The advantages of messaging marketing compared to social media
The most popular networks at the turn of the century included online platforms like MySpace and StudiVZ. That is until Facebook appeared for the first time in 2008 and users began switching to the new social network in droves. Facebook might now be facing a similar fate. Recent polls reflect an unmistakable trend: Today’s users are switching to new providers: messaging app communication.
1. Challenges of social media marketing
Social networks are currently facing several problems. But what these networks are finding particularly challenging is accessing target groups. 70 million companies currently have a Facebook presence. That ultimately creates an overwhelming amount of information struggling to find its way to the people using the network.
Facebook has introduced an algorithm to counteract this problem. The purpose of the algorithm is to filter information so that users only receive relevant content in their newsfeed.
For companies, however, the algorithm means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to guarantee that their information actually shows up in the newsfeed, which means they are not accessing as many users as they potentially could. Only an average of roughly 5% of messages sent out by companies actually reach social network users.
As a study of Buzzsumo shows, the average number of engagements with Facebook posts created by brands and publishers has fallen by over 20% since January 2017.
That makes it virtually impossible to generate organic reach. One option would be to improve reach by placing ads. However, the click rate for those ads is quite low at 0.9%.
What’s more, the image of social networks is suffering due to misleading “news” sources, hate comments and click baiting, bringing about a shift similar to the one that platforms like MySpace experienced years ago. Users are switching to new communication platforms.
2. The new trend: Messaging app communication
A study published by investment bank Piper Jaffray surveyed 6,350 young people with an average age of 16 about their habits in using social media communication. The findings: Facebook is currently experiencing a shift similar to that of earlier online platforms. The community is moving on to platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook has recognized this trend and has begun offering its own messaging app, which has become quite popular.
The user numbers of the four largest messaging apps outdid those of the four largest social networks for the first time in 2015.
App download numbers are also a good indication of the current popularity of messaging apps. If we look at the global download numbers from Google Playstore, messaging apps clearly dominate the field. WhatsApp takes first place with 103.64 million downloads, followed by Facebook Messenger with 84.48 million downloads. Facebook only comes in third with 40.99 downloads.
It’s time for marketers to respond to this shift. The new trend holds numerous advantages for companies over those to be had in social media channels.
- New channel: Messaging marketing is a very new field. There’s still time to take advantage of the first-mover effect and establish your offer in messaging communication. Messaging apps can be used in a number of ways, including offering support services in the app, using chatbots to process simple requests, entertainment, info services and much more.
- Heterogeneous target groups: Messaging apps are common at all levels of society. Unlike social networks, use is not concentrated among certain age groups. Messaging apps are used in daily communication by young and old alike. That means you are much more likely to reach the right target group with messaging apps.
- Strong performance: People who use messaging apps tend to be easily accessible. This can be partially attributed to the fact that messaging apps function as a customer’s most private communication channel. With open rates of 90% and click rates of 20%-30%, information reaches customers much more effectively in messaging apps than in other types of media.
- Going viral/sharing: It is incredibly easy to share information in messaging apps without any change in design, structure or appearance. Shared content in social networks, on the other hand, is strongly dependent on background information. In the best-case scenario, you’ve included open graph data that is read when the information is shared so that the content appears in its original form. Without this data or if the data can’t be read due to an error, social networks select the next-best information and images from your website and you lose all control over what your content looks like. Shared information may also be blocked by social network algorithms and never even make it to the friends with whom it is being shared.
- No algorithms: Messages that you send to your target group via messaging apps reach them directly. There are no algorithms to filter content. Instead, your content reaches precisely the right user, because they have chosen to sign up for your channel. Although the number of subscribers to your messaging channel may be lower than your social network, the quality of those users is considerably higher.
- Low development costs (e.g. compared to apps): Depending on its complexity, building an app can easily cost upwards of EUR 100,000. The costs involved in messaging marketing are substantially lower. Not to mention the fact that other types of apps also involve costs for maintenance, updates and advancement. Messaging apps are fully developed apps. Although you will encounter ongoing operation costs, these are significantly lower.
- Feedback channel: Messaging apps are an easy way to get in touch with customers. Your customers can use the chat function to engage with you in direct conversation. It’s the best way to create loyal customer relationships.
- Multimedia: Messaging apps are the perfect platform for communication featuring multimedia content. You can include videos, images, audio files and PDFs when sending out messaging app newsletters or during chats. That lets you create a completely new experience for your customers. A customer who has a problem with a product, for example, can send a picture, enabling your support staff to find a solution even faster. The same can be done with audio files or videos. Customers can send them during a chat, where they can later be processed by your support staff, who can then respond to your customer in kind.
- Chatbots can help: Chatbots are an intelligent step towards automating messaging app communication. These small programs within the messaging app itself can be used in entertainment, brand promotion, product information, hotel bookings, etc.
There are numerous reasons why messaging marketing is taking on increasing strategic importance in the marketing mix, not least due to the extensive advantages offered by messaging marketing compared other marketing tactics.
Companies need to respond to this trend strategically, adjust their communication activities to the requirements of messaging apps and rethink how much focus they dedicate to which channels in their own marketing mix.
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