Messaging is the future of marketing.
Messaging apps have surpassed social networks in terms of monthly active users.
Even Mark Zuckerberg has said:
“Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.”
It’s only natural then that messaging is set to be the primary marketing channel in the next five years.
As a business, it’d be crazy not to target Facebook Messenger…
A channel that over 10% of the world’s population uses.
Because it’s all about that reach.
One-to-one messaging provides so many features and benefits.
Marketers are starting to realize as much, so don’t be left behind.
Messaging will dominate the world of marketing in 2018 and beyond. Here’s how and why:
The Rise of Messaging
Messaging will replace email, SMS, phone calls, etc. in the coming years.
By 2022, there will be over 8.6 billion instant messaging accounts.
Businesses will always reach out to people where they’re already hanging out.
If we could see into the future, it’s likely we would see that, number one there is a lot of Black Mirror-esque scary stuff going on.
And number two, messaging is the primary form of communication between businesses and consumers.
Black Mirror aside, we can’t actually see into the future.
The only thing we can do is look at a case study in which this kind of thing has already occurred.
In China, around 900 million people use the messaging app WeChat.
It is the most popular form of communication in the country.
It dominates SMS and email, even in the workplace.
WeChat includes video calling, the ability to share large files and group messaging.
It even has a system in which you can use QR codes to swap contact information instead of business cards.
It is the primary method for distributing content for some bloggers. They have foregone a website altogether.
But perhaps the most interesting part is that you can use it to pay for stuff in online and physical stores.
This means it has largely replaced cash and credit cards.
87-94% of WeChat users make offline payments via WeChat.
They use it more than cash, cards, and other smartphone payment methods.
As the capabilities of Facebook Messenger and other forms of instant messaging expand, it’s likely that they will move in the direction of WeChat.
After all, it has been possible to send and receive payments through Facebook Messenger since 2015.
And of course, you can make purchases through Facebook stores.
In the US, Facebook is the social media platform on which the most purchases are made.
The WeChat case study is fascinating as it shows the future potential for messaging apps around the world.
The Primary Channel for Outbound Marketing
Brands must communicate with consumers on mobile messaging channels.
In 2018, it’s the most accessible form of communication.
So it would be the most proactive way for you to do your marketing.
Globally, people spend the most minutes online on their mobile devices:
So it’s the best channel to reach people with your information, offers, and other communications.
Perhaps the fact that mobile browsing is so commonplace and accessible is the reason why messaging sees better open rates than email.
According to data from Headliner Labs, people are 3.5 times more likely to open a Messenger message than a marketing email.
That shows the potency of instant messaging as a means of outbound marketing.
And don’t forget that it’s a two-way street.
While marketing emails are like having a conversation at somebody.
Messaging is having a conversation with somebody.
This means that brands can converse with consumers in real-time.
And move them down their sales funnel in one thread…
Even towards making a purchase.
This is a great example from Sephora:
The messenger chatbot strikes up a conversation with users to find out about their makeup preferences.
From there, Sephora can make custom product recommendations to the user.
There are a number of outbound marketing messages that work well for instant messaging.
For instance, re-engagement or abandoned cart messages:
Messages sharing new content:
New product releases or offers:
Basically, in 2018 and beyond, you’re going to send out a similar marketing message to the ones you’ve always done.
But instead of sending them via email, you will send them through messenger.
The main reasons being, they’re more likely to be opened in the first place.
And users can respond in real-time.
Easy to Use On-Site Plugin
Ever used a personal shopper?
You have someone to guide you around the store, giving you the precise information you need and helping you pick up the right items.
Well, on-site messaging is similar.
You get someone to chat to in real-time while you browse a website or online store.
20 million Facebook pages already use messaging.
And in 2018, you’re going to see more and more sites that have the Facebook Messenger plugin on-site too.
Though there are other bots and on-site messaging services in existence…
Facebook Messenger has the reach of 1.3 billion users.
So, it’s a good idea to use the plugin as many of your customers will be Facebook Messenger users and totally familiar with the app already.
Take a look at it in action:
Facebook Messenger’s benefits, such as rich media and bots, will not be lost in the plugin either.
So you also have the advantage of being able to use a superior platform.
The way the plugin works is that the messages sent between you and the site visitor pop up in the Facebook Messenger app simultaneously.
This means that you can continue to communicate with customers even after they have navigated away from your site.
How useful is that!
No leads are lost in this process.
This has another benefit too.
If you already have a strong presence on Facebook and use Messenger, then you won’t need to have multiple channels for customer inquiries.
The plugin loads up previous conversations between you and your customers when they reach your site.
The plugin can also be customized to match your brand, for instance with colors and greetings.
With the plugin being rich in features that will benefit both brands and consumers.
Don’t be surprised if you see more websites adopting it…
Or if you find yourself adopting it too.
Facebook Messenger Improvements for 2018
One of the main reasons why messaging will dominate in 2018 and beyond is that it keeps getting better and better.
Messenger saw a lot of growth in 2017 and this year, and it’s expected to do the same.
David Marcus, VP of messaging products and head of Facebook Messenger, recently shared what we should be watching out for in 2018.
One of the key takeaways is that Facebook will declutter Messenger this year.
They’re going to simplify the app because some of the features haven’t found a market fit.
It’s good because sometimes the simplest things are the best.
People just want things to be easy, let’s be honest.
“When we interact with apps or websites, we have a particular goal. And usually, the less effort we spend on achieving this goal, the better experience.”
When Facebook simplifies Messenger, people will be able to achieve their goals much faster, thus improving customer satisfaction.
Marcus also predicts that “visual messaging will fully explode in 2018; people will expect a super fast and intuitive camera, video, images, GIFs, and stickers with almost every conversation.”
This is excellent news for marketers. Because we all know the importance of visual marketing.
Over 90% of marketers use visuals in more than half of their articles.
The reason why visuals are so important to marketers is that people are much more likely to retain information if visuals are involved.
If a person hears something, the likelihood they’ll remember the information in three days is 10%.
But if a picture is included, the likelihood they’ll remember the info in three days jumps to 65%.
It’s safe to say then that marketers will be able to use the prediction of visuals exploding on Messenger to their advantage.
Finally, Marcus states that big brands are now using Messenger as a marketing channel.
For example, LEGO.
And, Katy Perry.
And, lastly, Apple Music.
And this validates the use of Messenger for marketing.
CMOs are beginning to accept Messenger as the new go-to channel for marketing and communication.
Reduced Cost of Lead Generation
Lead generation isn’t easy.
63% of companies say their biggest marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads.
But perhaps it’s such a challenge because they’re using outdated methods.
Typically, companies use lead generation forms to collect email addresses.
And they get people to fill them in using an offer of premium content.
The subscriber is then in their sales funnel.
But this might not be the most effective or the most efficient method of generating leads anymore.
Let’s take a look at a case study from HubSpot.
HubSpot previously used Facebook ads to drive traffic to an interesting piece of content on a landing page.
Users filled out the form to access the content.
They also received a follow-up email with a PDF containing the content. You know the drill.
But HubSpot realized that capturing leads this way meant that users had to leave Facebook to get their content.
So instead they experimented with having people share their personal details on Facebook Messenger.
Users answered the questions within Messenger and received their link within Messenger.
This had excellent results for HubSpot: a 477% reduction in their cost per lead, while lead quality only slightly decreased.
That’s a huge cost reduction.
So surely, experimenting with lead generation through Facebook Messenger is a no-brainer.
HubSpot says, “It might take a little muscle to build a Facebook Messenger bot to collect lead information, but the effort is well worth it. Use Facebook ads plus Messenger as a powerful one-two punch.”
You can emulate HubSpot’s success by creating Click-to-Messenger ads.
The call to action sends users to messenger instead of your website.
So all you need to do is change the destination of your ad to Messenger:
You can enter your initial message manually.
Or leave the text field blank if you’re using automated messages.
All in all, a simple switch to capturing leads through Messenger could reduce the cost of lead generation.
As more marketers catch on, the use of Messenger as a marketing channel will soar.
As people now use messaging more than social media, companies will focus on this channel for their marketing activities.
Instant messaging is powerful. Its effects have already been seen in China.
The mass adoption of WeChat is a good indicator that similar could happen with Facebook Messenger around the globe.
Messenger will likely become the primary channel for outbound marketing.
People spend the most time online on their mobiles. So open rates are better than those for email.
Furthermore, Facebook has developed an on-site plugin for Messenger.
This makes it even easier for sites to make use of it.
And Messenger gets better year on year. It will be more useful to marketers than ever before.
Finally, there’s a good chance you can reduce the cost of lead generation using Facebook Messenger.
Everyone wants to save money, meaning everyone will want to jump on board.
Does your business use messaging as its primary marketing channel?
Because it’s time to consider it.