Meta Adds New Account Switching and Cross-App Alert Tools as it Looks to Maximize Engagement

Meta’s trying to hook more people into its apps, and get them spending more time on Facebook and Instagram respectively, by making it easier to switch between your connected profiles on each, and adding new alerts to entice you across.

As explained by Meta:

“We know that many people use more than one of our apps to pursue different interests, reach a broader audience or share different aspects of who they are with different groups of people. With that in mind, we’re simplifying the process of creating and switching between accounts and profiles.

First off, Meta’s trying out a new profile-switching interface which will indicate the number of notifications that you have on each platform, in order to entice you across to each app.

Facebook Instagram profile switching

As you can see, rather than just seeing your Facebook profile/Pages in the account switcher on Facebook, you’ll now also see your connected IG account/s also, providing an easier link between the two. That’ll also work the same when switching across from IG.

Activity notifications like this can make it a little easier to stay on top of your alerts – though they’re not as helpful as the activity markers that Facebook tried recently in Facebook Search, which indicate how many new posts profiles that you’ve previously looked up have added since you last checked.

Facebook search indicators

That made it easier to stay up to date on the latest updates, in case you missed them in the News Feed (or you don’t follow the Pages). But at the same time, it also gave users less reason to tap through and check in on each if there were no new notifications. Less time spent is no good for Meta’s metrics, so it ended that test after a few months.

Personal activity alerts are not as beneficial, or impactful for Meta’s usage stats – though they’ll likely, as noted, entice more people to check in on each app more often. Because even if those notifications aren’t important, people find it hard to resist those red dot alerts.

On another front, Meta’s also rolling out a new account registration and login flow that will enable people to more easily log in and create new accounts across Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook Instagram profile switching

People new to our products can create a Facebook or Instagram account, and then use that account to sign up for additional ones. And people who have both a Facebook and an Instagram account can now easily use login information from one app to access the other, as long as their accounts are in the same Accounts Center.

There are no big changes here, but the simplified layout and process will make it easier for people to understand how to undertake each action on each page.

Which pretty much summarizes the whole approach for both of these new additions. With time spent in its apps on the decline, Meta’s looking to add more ways to keep people within its digital walls for longer, which is why it wants to connect up its various accounts and tools, and add more combined notifications, to ensure that it can keep you around for as long as absolutely possible.

And that won’t be limited to just Facebook and IG accounts:

While these changes are currently limited to Facebook and Instagram, we’ll continue to explore how to improve connected experiences across all of our technologies.

So Meta’s likely also looking at ways to integrate notifications and switching options for WhatsApp as well, along with updates from the VR environment formerly known as Oculus.

The idea is that by combining these elements, and making it as easy as possible to switch, you’ll just continue floating between its apps, adding to its active user stats, and ideally, spending more time with its tools.

Which seems like a stopgap solution to stop the exodus of users away from its apps. The broader problem for Meta right now is that people just aren’t as entertained as they once were by posts from their friends and family, with the rise of video marking a new shift in the social media landscape, moving from ‘connection’ – the social element – to ‘entertainment’ instead.

Which Meta has never been great at. Facebook Watch has never really caught on, despite Meta trying to frame it as a success, while IGTV was retired last year, reflecting the company’s ongoing struggles to maximize user engagement with entertainment content.  

TikTok, however, is focused on entertainment over social connection, as is YouTube, with both being less about who you know, and more about what you like.

That’s never been Meta’s approach, with its tools built around updates from family and friends. They’re trying to rectify this now, by pushing more entertainment-aligned content into your feeds, from profiles that you don’t follow, in the hopes that you’ll start referring to them for entertainment as well.

But will that work? Can Facebook and Instagram become entertainment apps, instead of connective tools?

Meta says that it’s testing out its new account switching options globally on iOS, Android and web.

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