Instagram has announced this week that it will be shutting down its standalone Direct Messaging app which was initially launched in December 2017. Yes, there is (let’s say was) a standalone messaging app for Instagram too but it didn’t have a lot of users so the impact may be limited.
Back in 2017, after already taking over Snapchat with Instagram Stories, Instagram was developing a standalone Direct Messaging app to compete with Snapchat there too. Direct was an attempt to grab market share where Snapchat messaging was popular. It initially launched in Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Portugal, Italy and Israel. These were places where Snapchat was not popular. The strategy was similar to that with Instagram Stories, offer Snapchat-like messaging functions in countries and markets which Snapchat was not focusing on. This is simple and smart because it would effectively ruin any chance of Snapchat ever expanding into these regions because users would already have those messaging tools within their Facebook apps including their established social graphs.
Later on, Direct was rolled out in other regions gaining almost 1.35 million downloads worldwide, majorly in Italy and Turkey. Instagram has maintained the official line on this being just a test and it wasn’t promoted heavily anyway.
Judging by the app’s performance in the market and Facebook’s plan of eventually integrating its messaging platforms across its main family of apps, it did not make sense to spend valuable resources on the app’s development, maintenance and upkeep. In this scenario, there’s no room for a separate app and therefore it is being rolled back.
Given that fact that barely anyone knew about its existence in the first place, the impact of this move is fairly limited in the grand scheme of things. If you have been using the direct app, your conversations will automatically switch to Instagram.