From engaging customers to having a channel to communicate internally, there are good reasons why messaging apps are on the rise.
The top three apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, as of January 2021) put together have over four billion monthly active users. Yet only 20% of marketers have used chatting apps to up their marketing.
How can such apps benefit you? And what does it mean for messaging app development in general?
Table of Contents:
Before we begin: What even are messaging apps?
Messaging apps are chat platforms or applications that allow users to instantly message each other through desktop or mobile devices. Some of the most popular ones are Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp.
The myth that customers have less than the attention span of a goldfish has long since been debunked. However, customers are still relatively impatient (HubSpot estimates that their patience wears out at 30 minutes), and it's important to address their issues quickly.
Speed, a single channel, and privacy (unlike social media) are just some of the benefits you get from messaging apps for business. Furthermore, one-on-one interaction can offer a personalized experience to your customers.
Luckily, many messaging apps are free to use, and in addition to messaging, you can take advantage of video calls.
Messaging apps combine the best of what mobile apps and social networks have to offer, and it shows in their billions of active users worldwide.
Thus, it's no surprise that Business Intelligence found that messaging apps had already surpassed social networks in terms of monthly actives user numbers in late 2015 by approximately 0.5 million users.
For aspiring app developers and mobile marketers, this shift will require a new approach to how we think about social media marketing.
For the past decade, the focus has been on spreading brand awareness and engagement through public news feeds.
But in the near future, those feeds might be the last place consumers turn to for interactions with their peers, let alone brands. This will change the face of both marketing and app development.
Messaging apps are exclusive by nature – communication is dubbed one-to-one or one-to-few, as opposed to the one-to-many channels of your average Twitter homepage.
Finding a way for brands to organically fit into these communities is still a field ripe with experimentation and uncertainty.
But that hasn't stopped leaders of social networking like Facebook of taking advantage of "dark social".
This term was coined by Alexis C. Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic. Bitly describes dark social as "social sharing that comes from outside sources that web analytics tools are not able to track."
This includes social channels such as messaging apps, email, and private browsing. It is estimated that an astonishing 70% of global online referrals originate from dark social.
Through acquiring WhatsApp, for instance, building Messenger's user base up to over 900 million active monthly users, and introducing Facebook Messenger for Business, they've already paved the way for what's possible.
The question on marketers' minds is how to reach customers through a more private form of social networking, where traditional advertising models are not welcome in their inbox without permission.
One of the first brands to embrace this digital marketing challenge is Adidas.
They developed ways to share news, event invites, and exclusive content to build local communities around the world.
Alt, a senior director of global brand communications at Adidas Football, talked about their strategy in an article with The Drum.
"There is excitement about the opportunity dark social presence and how it can help Adidas become the most personal brand, so we expect it to play an increasingly important role in our strategy," he stated.
"The aim is to create truly incredible brand experiences by being unexpected. We believe this approach will generate the type of conversation that travels into earned media but we'll also use events and experiences to create content for our own social media platforms."
Of course, dark social isn't immune to the draw of automation.
Bots simulate conversations with human users to entertain, educate, or serve.
For example, Uber users consult a messenger bot for finding drivers as an alternative to making a phone call for a taxi.
Another excellent example is that of WeChat. It has created dozens of bots that enable users to obtain products and services through the mobile application.
Bots work in servers rather than a user's device, so they don't need to be downloaded to be used.
This lends to the frictionless experience of messenger apps.
This largely depends on what your business requires. Take a look at the list we've compiled:
Big Organizations: Microsoft Teams
Global Collaboration and Various Clients: Chatwork
Integrations and Features: Slack
Task Management: Ryver
Cost Effective: Zoho Cliq
Document Collaboration: Glip
If no existing messaging app quite fits your business, you can opt for a custom app via mobile app development services.
Messaging apps can be pretty great for business. But you'll want to ask yourself a few questions before you start using them:
What's your budget? Free apps usually come with a catch or some limitations. An optimal user experience may require a paid form of the app.
Don't just start communicating with your customers because you can. Is it going to be impactful? If so, will it be impactful for all of your customers or just a specific segment?
80% of people will switch to a different company if you offer poor customer service. So before you implement a messaging app for marketing, determine whether you've got the resources to make it good.
How much monitoring will this channel require? Would you be better served with a bot or a person?
What's your brand voice going to look like over this channel? You'll need to train your team to communicate in a way that reflects your brand's values and mission. The same goes for any bots.
Messaging apps offer a personal, engaging, and immersive form of brand interactions.
As a leader in mobile app development, BluEnt strives to build apps that take advantage of the latest market trends and tech.
Our team of professional developers work with you from the very first stages of design to app prototyping to product launch to ensure that your vision is a success.
We commit to providing the most cost-effective mobile app solutions so that our clients walk away with maximum value achieved from every project.
Maximum Value. Achieved.