At first glance, it may seem somewhat counter-intuitive – people use messaging options to connect with their actual friends and family, the last thing they want is brands intruding on that space.
But when you look a bit deeper, the integration of marketing and messaging makes perfect sense – here’s a few reasons why messaging could be a good option for your business.
1. People are messaging. A lot.
Sometimes, when you see messaging mentioned as the next frontier of digital marketing, some people are understandably confused. We’ve had access to SMS messaging since the late 90’s, why are we suddenly tapping into this trend now?
The fact is that through applications like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and others, messaging is now far bigger than SMS ever was. At peak, in around 2010, SMS volume was reaching around 20 billion messages sent every 24 hours. Facebook, which owns two of the current biggest messaging platforms (Messenger and WhatsApp), now handles more than three times that volume, every day.
In Australia, Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat are particularly popular, with approximately 34% of the population - or 7.9 million people – estimated to be using messaging apps.
However you look at it, people are engaging via message a lot – and if that’s the mode of communication people prefer, it makes sense for brands to go meet them there – if it’s not done in an intrusive way.
2. People are open to communications with brand via message
As noted, messaging is a more intimate, personal form of communication, so the assumption could be that brands would not be welcome there. But that’s not actually what’s indicated in the various research data. According to data from Epsilon, around 75% of consumers indicated they were open to making purchases or otherwise interacting with brands via message.
So why would that be? Why are people willing to open their messages up to marketing content?
The main reason is likely because messaging has simply become a habit, a part of people’s everyday interactive process. And as such, people are becoming more accustomed to communicating via that medium – it’s private, it’s interactive, and, most importantly, it’s simple.
Another key appeal of messaging is that it’s non-intrusive – you can get a message and respond in your own time, or not at all if you choose, and you can deal with the matter at hand at your own pace.
3. Messaging commerce options are expanding
As messaging becomes a bigger focus, the tools and options available for brand via message are also expanding. Now, you can set up a Messenger Bot, for example, which can handle customer queries in an interactive, responsive manner without you having to do anything, other than fulfilling any subsequent orders.
It may sound risky or potentially off-putting to users, but the latest Messenger Bot systems are being fuelled by advanced AI, systems that have dealt with millions of similar customer queries and are able to respond, in the vast majority of cases, just as a human would.
For example, there are Messenger Bots that can take your order for a pizza, and ask all the relevant, common follow up questions that will ensure your order arrives as you want.
But even better, bot interactions are trackable via the messaging thread, so every time you interact with a bot – or a brand at all for that matter – your details and information remain on hand for any future engagements, and can be used to tailor each experience to your individual preferences.
It may seem far-fetched, but as these new systems advance, there will come a time where they’re actually able to provide better, more personal, more individualized customer service interactions than actual people - and without the cost of hiring consumer-facing staff.
While the next level of messenger interaction may be a way off, the platforms are working towards building message interactions as a new tool for brands, and it’s worth paying attention to what’s happening on this front and how these tools might be useful to your business.
You might not think your customers would be interested in engaging with your brand via message, but have you asked them? Have you considered the potential advantages of offering a messaging option to improve your service?