Sliding in the DMs in 2019

How brands can take advantage of messenger apps

It’s no surprise that technology has changed the way we communicate. People are beginning relationships through dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. Users will exchange multiple messages with a person to decide whether or not they want to meet in person. Customer service has shifted from the traditional avenues of phone calls and strongly-worded-letters, to DMs and tweet rants. Team efficiency tools like Slack and Skype allow employees to communicate quickly, even across the world.

In 2018 alone, the four largest mobile messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber) held 4.1 billion combined users, surpassing 3.4 billion users on the four largest social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) (Adweek). Today, users are sending 10 billion messages each month on Facebook Messenger alone. This creates a unique opportunity for brands to communicate with their audience in a private, personal setting. Jerry Canning, VP of Digital Sales at National CineMedia stated (Digiday):

“Advertisers have to follow the mantra of going where the customer is. No doubt that monetizing messaging will continue to be a focus area as digital advertising continues to spread its wings and follow platforms where customers are spending their time.”

Brands should consider some of the following tactics in 2019 to take advantage of these opportunities:

• Chatbots are a great tool that allow personalized, real-time interactions with consumers. Brands can streamline customer relationship management, troubleshoot problems, make product recommendations based on the customer’s input and find coupons.

• Brands can target key emotions and conversation topics in messages to serve up relevant content exactly when users need it, creating a strong brand association in their mind, while also encouraging emotional interactions that are not just transactional.

• As data security becomes an increasingly sensitive topic, messaging provides a secure, privacy-preserving avenue for users. Apps like Signal, WhatsApp, Wire, and Wickr are also data-based and work across platforms. Best of all, they’re end-to-end encrypted, which means sent messages are scrambled on one end of the conversation — the device — and unscrambled at the other end on the recipient’s device. This makes it near-impossible for anyone — even the app maker — to see what’s being said (TechCrunch).

When building out social and digital strategies for 2019, brands should consider how to implement messenger apps into their marketing mix. If you’d like to bounce some ideas off of our digital or social teams, please reach out here.