Since its creation in 1996, instant messaging has revolutionized communication. Nowadays, global conversation is an accepted and often expected part of daily life. With such high prevalence among consumers, is your company taking advantage of IM’s marketing capabilities? If not, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity.
What Is Consumer Messaging Marketing?
Simply put, consumer messaging marketing is the use of instant messaging to advertise. Some apps, such as Snapchat, create spaces for advertisers to post their content. Others are a great way to communicate with customers directly. No matter the format, there are ample opportunities to reach out to a new base quickly and relatively easily.
Why Market on Apps?
Consumer messaging marketing is big and growing. As of 2018, app users spend around 23 hours a week on IM. If you want to boost your visibility, it’s prime real estate.
Platforms also make it easy to connect with a large number of people. With the right approach, you can leverage the many positive qualities built into these apps.
High Engagement Rates
Businesses that use IM marketing report higher conversion rates than other platforms. This stems from the higher engagement rate these posts get compared to social media. Consumers open messages faster and more frequently than they click on social media posts, giving you a better chance of catching their interest.
Consumers expect brands to relate to them on a personal level. It’s no longer enough to be effective — you have to show customers that you value them as people. Consumer messaging lets you do so with ads carefully curated for specific audiences. You can also take advantage of the one-on-one nature of IM to cultivate positive customer experiences.
Modern consumers expect fast service, especially if there’s an issue that needs resolving. The instantaneous nature of messaging apps lets you reply to customers within seconds. This speedy communication isn’t just good for customers — it can help you move service queues quicker than via phone.
Who Uses Instant Messaging?
Nearly everyone uses IM nowadays, which is why consumer messaging marketing is so lucrative. In the U.S., there are approximately 53 million users, but these apps are hardly an American phenomenon. Internet users around the world use IM for work as well as play.
Which Apps Should You Target?
App preferences no only vary by age but also by country. To know which apps to invest in, you need to know your audience. The best parts of consumer messaging marketing only work if you’re applying them correctly. If you don’t do your research, users won’t respond or pass on good reviews. Instead of flooding all available apps, you should choose a few that cater to your demographics.
So which apps do you have to choose from? The major players have waxed and waned over the years, with newcomer always on the horizon. For now, there are a handful of apps that support the majority of users.
By sheer numbers, WhatsApp is the largest messaging app, with 1 billion users worldwide. Part of its popularity stems from end-to-end encryption that keeps content safe from prying eyes. Though Facebook owns this app, it’s very different from Messenger in that you can only message people from your contacts list. As of 2020, the top countries for WhatsApp use are Brazil, Russia, India and Mexico.
Snapchat first rose to fame for its short-term nature. Posts only exist for 24 hours before vanishing, which can give users more control over their online presence. The variety of filters can be appealing to younger generations and many social media platforms have copied the format with “stories.” Snapchat is most popular in the U.K., India, the U.S. and France.
Unlike the previously mentioned apps, Viber not only allows for text and video messaging but also voice calls. In fact, Viber users can call each other for free through the app and make low-cost calls to non-users. This app is very popular in Eastern Europe and is also highly downloaded in Nepal, Libya and Iraq.
Part of the social media platform, Facebook’s Messenger has a variety of uses:
- Money sending
- File sharing
- Location sharing
- Secure messaging with end-to-end encryption
The countries that use Messenger the most include the U.S., India, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Mexico.
The Chinese government puts tight controls on the internet, which means many of the previous apps aren’t available in the country. This is a major reason that WeChat is the dominant vehicle for IM, with over 1 billion users. Of course, this app is globally accessible and the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, Singapore and Japan have their fair share of users.
What Are the Best Ways To Engage With Customers?
Once you’ve figured out which apps to target, you need to determine your consumer messaging marketing strategies. Each has its own pros and cons, but choosing several to work in tandem is usually the most effective approach.
Create Chat Bots
Bots have something of a bad rap on the internet: They can flood comment sections, spam links and even impact trending pages. However, they’re key to this type of advertising and can be helpful when used correctly.
So what is a bot and what can it do for you? A chat bot is a program that engages with users via text. They’re good for handling low-level communications and can cut down on stress for customer service workers. To use chat bots well, it’s crucial that you customize the program as much as possible. This ensures that the bots use the correct terms and users don’t feel like they’re talking to a robot.
Tell a Story
If you’re creating an ad, one of the best ways to pique users’ interest is to tell a story. In apps that focus on the visual, such as Snapchat, you should use photos or videos to form connections. Though posts are short, you can still create a rich experience for viewers with thoughtful design.
Use Data To Your Advantage
Most messaging apps have a huge amount of data about their users, which makes it easier for you to personalize marketing material. For example, you can create geolocated promotions that target people in a specific area.
How Can You Launch Your Consumer Messaging Campaign?
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