Article

Faizan Syed
Faizan Syed 27 January 2017

The Next Big Thing In Digital Communications

6 years ago there was only one messaging app among the 10 most downloaded in the App Store. Now there are 6 and it is impacting business communications on social media like never before. Messaging apps are becoming the new second home screen.

You probably didn’t know this but the four largest messaging apps, WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Viber currently have more users than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, combined. Why is this so?

Well the simple reason for this is that more and more online conversations are moving to more private and more intimate groups/chat threads, in what seems to be a much more controlled environment. This clearly represents a new consumption pattern and channel offering. The personal touch, transparency and one on one communication is exactly what the majority of online users want, according Forbes. They are more loyal to brands who personally engage with them via those channels and an estimated 2 billion users will be messaging through Over the top (OTT) apps by 2018.

Not that this is highly new phenomenon. We saw in the 90’s and early 2000’s how SMS expanded and how quickly the popularity of Twitter grew. Yet, we see a return to the basic need an extinct of keeping things small and simple. Last year we saw several social networking sites becoming more conversational, as chat apps adopt more and more social features. For instance, on Facebook, you can click on an ad and it takes you directly to a chat window with the brand.

SIMPLE USER ENGAGEMENT - Book a flight or order a burger

smartphone-569076_1280.jpg

Forums and social networks have long ruled the conversation around events, interests, trips and hobbies. In 2017, we will see more and more chat apps offering channels for this kind of communication. This will allow people to broaden their horizons and find new friends to chat and meet with.

An example is the Dutch airline carrier KLM, which uses messenger bots to send out booking confirmations, travel updates and boarding passes.

Burger King lets you even order a burger through Facebook Messenger and Adidas have built hyper local communities in cities around the world through Whatsapp. Just as they have used Twitter's own direct messaging function to put local brand advocates in dialogue with sponsored players.

This is just a handpick of companies making use of messaging apps and this will in 2017 capture the users’ full attention and “hit” them directly where the user is always present on their mobile, and for users it is easy and convenient.

How will you can measure power and monitor social media in the future?

A difficult question to answer but what it will entail is that social listening will be even more "intelligent" in the future and companies ability to understand and listen to their customers will be even more crucial (if it weren’t already crucial), because the use of chat bots and artificial intelligence gives completely new data on users' behavior and attitudes.

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