With the rise of messaging apps and Chatbots, the way many of us use social media to share and interact is fundamentally changing.
As one-to-one messaging begins to dominate the social media world, it creates a whole host of new questions, challenges, and opportunities for marketers. In this Blog, we will explore these challenges and opportunities to find out how Chatbots and private messaging may affect the way we all use social media.
In a public Q&A session in November 2014, Mark Zuckerberg explained: “Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.”
And since 2014, Facebook has made huge strides in the messaging space, acquiring WhatsApp for $19bn and building Messenger up to 1.3 Billion users worldwide.
When you look at the data, you can see why Facebook is putting such an emphasis on messaging apps.
A quarter of all downloaded apps are abandoned after a single use. Only instant messaging bucks the trend. Over 2.9 billion people have at least one messaging app installed. Within a couple of years, that will reach 4 billion, over half of humanity. The market’s leading duo, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, are nearing one billion monthly users each. Many teenagers now spend more time on smartphones sending instant messages using social networks. Recently
WhatsApp users averaged nearly 200 minutes each week using the service.
Consumers consider messaging apps as more private than social media.
When it comes to brands using messaging apps for marketing it feels like we’re just testing the water, a lot like social media marketing felt back in 2007-08 when people were just getting to grips with Facebook and Twitter.
Right now, it's time for testing and learning to figure out what works and how open customers are to interacting with brands one-to-one setting.
While there are millions of smartphone apps available, the average smartphone owner downloads almost zero new apps per month and a study by comScore shows that users spend most of their time in just three apps with the average American devoting about half their app time to a single app.
This presents a huge challenge for businesses and marketers as consumers are not spending as much time in apps as expected. Chatbots can go a long way to solving this problem, with the biggest apps, where users are spending most of their time, becoming platforms to which other apps integrate.
What are Chatbots?
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates a conversation with users to achieve a specific goal (e.g. provide information).
Essentially Chatbots are a way to simulate conversations humans do. You can interact with Chatbots for entertainment or to get things done. For example, instead of phoning for a taxi, you can order an Uber using a Messenger bot, you can scan a QR Code and reorder products.
Unlike apps, Chatbots do not need to be downloaded, they live on servers, not a user’s device. This means using Chatbots should provide a smoother experience for the user as switching between Chatbots does not involve tapping on another app.
Bots reduce friction in a customer’s journey and make customer service interactions easier for customers, and for brands. This could mean instead of customers turning to public-facing channels like Facebook, or even email, most of the customer support and interaction could come through messaging platforms where users will expect to have everything they need (account information, receipts, order history,) all in one place.
What this all means for marketers?
Organic engagement on many social channels is in decline, but at its heart, social media has always been about connecting with people one-to-one. That will never change. What will change is the strategies and platforms we use to connect.
As customers transition to private messaging, it is essential for marketers to remember that above all else, messaging interactions are opt-in experiences, much like email lists. And with permission also comes a higher set of expectations.
Content delivered through messaging apps and Chatbots will need to be relevant and more personalized than a Facebook post to your whole audience, and as expected users will need a reason to open a conversation or opt in.
Personalized content and ease of interaction are great ways to encourage opt-in. Another great way is to own or create utilities that encourage engagement with your brand, for example, a grocer or a food brand, for instance, could develop a recipe generator Chatbot, so all one must do is type the name of an ingredient, and get a bunch of recipe recommendations.
Chatbots are currently the No. 1 Tool to deliver Conversational Marketing and Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular channels to run chatbots.
Conversational Marketing is one of the most effective and scaling forms of Internet marketing, a one-to-one approach that brings a company much closer to its customers helping in reducing the sales process.
The possibilities for Chatbots are endless.
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