How Brands Are Using Messaging Apps As The New Social Media

Give customers the right experience and they will not only like you, but will seek out the platforms your brand endorses.

The era of 1:1 communication between brands and consumers is here, and IPG Media Lab has published their first White Paper on the emergence of messaging apps as the newest space for customer engagement. After Facebook’s $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp, marketers are beginning to take these platforms seriously.

However, the report notes that the marketplace is still relatively small and divided between a few players with very different offerings and distribution. Additionally, popularity of a certain app does not mean it’s the only one used; consumers are fluid, moving between apps as the features suit their needs, often within a single day.

messaging-apps-worldwide

The sudden explosion of mobile messaging has been a long time coming, and really isn’t anything new; messaging apps are fundamentally SMS+, texts that support different media and easy to manage groups. What is worthy of note is how social networks, seeing the explosive growth of these apps, have gone backward and created 1:1 message features, such as Instagram’s ‘Direct’ and Facebook’s ‘Message’ app.

messaging-apps-timeline

The report then the differences between social networks and messaging apps: Audience size, duration, and intent.

  • A messaging app acts primarily as a one-to-one (or -few) communication mechanism, and can be temporary or long-lasting. Content is intended to be private, or at least directed towards a specific group.
  • A social network consists of “many to many” connections, is durable, and is capable of producing network effects. When used to publish information, it acts primarily as a many-to-many broadcast mechanism. Content is essentially public.

Because brands follow audiences many of these apps are increasingly becoming brand-friendly, just as social networks did back when they were a new thing.

The report goes on to detail case studies of brand-messaging partnerships and best practices for marketers looking to enter this new area of consumer engagement.

Check out the report for yourself here.

IPG Media Lab

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