Messaging is an entrenched part of modern life and savvy businesses are using these flourishing consumer channels to remarkable effect. However, the majority of marketers are yet to ride the wave. Here’s a nifty explainer about how to get on board.
If you’re not using some form of messaging service daily, then you’re very much in the minority. That’s the clear message from Sal Burns, Facebook’s head of global business brand marketing for Messenger.
“Right now, 80 per cent of adults and 91 per cent of teens are messaging every single day,” Burns says.
“Messaging apps have turned into hubs of communication, and in the Asia-Pacific region, those numbers are even higher.”
Yes, everybody’s doing it
Messaging is not only ubiquitous nowadays, it’s become a key channel for businesses to communicate with their customers. And it’s people, not the businesses, that are driving the trend.
An eMarketer Updated Forecast, Leaderboard and Behavioral Analysis study revealed that by the end of 2018, 78 per cent of the world’s smartphone users will message once a month at least. Similar eMarketer research also predicts that by 2021, the global user base of messaging apps will have risen by 23 per cent on the current level.
And according to Facebook data released in September 2018, there are already some 10 billion messages exchanged on Messenger between people and businesses each month.
“When we’ve asked people across the globe whether they message businesses, we found by and large, they are doing so,” Burns says.
“And in emerging markets, which I like to think of as those that have grown up with mobile phones, they’re almost two and a half more times likely to want to message your business.
Give the people what they want
What do people want more than anything when speaking to a business these days? Personalised service and convenience. Ours is a world where instant gratification is becoming the expectation and direct business-to-customer messaging is one way to provide it.
Research by Sentient Decision Science that surveyed people who used a messaging app daily in four key markets (India, Brazil, the US and UK) found that over 64 per cent of all respondents message businesses “because they’re messaging all the time already”.
In other words, they have become accustomed to efficient communication and now expect the same when dealing with businesses.
The same survey also revealed that 61 per cent of respondents felt messaging was “the easiest, most convenient way to contact a business”.
“What people are telling us is that if they can message you, they will feel more confident in your business,” Burns explains.
“And that, to me, is something that will lead to ROI. So, you’re taking someone who maybe wasn’t planning on buying or was uncertain about buying, and moving them closer to the end of the funnel.”
Aussie businesses are thriving on the back of clever messaging strategies
Australian teeth whitening start-up HiSmile is one example of a local success story.
From September to October last year, the company used Sponsored messages to reconnect with existing customers in a novel way. These were short, sharp, and utilised accessible imagery to get customers’ attention fast, sent to people who had initiated a conversation with HiSmile on Messenger.
The messages were personalised with its customers’ names to help build a direct connection with its audience, while accompanying images of teeth-whitening kits alongside graphics highlighting the special offers outlined the limited time frame they were available.
The results of the promotion spoke for themselves. The outlay was considerably smaller, with 11 times lower cost per purchase achieved compared to other channels. It also saw 9.92 times return on ad spend and a 21 times higher click-through rate compared to other platforms.
Big overseas businesses are making hay too, actually
A two-week bespoke Messenger campaign by Lego saw 3.4 times the return on ad spend for click-to-Messenger ads compared to ads that linked to the Lego website. There was also a 71 per cent lower cost per purchase when clicking through to the Messenger experience when compared to ads optimised by clicks. Perhaps most striking, website purchases made via ads that click to Messenger were 1.9 times higher than via other sources.
I’m not aboard the messaging train. Surely it’s too late?
Not in the slightest, Burns says. “Whenever you have a massive shift in how people communicate, the businesses that win are the ones that follow. What we’ve found when we’ve surveyed people is that people now want to message more and more.
“It’s important to remember that there will be obstacles – things that get in the way. There will be technical integrations that will be challenging, but you can take those on, and jump right over them.”
That’s a relief. So, what do I really need to know about the messaging phenomenon?
Be creative, says Burns. “People are having better conversations because they are able to express themselves visually. Messaging is visual – and remember, that not just between people and people, but between people and businesses.”
Also, consider where conversation fits into your business.
“Conversations are happening all over the place, but if you try and design for that whole customer funnel, it’s going to be a lot,” Burns says.
“So, decide where that business opportunity is and solve that.”
Burns advises setting conversations up for success.
“Don’t just build a bot to build a bot. Many clients I have spoken to build something interesting but don’t connect it to the rest of their marketing,” she explains.
“So, they have an effective bot floating out there, but no-one can find it. Make sure that doesn’t happen.”