Why Every Marketer Should Be Keeping Up With the Evolution of Messaging Apps

One of the byproducts of consumers moving away from desktop access to the Web via their smartphones is that they augment their email (and the occasional phone call) with mobile messaging apps.

In fact, younger, highly desirable consumers like teens and young adults don’t even use email anymore. (Email your teen right now and see how long it takes for a response, if you ever get one.) They communicate almost exclusively through apps. So, over the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of messaging apps like Snapchat, WeChat, WhatsApp, Kik and, of course, Facebook Messenger.

Research shows that mobile messaging users are loyal, or at the very least, “always on.” Messaging apps are used almost nine times a day, five times the average for all mobile apps. A month after installation, messaging apps have nearly double the retention rate of the average for all apps: 68 percent vs. 38 percent. A year later, users launch 62 percent of downloaded messaging apps at least once.

All the mobile messaging apps aim to control the conversations previously dominated by texting and greatly elevate the user experience. We’re seeing messaging apps that integrate customer service, enable financial transactions and even order transportation, directly within a conversation. What was once a single group chat is transforming into the new mobile Web right before our eyes.

Essentially, “ask and you shall receive” has become the new customer experience. Facebook is developing a team of humans to work in conjunction with artificial intelligence to try and give people access to anything they want, whenever they need it.

Ultimately, integrations with messaging apps will help people seamlessly make plans on the fly, without ever having to switch apps. They will place a dinner reservation, purchase movie tickets and hail the ride to get around town all within a single discussion.

It will be interesting to see how brands and agencies adapt their marketing to include messaging apps within their existing social strategies. As with the emergence of social platforms years ago, a few companies will be bold enough to embrace messaging apps immediately and the rest of the industry will follow closely behind as valuable audiences continue to embrace them for everyday use.

A Falcons, Dawgs and Braves fan, Jim Tomanchek, director of partner development at Adaptly, is an Atlanta transplant living in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @jimtomanchek.

This story first appeared in the March 7 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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