Messaging apps are having their moment. 59% of people say their messaging has increased over the past two years, and more people are choosing chat apps as their preferred method of communication. Statistica says that Facebook Messenger had 900 million active users in April 2016 alone, and WhatsApp a whopping 100 million active users. This makes Facebook’s 2014 $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp a solid purchase, despite the naysayers at the time.
Facebook has recently released the results of a Neilsen study exploring why and how people message, focussing on 12,500 people aged 18 or above who use mobile messaging apps across 14 different markets.
The reasons people use messaging apps are diverse and varied, but the global growth of messaging is unprecedented. The appeal of messaging works equally across business and pleasure, with people likely to use a messaging app for different purposes within the same time range. Facebook found that messaging apps empowers people to express themselves and connect with others as they choose – either right away or when the moment’s right.
What does this mean for marketers?
Marketers have a wealth of uncharted opportunities to connect with the customers who matter to them the most, in the moments they are looking for them. People increasingly expect to be able to connect with friends, family and businesses through the apps where they spend the most time.
Find your messaging mission: Identify where messaging can play a strategic role in supporting your business goals and where it can enhance the way people experience your brand. Consider shopping bots if your business is primarily retail based, or look to Domino’s as a marketing example. They utilised a pizza emoji for customers to order a favourite pizza.
Consider regional contexts: People in different locations have varying experiences with messaging apps. If you market to an Asian audience, utilising messenger as an extension of your brand will work well as users there already have experience with this. However, other geographic locations see chat apps just for chatting and the transition may be slow. Provide users with inspiring ways to interact with your brand across messaging apps to increase your customer satisfaction and return rate.
Learn, refine and share: We’re seeing an incredible variety of experiences that are defining new creative medium and paving new paths to purchase. Messaging offers more personal and powerful ways to drive awareness, drive sales, enhance customer service or add functionality onto an existing app.