though many Facebook users simply didn’t get the memo regarding the launch. In a recent article from Slate, readers and staff alike realized only recently that Facebook has been hiding away messages from non-friends into the “Other” folder.

Rest in peace, Facebook email messages.