The recent rise in the use of messaging apps is staggering. In Q3 of 2015, monthly messaging app users surpassed monthly social media users, with no sign of slowing down.
Messaging apps have changed the way we communicate with one another. We went from slow, cumbersome, costly SMS to rapid, light, and mostly free mobile app messages in just a few years.
Will this messaging revolution affect business-to-consumer communication? Are consumers ready to interact with businesses via messaging apps? How can we expect marketing to change due to this new technology?
This article offers an overview of the impact mobile messaging apps will have on business-to-consumer relations, and some insight on how companies can profit from this new trend.
Messaging apps, the future of B2C communication
Thanks to recent research, data shows that early adopter consumers are already talking to businesses via apps like Facebook Messenger.
To support this, a study from Facebook IQ showed 63% of consumers message businesses more than they did two years ago and 67% of consumers expect to message businesses more over the next two years.
Why are messaging apps such a great medium for B2C communication?
Firstly, sending messages via most of these apps is entirely free (for both business and consumer). Some apps require businesses to set up an official business account which costs a little money, but for the most part, it can be completely free to send a message.
Compared to the price of sending an SMS, or even an email, messaging apps are a natural choice.
Secondly, the reach is incredible. Current statistics from one of the main e-mail providers, MailChimp, show abysmal engagement rates. Open rates average at 20%, while click-through rates hover around 2.50%.
On the other hand, mobile messaging boast incredible statistics. 97% of mobile messages will be read within 3 minutes of receiving, and receive an average 36% click-through rate. From these numbers alone, it appears evident that to reach customers, mobile messaging is a far better option than anything currently available.
Finally, almost everyone has a phone nowadays. With close to 3 Billion smartphones around the world and a projected 6.1 Billion in 2020, you can be sure a healthy part of your audience is (or will be) available through messaging apps.
Since your audience is already using these apps day-in-day-out, by leveraging them for your own business, you bypass expensive costs normally associated with creating your own app, acquiring customers, retaining them, and so on.
The consumer is ready for the mobile messaging revolution
This all sounds fantastic from a business owner’s point of view. Better reach, better engagement, at a lower cost – every marketer’s dream.
Before jumping in head first, we need to ask ourselves if this is not all just theoretical. Is the consumer actually ready to receive messages from companies through their favourite apps? Will the experience delight, or annoy them? Are you invading a space they currently reserve for their friends and family, with ads or promotional content?
Our research shows the consumer is ready. Even better, the consumer is eagerly waiting for businesses to be available and contactable via messaging apps.
63.9% of consumers surveyed believe businesses should be available and contactable via messaging apps, over 45% of them would rather talk with a business via a messaging app than via e-mail. Get the insights and download this full 2016 mobile messaging report for free for more valuable insights on consumer messaging app usage.
Using the data gathered from this particular research along with Facebook IQ, it is safe to say that the consumer is ready to interact with businesses through their favourite messaging app.
Conversational marketing comes to life
What will be the impact of this new marketing trend?
Messaging apps are creating a whole new field of marketing. For many years, marketing has been about trying to impose content (in the form of ads) to consumers. A one-way relationship between business and consumer, where the business throws content out, and the audience passively consumes it.
Thanks to messaging apps, marketing can finally reach a higher potential and become truly conversational. In his great article, Chris Messina labels 2016 as “the year of conversational e-commerce”. We think he is right.
Businesses and consumers will finally be able to engage in real two-way conversation around products, services, and support. Conversational marketing is the revolution everyone is waiting for. You can become one of the first to be part of it.