When I get a message via WhatsApp or Viber the first thing I do is to read it immediately. If a friend sends me a link I definitely click on it. Sounds familiar?
Is it a bad habit? I wouldn't say it. It is just how private messaging works. Mobile sharing grows at an accelerating speed. According to a recent research published by ShareThis, mobile sharing activity increased by 28% and mobile engagement doubled in the last year.
People tend to share more via mobile messaging apps. Now WhatsApp has 700 million, QQ Mobile 576 million, WeChat 500 million monthly active users. The average age of private messaging app users is 18-24 years. These users send more than 3200 messages per month.
Millions of people use instant messaging for content sharing and communication. These private messaging channels hide new opportunities for brands to connect with their fans.
If you don't capitalize on the opportunities provided by messaging apps, then you are probably leaving money on the table. If you are not convinced about the business value of instant messaging apps, then definitely continue reading.
#1 Segmented audience
Segmentation of the target audience is crucial part of targeting. By using instant messaging apps you can share content with only one person or a small group of people. Most of these apps allow to create different segments (groups) within the app.
For example in case of WhatsApp the maximum number of people in a group is 100, but you can create unlimited number of groups. The number of targeted people are much smaller (compared to open social platforms such as Facebook), but in these small groups you have the most engaging, most targeted customers. They are probably the most valuable customers you really need during a marketing campaign.
#2 Trusted and more personal way of communication
Establishing two-way personal communication is one of the main goals in social media. Instant messaging is a great option to achieve this goal. The best thing is that once the customers added a brand to their contacts then it is much easier to establish personal, two-way communication with them.
Just think about it, people use these apps to communicate with friends or people they already know and your brand could be among them. This is the channel of a very personal and trusted communication.
#3 Personalized interaction
Social media is a human to human communication channel. People don't like faceless companies. They like to communicate with other people.
Interaction via messaging apps is more personal, messages are unique and tailored to the audience. Brands are able to send messages directly to the fans and what is even better that these messages are handled similarly to those sent by friends.
If any questions or problem come up, people expect a very short response time in social media. In case of instant messaging it is even shorter. Positive interaction is crucial, as 71% of customers who experience positive social interaction with brands are likely to recommend them to others, while only 19% of customers who don't receive any response from brands would do it.
A messaging app is a good tool to react to these customer messages within minutes in a more personalized way.
#4 Higher percentage of reach
Thanks to the more targeted messages and more suitable content the percentage of reached fans is much higher than in case of open social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. By using private messaging apps, marketers can reach almost 100 percent of their followers, listed on their IM contact list. Just compare this reach with Facebook's 3,6-8,7% (depends on the content type) organic reach.
#5 Higher engagement and conversion rate
Due to the higher trust, shorter response rate and personalized, human communication the engagement rate is higher among the fans. Messages sent via messaging apps are opened and read within a few minutes, so the message delivering is much more effective.
A good example is Spotify's post on Facebook and Tango. Spotify posted the same message, but the engagement rate was quite different. On Tango the post got 7,625 likes and 1,114 comments, on Facebook it got 1,749 likes and 2,369 comments. Well, Spotify received much more comments on Facebook, but what if I say that Spotify has 4,5 million more fans on Facebook, than on Tango? Amazing. This information shows the decreased reach on Facebook and the high engagement rate on Tango (and generally on IM apps).
Not just the engagement rate is higher, but also the conversion rate, which directly affects a business' bottom line. A brand retailer, Reliance Brands used Whatsapp for promotion. They reported that the conversion rate among WhatsApp users was as high as 80%.
Using instant messaging apps for marketing purpose maybe not suitable for every brand. It mainly depends on the target audience and the product, but there is no doubt that instant messaging hides incredible opportunities for brands. Due to the fact that it is even harder to reach out the younger generations with interruption-based ads, instant messaging could be an efficient way to reach and engage with them.