The Rise of the Messaging App

The six top mobile apps are communication apps and up until recently, their sole purpose was to chat to your mates. As technology and people’s behaviour evolves, communication apps have found a way of using their platforms to give brands a piece of the pie and meet people’s needs of brands where they are already spending their time.

Communication apps are now one app for many different touchpoints, replacing the need for people to dip in and out of a range of apps to benefit from various services. Facebook Messenger offers branded bots for people to start a conversation with a brand to meet people’s needs quickly and efficiently. The new technology opens up a potentially very exciting new door for brands to convert consumers all the way through the funnel- from the awareness to consideration to intent and the transaction phase.

All sounds great for the brand and the communication platform, but let’s consider the consumer. Our Chair, Will Bonaddio (Social Media Director, OMD UK), asked ‘What are users’ perception of brands entering messaging apps?’. Jon Heaton, FB Partner Engineer Messenger, was quick to respond ‘Studies show that there has actually been an increase of demand for consumers to use the messaging app to communicate with brands’. And what about when a bot isn’t quite doing the job? Chris Venus, Director at Conversocial, emphasised ‘Some branded services need a mix of live and bot interaction, depending on the business challenge – for example, is it about attracting new consumers or retaining them?’.

For Snapchat, their communication app is about brands playing a slightly different role in the conversation. For me, Snapchat’s role is about building an emotional brand connection with people rather than serving a functional service. Using branded filters and content that forms part of an existing conversation, Will Scougal (Head of Creative Strategy at Snapchat) said ‘We give the ability for people to express themselves more… It’s not about brands disrupting the conversation it’s about contributing to it… We can create a delightful experience with your brand- adding to what your consumers are already doing’.


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