tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/messaging Latest Messaging content from Econsultancy 2016-10-28T11:40:50+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68458 2016-10-28T11:40:50+01:00 2016-10-28T11:40:50+01:00 Why chatbots are an important opportunity for retailers Bart Mroz <p dir="ltr">This is huge. As of February of this year, Facebook Messenger <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/417295/facebook-messenger-monthly-active-users/">surpassed 1bn</a> monthly active users, and WhatsApp <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/260819/number-of-monthly-active-whatsapp-users/">hit that same mark</a> in July.</p> <p dir="ltr">For many years messaging platforms like these were void of brand or business integration opportunities, aside from general brand awareness and customer engagement.</p> <p dir="ltr">After all, even the world’s largest corporations don’t have the resources that would be needed to personally engage in conversations with millions of individual consumers simultaneously. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0885/chatbots.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="519"></p> <p dir="ltr">At least, that <em>was</em> true. But in the past several months, everything has changed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now that Facebook opened its platform to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">chatbots</a>, companies have tremendous new opportunities not just to interact with consumers on massive scale.</p> <p dir="ltr">They can now transact as well — directly and in real time.   </p> <h3 dir="ltr">A mobile-driven opportunity</h3> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67767-will-conversational-marketing-become-a-reality-in-2016/">Conversational commerce</a> opens up new opportunities for retail brands to tap into the strong growth that we’re already seeing in <a href="https://www.internetretailer.com/2015/08/18/mobile-commerce-now-30-all-us-e-commerce">mobile commerce, a growth that amounted to 29.7% last year</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">With such large growth, brands should be selling to consumers through any app, especially those that are used most frequently, such as messaging.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now that brands are free to enter messaging channels across nearly all major platforms, they can engage consumers one-on-one in the places where they already spend large amounts of time and create new buying opportunities. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">The race begins</h3> <p dir="ltr">Since the playing field is so new, best practices are still in flux, but a number of brands have quickly jumped on this opportunity and experimented with the channel.</p> <p dir="ltr">One example is <a href="http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/messaging/22588.html">H&amp;M</a>, which created a chatbot that suggests various outfits to users and directs them to buy through the messaging platform.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/13/12170682/pizza-hut-chatbot-catch-up">Pizza Hut</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68184-domino-s-introduces-dom-the-pizza-bot-for-facebook-messenger/">Domino's</a> are also testing out chat commerce by allowing customers to select and order pizzas through a few text-based commands.</p> <p dir="ltr">So now it’s easier than ever to get dinner while chatting with friends at the same time.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Enabling frictionless shopping</h3> <p dir="ltr">What do all these new chat-based shopping options mean for consumers?</p> <p dir="ltr">For one, it’s way easier to purchase products now, because the number of steps has been cut down.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>A conversation with the Domino's Pizza chatbot</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0887/dom_pizzabot.png" alt="" width="750" height="516"></p> <p dir="ltr">Instead of thinking about a purchase, navigating to a mobile app or website, finding the exact product you want, and then entering payment information — you simply open a conversation in your messenger app (which you were probably using already) and type what you’re looking for.</p> <p dir="ltr">Instantly, you see relevant products and have the ability to buy. The transaction friction of old is now greatly reduced. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">Tools for creation</h3> <p dir="ltr">Ready to take the plunge? There are already a number of different platforms that brands can use to create commerce-enabled chatbots.</p> <p dir="ltr">Which one to use depends on your objective and how complex you want the experience to be.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.mrchatbot.com/">Mr. Chatbot</a> is a chatbot platform that easily integrates with Facebook Messenger.</p> <p dir="ltr">All your customers have to do is send a message to your Facebook page and they’ll automatically receive information about your store and its products through a chatbot.</p> <p dir="ltr">For brands wanting a more integrated approach that resides on a pre-existing website, a more customizable platform might be better.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.botcommerce.io/">Botcommerce</a> integrates with Magento and Shopify-based sites directly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Its chatbot capabilities have built-in features (e.g. custom welcome messages, order status updates, tracking number requests, and simple FAQ searches) that are similar to that of a full ecommerce site.</p> <p dir="ltr">There are also plenty of other bot platforms like <a href="http://msg.ai/">Msg.ai</a> that don’t enable direct transactions but still guide shoppers through the search and discovery stage of the journey.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Improvements to come</h3> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to providing shopping capabilities, these first generation conversational commerce experiences are pretty okay.</p> <p dir="ltr">But by virtue of their newness, there’s lots of room for improvement and innovation. </p> <p dir="ltr">Chatbots are more than just information-providing, transactional computer programs. They offer companies the opportunity to create a personality that reinforces the brand.</p> <p dir="ltr">The deeper the relationship that a chatbot can create with the consumer, the the more likely she or he is to accept product suggestions, thereby increasing the average basket size.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, there aren’t many chatbots that infuse commerce capabilities with authentic and engaging personalities.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://imperson.com/">Imperson</a> doesn’t yet enable commerce but is the current leader in creating personality-driven chatbots, and the company has extensive experience working with some of the entertainment industry’s most famous personalities like <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/chat-bots-could-make-facebook-money-2016-1">Miss Piggy</a> and <a href="http://digiday.com/brands/great-scott-doc-brown-facebook-messenger-talk-future/">Doc Brown</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr">Introducing realistic personalities such as these boosts brands’ rapport with their constituents, who in turn become more comfortable transacting en masse through the messaging platform.</p> <p dir="ltr">Personality is the missing piece in ecommerce transactions, and now is the perfect time to start experimenting with it.</p> <p dir="ltr">The brands that create connections are the ones that will come out on top.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">In conclusion...</h3> <p dir="ltr">Messaging platforms and the retail industry are now being revolutionized with the advent of conversational commerce.</p> <p dir="ltr">The playing field has not been defined yet but as more and more people get used to transacting on chat, we’ll see a plethora of new and exciting chatbots.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is the time to get in, to be an early adopter, to write the rules and blaze the trail of chatbots.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68415 2016-10-14T11:26:53+01:00 2016-10-14T11:26:53+01:00 The low-down on Facebook Marketplace: Is it any good? Nikki Gilliland <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0303/notification.PNG" alt="" width="640" height="219"></p> <p>While people have been buying and selling on the platform for a while, the activity previously took place within separate Facebook Groups. </p> <p>Now aiming to streamline the process, as well as open up items to millions more users, Facebook is hoping its marketplace will rival the likes of Craigslist and eBay.</p> <p>So, is it any good?</p> <p>And more to the point, will anyone actually use it?</p> <p>Here’s a closer look.</p> <h3>How does it work?</h3> <p>The premise of Facebook Marketplace is pretty simple, and like the rest of the app, it is pretty easy to use.</p> <p>If your location service is enabled, on entering the marketplace you will automatically be shown what people are selling nearest to you.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0306/buy_and_sell.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <p>The top header is split into sell, categories, search and 'your items' - where you can view anything you have bid on or are selling.</p> <p>The amount of categories is quite vast, with everything from bikes to books on offer.</p> <p>There's even a classifieds section for housing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0307/categories.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <p>Since the launch of the app, there's been a lot in the press about people using the app to sell drugs and other dodgy stuff.</p> <p>While I've not come across anything too bad, I have seen a few strange items, including the recent trend of selling the new £5 note.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0308/five_pounds.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <p>If anything, this just shows how easy the feature is to use.</p> <p>It only takes a few minutes to set up an item to sell, so, naturally people are also using it as a solution for their own boredom.</p> <h3>How easy is it to buy and sell?</h3> <p>To find out just how simple it is, I decided to sell a rather charming backgammon set.</p> <p>I managed to post it within the space of about two minutes.</p> <p>I took a snap, included a description as well as my location, and that was that. As easy as updating your status or posting a photo.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0309/selling.PNG" alt="" width="250"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0310/ted_baker_set.PNG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>Nobody has responded just yet, though I can see how many people have viewed the item. </p> <p>Buying - or at least bidding on something - is just as easy.</p> <p>Clicking onto any item, you are met with the seller's location as well as a very basic profile.</p> <p>Here you can ask questions about the sale or place a bid.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0311/location.PNG" alt="" width="250"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0312/profile.PNG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>At this point, it is entirely left up to the buyer and seller to negotiate the final details.</p> <p>There is no involvement from Facebook about how you pay or collect the items, meaning the process involves quite a bit of negotiation in Messenger.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0313/notifications.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <h3>Will people use it?</h3> <p>As well as issues relating to privacy and safety, the main issue about Facebook Marketplace is whether people will actually follow through with purchases.</p> <p>Without an in-built payment feature, users are more likely to abandon items. </p> <p>Having this option would also encourage more spontaneous buying as well as take away the negotiation aspect.</p> <p>Without it, the experience has the potential to become frustrating and less than clear-cut.</p> <p>Another feature it could definitely do with is some sort of review system.</p> <p>As it stands, users can only see what items a person is selling - there is no indication of how successful or reliable they actually are.</p> <p>On the flip side, there is also nothing to reassure sellers that a potential buyer is not leading them on.</p> <p>All in all, it feels like a bit of a gamble.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>If Facebook figures out the aforementioned issues, Facebook Marketplace has great potential to disrupt the likes of Craiglist and eBay.</p> <p>The real-time element, combined with the unbeatable convenience of living inside the app itself, means that it could easily become the first port of call for buying and selling locally.</p> <p>Until then, you know where to go if you're in the market for a £5 note.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68196 2016-08-18T01:00:00+01:00 2016-08-18T01:00:00+01:00 The latest messaging app unicorn: India's Hike Jeff Rajeck <p>But now India has its own homegrown messaging app, Hike.</p> <p>Hike has recently been in the news as the company just received a whopping $175m in investment from WeChat's parent, Tencent, and iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn.  </p> <p><strong>This investment values Hike at $1.4bn</strong>, firmly pushing the company into unicorn territory.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8090/banner.png" alt="" width="523" height="226"></p> <h3>Hike's origins</h3> <p>Originally launched in December 2012 (12/12/12), Hike was set up as a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Softbank.  </p> <p>Its founder and CEO is a young, outspoken entrepreneur, Kavin Bharti Mittal.  </p> <p>Mittal's father, Sunil Bharti Mittal, founded India's largest telco, Bharti Airtel, and is, consequently, one of India's richest men.</p> <p>Hike's background and subsequent funding means that Hike not only has deep pockets, but it also has strong telco industry connections in India.  </p> <p>Because of this, it is likely that the messaging app will gain marketshare and continue to be a strong challenger in the country for some time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8091/2016-08-17_12_07_13-blank.pptx_-_PowerPoint.png" alt="" width="538" height="301"></p> <p>Also interesting is that Hike has been able to attract Western investment, sponsorship and talent to its advisory board.  </p> <p>Quora, WordPress, and Dropbox have been confirmed as investors in the app and PepsiCo, Amazon, Unilever, and Zynga are partnered with the app.  </p> <p>Additionally, Crunchbase lists Quora founder Adam D'Angelo and Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg as members of Hike's board and advisors.</p> <h3>The Hike app</h3> <p>Hike offers many of the features we have grown to expect in messaging apps: chat, free voice calls, filesharing, and the now nearly ubiquitous stickers.</p> <p>The company also emphasizes that <strong>Hike works well in a slow internet environment (2G and 3G)</strong> and users can contact friends not already on Hike via SMS.  </p> <p>This is particularly important in India where mobile internet connectivity lags many other countries and those who are online often experience slow internet speeds.</p> <p>To help its financially-challenged user base, Hike also offers a limited number of free SMS messages to its members.  </p> <p>Users get some free SMS just for joining, but are able to earn more by inviting others and spending more time using the app.</p> <p>SMSs have to be sent via the app, natch.</p> <h3>Hike's numbers</h3> <p>Though Hike does not report monthly active users, it has regularly given updates about the growth of its userbase and usage statistics.</p> <p>The latest figures are from January 2016, when Hike announced that it had 100m users who, collectively, send 40bn messages per month.</p> <p>Hike's users are also overwhelming Indian (95%) and (heads up marketers) <strong>90% are under the age of 30.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8092/2016-08-17_12_08_15-blank.pptx_-_PowerPoint.png" alt="" width="521" height="316"></p> <h3>Trying out Hike</h3> <p>Though mostly used in India, Hike is available worldwide through Google Play (Android) and the App Store (iOS).</p> <p>App registration is straightforward and fairly typical of messaging apps these days. You give Hike your phone number, it texts you a code, and you're pretty much done.</p> <p>Once registered, you simply allow it to snoop through your phonebook and the app adds your contacts who are already on Hike to the app.</p> <p>Using it is simply a matter of updating your profile, posting updates, and initiating private chats or calls with your friends. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8093/hike-messenger-L.jpg" alt="" width="465" height="310"></p> <p>Hike also offers integrated apps for users in India such as news, games, coupons, and a carpooling app.  </p> <h3>Hidden chats</h3> <p>One interesting feature is that Hike lets you 'hide' chats using 'Hidden Mode'.  In order to see hidden chats afterwards, Hike requires that users enter a pre-set passcode.  </p> <p>Hike can also delete all hidden chats upon exit, offering extra protection for the security conscious.</p> <p>Apparently this feature attracts young adults in India to allow them to chat whilst being observed by overbearing parents.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8094/hidden.png" alt="" width="400" height="286"></p> <p>This feature, along with the integrated apps, distinguishes Hike from WhatsApp and has helped it build up its user numbers quickly.</p> <h3>What does Hike mean for marketers?</h3> <h4>1. Messaging is going local</h4> <p>Whereas at one time it seemed like one or two players could dominate globally, <strong>the messaging app market is now looking like a multi-horse race.</strong></p> <p>China, Japan, Korea, and now India all have their own chat apps along with the investment dollars necessary to play the long game.</p> <p>Also, <strong>it would not be wise to underestimate how these apps can benefit from patriotic tendencies</strong>.  </p> <p>Given the choice of equals, we may find that people are more prone to use apps which originate from and benefit their home countries.</p> <p>Ultimately, this means that global marketers should become familiar with the functionality, nuances, and reach of these homegrown apps.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8095/Hike-Messenger-App.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="274"></p> <h4>2. Messaging apps are not as sticky as once thought</h4> <p>You can argue that Hike offers no new messaging features for consumers (besides that cool Hidden Mode), but that is missing the point.</p> <p>Sure, people in various countries could use one of Facebook's apps, but <strong>there is clearly a trend favoring these new upstarts.</strong></p> <p>Additionally, slick apps with lots of features seem to be much easier for local markets to imitate than was previously thought. Even the intricate Snapchat <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68144-five-things-you-should-know-about-snow-asia-s-snapchat/">now has local competition in China</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it seems that <strong>the 'stickiness' of network effects are not as strong as most suspected</strong>.</p> <p>Apps with critical mass in one demographic in a market can indeed be overtaken by another who can reach the younger demographic.  </p> <p>We have heard this about Snapchat in the West, this may now be true for Hike in India.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8097/Hike_messenger.jpg" alt="" width="459" height="306"></p> <h4>3. Marketers now need to know another platform</h4> <p>Just last year, it all seemed so easy. Get up to speed on Google, Facebook, and maybe Twitter and the world was your (marketing) oyster.</p> <p>Now, things are different. Many markets are now in the process of adopting a new messaging platform and so marketers with a global focus have some catching up to do.</p> <p>(For subscribers, Econsultancy helpfully offers 2016 guides on the digital landscape in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-china-digital-report">China</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-japan-digital-report">Japan</a>.)</p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>There is no doubt about it.  The $175m investment at a $1.4bn valuation has put Hike on the messaging map.</p> <p>Though the app offers very little in new features, Hike is experiencing massive growth in India and is now a significant part of India's digital future.  </p> <p>Its founder's ties to the telecom industry in India is further evidence that Hike is not going away any time soon.</p> <p>So, for those who are marketing in India or plan to do so in the future, meet your new platform - Hike.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4207 2016-07-27T21:00:00+01:00 2016-07-27T21:00:00+01:00 The Japan Digital Report <p><strong>The Japan Digital Report</strong> aims to provide background for marketers who are outside of Japan and currently marketing in Japan, thinking of launching a campaign there, or even just curious about the country and its digital landscape.</p> <p>Additionally, the report provides detailed information about marketing on LINE, the most culturally significant digital platform in Japan presently.</p> <p>Through the data, the charts and the commentary, the report will help marketers looking to make a case for investing more in the country and provide a foundation for further research.</p> <h2>Topics covered include:</h2> <ul> <li> <strong>Demographics.</strong> How does Japan compare to the rest of the world?</li> <li> <strong>Digital readiness.</strong> What is the current state of internet and mobile technology in the country?</li> <li> <strong>Digital landscape.</strong> What are the main web, social, search, video and ecommerce sites in the country, and how do they operate?</li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67894 2016-06-01T14:41:28+01:00 2016-06-01T14:41:28+01:00 What are chatbots and why should marketers care? Nikki Gilliland <p>But hold the iPhone, Zuckerberg. Before you get us all excited about something we didn’t even know we needed...</p> <p>What exactly are chatbots? And with brands like Uber, Skyscanner and Amazon already getting in on the act, why does it spell such big news for marketers?</p> <p>Here’s a run-down of everything you need to know.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5458/chatbot.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="519"></p> <h3>Chatbot basics   </h3> <p>Chatbot technology is certainly not a new concept. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/09/what-is-the-alan-turing-test">The Turing test</a> has been around since the 1950s, and artificial intelligence programs have been around for decades. </p> <p>With the likes of Siri and Cortana, we’re all fairly comfortable with the concept of digital assistants.</p> <p>The difference with chatbots is that they are specifically designed to replicate human interaction. </p> <p>Essentially a mini interface within a messaging app, the idea is that the user is able to interact with a chatbot just as they would any other contact in a phone.</p> <p>Instead of a one-sided question and answer format, increased intelligence allows the chatbot to change the subject, suggest related topics, and even demonstrate humour and emotion.</p> <p>Whether it is a customer enquiry about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66158-how-do-10-top-uk-retailers-present-returns-information/">delivery and returns</a>, or a more specific service like ordering food or shopping, the user will essentially feel like they are talking to a human being rather than a faceless brand.</p> <h3>Benefits for the consumer</h3> <p>Since April 2014, Facebook Messenger has grown from 200m monthly users to a whopping 900m.</p> <p>This statistic shows just how much messaging apps have exploded in popularity, and also highlights a major shift in where people spend their time.</p> <p>Easy to use, convenient and user-friendly – messaging apps are no longer part of social media websites, but separate entities altogether.</p> <p>As a result, brands have now realised the potential of using messaging platforms to engage with and connect with audiences.</p> <p>Combined with the consumer’s growing desire for instant and one-on-one contact, chatbots look set to surpass platforms like Twitter for customer care.</p> <p>Instead of being put on hold or waiting on a website chat service, a chatbot will provide an instantaneous response. Consequently, one of the biggest benefits for the consumer is simply a much better overall experience.</p> <p>As well as greater communication, there’ll be no need to switch between apps. With chatbots living in our most-used platforms, it automatically offers a far more seamless and personalised experience. </p> <p>And as we are constantly hearing, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66576-why-make-it-personal-personalisation-vs-contextualisation/">personalisation (and contexualisation)</a> are both incredibly powerful tools.</p> <p>Using specific and increasingly personalised data to interact with the consumer, chatbots aim to create a bond that most brands can only achieve after years of loyalty.</p> <h3>Benefits for brands</h3> <p>Where brands might have struggled to entice an audience to download and use a separate app, consumers are far likelier to use a chatbot service that’s part of an app they already use (e.g. Facebook Messenger).</p> <p>As a result, the marketers job will become far easier.</p> <p>Alongside capitalising on the time we now spend in apps, the benefits also include much greater control. </p> <p>With brands struggling to keep up with a multitude of platforms, chatbots will enable a more streamlined approach as well as access to increased amounts of data.</p> <p>As the likes of Slack and Kik show, consumers are using messaging apps in different locations, contexts, and for varying reasons. Rather conveniently, a chatbot can cover all bases.</p> <p>What's more, as well as being a benefit for the user, increased personalisation means that marketers will be able to connect and relate to the target audience like never before. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5459/Facebook_Messenger.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="431"></p> <h3>Four examples of chatbots</h3> <p>Being able to answer customer queries isn’t the only reason for brands to set up chatbots. As the following examples show, the technology can be used for a variety of reasons. </p> <p>Here are just a few of the best to pop up so far.</p> <h4><strong>1. Skyscanner</strong></h4> <p>The first price-comparison tool to introduce a bot, Skyscanner now enables users to enquire about flights inside Facebook Messenger.</p> <p>Directing you to the Skycanner website when you want to book, it aims to increase convenience and jazz up an otherwise boring task.</p> <h4><strong>2. Foursquare</strong></h4> <p>Offering contextually aware and proactive recommendations for restaurants, cafés and bars, Foursquare's <a href="http://blog.foursquare.com/post/144872708248/introducing-marsbot">Marsbot</a> doesn’t advertise itself as a chatbot per se.</p> <p>Instead of answering questions, it claims to give you the answers before you even ask. </p> <p>With its chat-style interface, it still utilises the same technology.</p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5476/marsbot.png" alt="" width="220" height="361"></strong></p> <h4><strong>3. TacoBot</strong></h4> <p>Integrated into Slack and Messenger, <a href="https://www.tacobell.com/feed/tacobot">TacoBot</a> enables users to place an order at Taco Bell without even walking away from their device. </p> <p>With fun quirks like adding a glass of water to an order if you say you’re drunk – this bot is designed to be humorous as well as convenient.</p> <h4><strong>4. Luka</strong></h4> <p>Available as an app, <a href="https://luka.ai/">Luka</a> is a brand new type of chatbot. A messaging service like WhatsApp, it allows you to talk to friends as well as Luka (your go-to guy for recommendations on food). </p> <p>Alongside this, Luka is starting to introduce other bots into the platform, providing you with the right one for weather, gifs, news, or whatever it is you want to know.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5477/luka.png" alt="" width="483" height="641"></p> <h3>The dangers</h3> <p>Despite the hoopla, let’s not forget that chatbots do come with a certain amount of risk attached.</p> <p>You might recall Microsoft’s Taybot – an <a href="http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/03/25/learning-tays-introduction/#sm.000rhejaq16yoecht7n10up3nc2v6">experiment that ended in disaster</a> when the bot tweeted racist remarks and drug references after learning the behaviour from internet pranksters.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5461/TayBot.PNG" alt="" width="640" height="403"></p> <p>For marketers, the perseverance of online trolls is not the only danger.</p> <p>Of course it is wise to implement language filters (something Microsoft seemingly forgot), but programming automatic safeguards is not all there is to it. With many chatbots relying on human interaction to develop, a resistance or cynicism towards the service could result in many failing to work.</p> <p>With its cringe-worthy tone and use of millennial slang, Taybot was criticised for being a desperate and patronising attempt at pandering to young people. </p> <p>The question Microsoft failed to ask itself was - what if young people don’t want to be spoken to in this way? </p> <p>What if we don’t all share Zuckerberg’s desire to make brands our friends?</p> <p>The difference between technology aiding our lives and taking over our lives is a fine line for some.</p> <p>Regardless, there’s no denying that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67767-will-conversational-marketing-become-a-reality-in-2016/">conversational marketing <em>is</em> becoming an increasing reality.</a> For brands, the key is going to be finding out how to use it in smart and relevant ways. </p> <p>There’s bound to be a few more bad examples of chatbots to come – but as the tech improves and strategies become slicker, the future certainly looks chatty.</p> <p><em>Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein will be giving a talk on chatbots at our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/events/future-of-digital-marketing-london/">Future of Digital Marketing conference</a> in London on June 7th.</em></p> <p><em>Watch this video to find out more.</em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nwh_g5mtnoA?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67551 2016-02-22T14:51:25+00:00 2016-02-22T14:51:25+00:00 Private messaging is social's next big ad frontier Patricio Robles <p><a href="http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/18/facebook-messenger-ads/">According to</a> a document obtained by TechCrunch, Facebook plans to bring ads to Messenger, its messaging app, in the second quarter of the year:</p> <blockquote> <p>The document...says businesses will be able to send ads as messages to people who previously initiated a chat thread with that company. To prepare, the document recommends that businesses get consumers to start message threads with them now so they'll be able to send them ads when the feature launches.</p> <p>The document also notes that Facebook has quietly launched a URL short link fb.com/msg/ that instantly opens a chat thread with a business. Facebook confirmed the existence of the URL short link functionality. That seems to back up the validity of the leaked document.</p> </blockquote> <p>Those short links are already active and available to all Pages. According to TechCrunch's Josh Constine and Jon Russell, Facebook is already working with a number of brands, including Canadian telecom provider Rogers, to use the short links for customer service use cases.</p> <p>Interestingly, according to the document they obtained, "If businesses achieve a 90 percent response rate to messages within 24 hours over the past week, their Messenger handle will become searchable on Facebook."</p> <p>What isn't clear at this point is what Messenger ads will look like and what restrictions Facebook will place on their use beyond limiting ads to users they've interacted with previously.</p> <p>Ostensibly there will be some restrictions designed to ensure that overzealous businesses don't bombard users with unwanted ads. </p> <p><em>For more on this, read: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67553-what-will-facebook-messenger-ads-mean-for-marketers/">What will Facebook Messenger ads mean for marketers?</a></em></p> <h3>Twitter joining the messaging wars?</h3> <p>While Facebook appears to be prepping to make Messenger more business-friendly, Twitter looks like it is preparing to make its service more messaging-oriented and business-friendly as well.</p> <p>On Thursday, in an effort to better support customer service use cases, Twitter <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/2016/making-customer-service-even-better-on-twitter">announced</a> that it has launched the ability to add deep links to tweets that initiate Direct Messages.</p> <p>To enable this feature, a business must update its privacy settings to allow Direct Messages from all users.</p> <p>After that, deep links can be added to tweets by adding a link with the format <em>https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id={numeric user ID}</em></p> <p>In addition, Twitter announced a new feature, Customer Feedback, that gives businesses the opportunity to poll users after a customer service interaction.</p> <p>Initially set to launch with select partners, Twitter hopes that Customer Feedback will help brands obtain quantitative data about these interactions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2122/NPSFeedbackhalf.gif" alt="" width="199" height="353"></p> <p>"Care teams have told us they love the open-ended feedback they get from people via Tweets and Direct Messages, but they also need the ability to survey customers in a structured way to better measure and improve their service experience," Twitter product manager Ian Cairns explained.</p> <blockquote> <p>With this feature, businesses will be able to use two industry standard question formats: Net Promoter ScoreSM (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).</p> </blockquote> <h3>How will users react?</h3> <p>While there is no disputing the fact that large numbers of consumers are using social channels for customer service, and are interacting with brands generally on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it's not clear that they'll welcome the growing commercialization of messaging experiences that are largely personal today.</p> <p>Facebook in particular could be courting a backlash by introducing ads to Messenger.</p> <p>WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, who joined Facebook's board of directors after <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67536-three-dark-social-channels-with-a-billion-active-users-how-to-use-them/">WhatsApp</a> was acquired by Facebook for more than $19bn, previously voiced opposition to ads.</p> <p>So did Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who stated, "I don't personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging" after his company bought WhatsApp.</p> <p>But with <a href="http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/01/heres-to-2016-with-messenger/">more than 800m</a> active users each month, it's going to be increasingly difficult for Facebook to ignore Messenger's ad monetization opportunities.</p> <p>Of course, if Facebook doesn't tread carefully as it explores these, and users revolt, it could make it more difficult for businesses to use Facebook to provide customer service.</p> <p>After all, if people become aware of the fact that their customer service interactions are what allow for ads to be delivered to them via Messenger later, they might avoid using Facebook for customer service altogether.</p> <p>Another possibility is that social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and their business users, will find ways to embed ads in messaging experiences in ways that don't turn users off.</p> <p>For inspiration, they might look to the East, where popular Chinese messenger apps <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat">like WeChat</a> are much advanced when it comes to monetization.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66952 2015-09-25T14:30:00+01:00 2015-09-25T14:30:00+01:00 How brands can build brilliant customer relationships Jen Todd Gray <p>Consumers have endless choices and only open their wallets for the brands they really love, ones they feel they can relate to, and ones they feel care about them. </p> <p>With this in mind, it’s important for marketers to start thinking less as big companies and more as friends of their customers.</p> <p>Formal language is long gone, ads are featuring 'normal people' and in-store employees are working with shoppers by name.</p> <p>This is a transition that consumers are welcoming, and we’re only continuing to see more brands jumping on board.</p> <p>The brand-consumer relationship is growing closer; in order to stand out, you better buddy up.</p> <h3><strong>Speak their language</strong></h3> <p>To relate to customers, it’s a wise idea to familiarize yourself with 'what the kids are sayin' and how they’re saying it.</p> <p>Recently, brands have been doing this in spades. IHOP’s “Pancakes on fleek” was the tweet heard round the world, cementing the brand’s reputation as charming, funny and relatable.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Pancakes on fleek.</p> — IHOP (@IHOP) <a href="https://twitter.com/IHOP/status/524606157110120448">October 21, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>Taco Bell’s Twitter operates similarly, engaging with consumers on any and all topics. What sets Taco Bell apart from how brands have operated on social historically is a willingness to interact on topics beyond just customer service (the norm for many other brands on the platform). Taco Bell tweets at you like your best friend would. </p> <p>Also, Chevy shook up how we view press releases earlier this year, when they issued a news release published entirely in emoji.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7314/_ChevyGoesEmoji.png" alt="" width="658" height="806"></p> <p>As a marketer, it’s understood that press releases won’t get your news in front of your customers, but with Chevy’s foray into emojis, not only did customers take notice of their new vehicle, but it put Chevy on the map as a fun, approachable brand.</p> <h3><strong>Showcase your customers</strong></h3> <p>Marketers realize that in order to appeal to customers, those customers have to be able to imagine themselves using your brand. It sounds simple, but the execution can be difficult.</p> <p>Instead, take a page from brands like Gap, Dove and Apple and put your customers front and center, spotlighting them in your marketing.</p> <p>Gap Casting Call allowed parents to submit photos of their children for a chance to have them included in Gap’s campaigns.</p> <p>Dove has been highly celebrated for eschewing typical models in its Real Beauty campaign and instead featuring everyday women with a variety of body types, a move that has solidified it as a beloved brand, celebrating its customers of all shapes and sizes.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XpaOjMXyJGk?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>Another way to show your customer appreciation is to spotlight how customers engage with your brand. Apple replaced its usual ads with photos taken by everyday users on the iPhone. By highlighting users by name, consumers feel closer to the brand and appreciated for their talents.</p> <h3><strong>Have a hospitality mentality</strong></h3> <p>Many of the most elite hotels, resorts and restaurants are well known for the personal touches they impart on the customer experience.</p> <p>Greeting a guest by name without an introduction, remembering personal preferences and catering to special requests are all par for the course in the hospitality industry, and offer lessons for marketers of all brands.</p> <p>In order to win extra points and ultimately brand loyalty with your customers, it’s all about improvingthe experience you’re delivering.</p> <p>For instance, when shopping at retail stores, many brands have in-store associates introduce themselves and then refer to customers by name throughout the shopping process.</p> <p>Personal styling service StitchFix sends a personalized letter with each shipment, explaining why each piece in the package was selected specifically for you.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7315/Stitch-Fix.png" alt="" width="930" height="538"></p> <p>Online, algorithms like the ones Amazon has become famous for, offer suggestions for customers based on his or her prior purchases. These sorts of personal touches make consumers feel cared for individually, rather than just being one in a sea of other shoppers.</p> <p>We know that consumers expect more from the brands they know. They expect personality, attention, respect, and appreciation. With this in mind, brands will need to rise to the occasion to emerge on top.</p> <p>In fact, advancements in technology may be the key to truly drilling down on how to properly care for consumers.</p> <p>Imagine a world where we can offer unique greetings and product recommendations to each customer, both online and in-store automatically.</p> <p>While we wait for this to be the ultimate in delivering an uber-personalized experience, much is possible now through learning about your consumers through gathering their preferences and communicating to them through your app, iBeacons on location and personalized communications via wearables.</p> <p>It’s wise to look into your own marketing strategy and ensure you’re delivering on these customer experience expectations at every junction.</p> <p><em>You can learn even more about engaging customers on social at our two day <a href="http://ecly.co/1EmHi7L">Festival of Marketing</a> event in November. Book your ticket today and head to the Social stage to learn how to manage brand perception and reach new audiences.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66824 2015-08-19T09:20:00+01:00 2015-08-19T09:20:00+01:00 Key social media statistics from Ofcom's Communications Market Report James Ellis <p>Ofcom’s data shows the prevalence of social media in daily life, with 72% of adult internet users having a social media profile.</p> <p>As with other trends it becomes more pronounced the younger the audience: 93% of 16-24 year olds have at least one social media profile. </p> <p>Facebook remains by far the largest social media property in the UK, and has developed its ‘constellation’ of apps through its acquisitions of Whatsapp and Instagram, and the development of Facebook Messenger. </p> <p>Young adults aged 16-24 have a more extensive breadth of use of social media and are adopting newer sites and services such as Twitter (40%), WhatsApp (37%), YouTube (32%), Instagram (35%), Snapchat (26%), Tumblr (8%) and Vine (4%).</p> <p>However, the majority (97%) of all adults aged 16+ with a social media profile say they use Facebook, and close to half (48%) of those with a profile say they have one only on Facebook.</p> <p>Facebook is also used most on a daily basis across all adults, with 20% of adults saying they use it more than 10 times a day. </p> <p>Aside from being the most popular social media site, Facebook is also used most intensively for any web property across all adults.</p> <h3>Frequency of use</h3> <p>In March 2015, UK visitors to Facebook’s services spent 51bnn minutes on them across desktop, laptop and mobile devices. In contrast, the multiplatform audience spent 34bn minutes on Google’s properties.  </p> <p>The usage profile changes considerably with age.</p> <p>For a much younger audience of 12-15 year olds, Snapchat is the most intensively used social app, with nearly a quarter (24%) of the audience saying they use it more than 10 times a day.</p> <p>Facebook properties still feature very highly, with 50% of the audience saying they use it two or more times a day, and Instagram and Whatsapp being the third and fifth most used apps respectively. </p> <h3>Twitter</h3> <p>Although Twitter does not feature highly for the youngest audience surveyed, it is popular with older audiences having the second biggest digital audience after Facebook, with 26% of the adult population having an account. </p> <p>This rises to two-fifths (40%) among younger adults aged 16-24. More than half of Twitter users (56%) use it daily, and one in 10 (11%) use it more than 10 times a day. </p> <p>Among the 40% of online adults who claim to use Twitter, the majority of them (90%) have created an account.</p> <p>Apart from retweeting, news is the topic that people are most likely to tweet about, with a third (33%) doing this. </p> <p>This is followed by complaints or frustrations, with a quarter (24%) tweeting about this.</p> <p>Younger people seem to be much more comfortable using Twitter, with 34% of 16-24 year olds using Twitter to voice complaints/frustrations.</p> <h3>Hooked on social media</h3> <p>As with mobile, people have become ‘hooked’ on social, with one in five online adults (22%) indicating a rating of between 7 and 10 on a 10-point scale (where 1 equated to ‘I’m not at all hooked on social media’ up to 10 ‘I’m completely hooked on social media’).</p> <p>Dependency on social media is correlated to age, with two in five (41%) 16-24 year olds giving a 7-10 ‘hooked on’ rating, falling to 6% among over-55s.</p> <p>The social media landscape has changed significantly since the early days of Facebook.</p> <p>This year’s Ofcom report shows that social is now practically synonymous with mobile, the three top downloaded apps in 2014 belong to Facebook, and the fourth was YouTube.</p> <p>With social replacing some traditional media behaviours, understanding social behaviour is crucial for marketers wanting to reach audiences.</p> <h3>For lots more up-to-date statistics…                                           </h3> <p>Download Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium/?utm_source=Econ%20Blog%20&amp;utm_medium=Blog&amp;utm_campaign=BLOGSTATS">Internet Statistics Compendium</a>, a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media.</p> <p>It’s updated monthly and covers 11 different topics from advertising, content, customer experience, mobile, ecommerce and social.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66668 2015-07-16T16:05:00+01:00 2015-07-16T16:05:00+01:00 Four ecommerce tech trends to watch in 2015 Jen Todd Gray <p>Although it's one of the most important times for driving revenue, the holiday season is difficult for brands to set themselves apart from competitors and connect with customers in meaningful ways. </p> <p>Therefore it’s important for marketers to harness emerging technology to drive customer engagement.</p> <p>From receipt validation to building sharable content, brands have more tools at their disposal than ever before as they prep their strategies for the biggest spending season of the year.</p> <p>Let’s take a look at how brands can use current technology trends to help them rise above the noise during December.</p> <h3><strong>Integrated wishlists</strong></h3> <p>Brands are making it easier than ever for customers to share their favorite finds with loved ones with wishlist functionality integrated into their websites, apps and social channels.</p> <p>Capitalizing on the success of social networks like Pinterest, brands need to allow customers to seamlessly share desired wishlist items across Twitter, Facebook and email, taking the guess work out of holiday shopping and drawing more eyes on (and directly to) company offerings.</p> <p>Amazon recently made headlines with its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64793-amazonbasket-is-it-anything-more-than-a-gimmick">Twitter integration</a>, which allows consumers to tweet their favorite items with a designated hashtag to have the product added to their Amazon Wish List. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iAm6pa9hPKA?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="300"></iframe></p> <h3><strong>Receipt validation</strong></h3> <p>Just because a brand made the sale doesn’t mean they should stop there.</p> <p>Brands must create ways throughout the holiday season to reward customers for their continued loyalty. Receipt validation in particular has grown easier than ever thanks to mobile integration.</p> <p>Customers can simply scan or upload photos of receipts of recent purchases for the chance to win prizes, earn rewards and more. This not only delights shoppers, but allows marketers to track consumer trends. </p> <p>Last January, Clorox invited customers to enter a $1,000 monthly sweepstakes by submitting a receipt showing purchases of two Clorox products. Customers could also win additional entries for daily site visits to keep the excitement going past the sale.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/5240/clorox_reciept.png" alt="" width="389" height="630"></p> <p>Validation campaigns like this heighten sales, provide opportunities to build CRM data, while using a 'chance-to-win' call-to-action to keeps brands top of mind.</p> <p>By inviting customers to submit receipts, brands are also presented with a plethora of customer data, allowing them to fine tune campaigns and product offerings.</p> <h3><strong>Apple Watch</strong></h3> <p>After much anticipation, the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66342-the-apple-watch-bringing-marketers-closer-to-customers-than-ever-before">Apple Watch made its debut in April</a>, allowing marketers unprecedented connections to their customers.</p> <p>Since then scores of brands have jumped onboard, creating apps that engage with customers on a hyper-personal level.</p> <p>Recently, Degree deodorant launched its Sweat This, Not That app, <a href="http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/advertising/20297.html">a 30-day fitness challenge for Watch OS</a> that invites consumers to complete personalized workouts each day.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/5241/fitness_app.jpg" alt="" width="420" height="525"></p> <p>Sporting goods brands can follow in Degree’s footsteps by prompting users to complete daily fitness routines in exchange for timely coupons and the chance to win a holiday shopping spree.</p> <h3><strong>Mobile countdowns and geolocation</strong></h3> <p>Mobile devices have given retailers accessibility to driving in-the-moment in store visits. Target’s Watch OS app allows users to build shopping lists on their Apple Watch and then guides them to items when in-store based on their current locations. A great idea to create themed holiday shopping lists and delight frazzled customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/5242/target.png" alt="" width="400" height="680"></p> <p>Brands can also utilize geolocation features by creating mobile countdowns to major holidays.</p> <p>Invite customers to visit stores to receive exclusive timely deals. Each day, share a new mobile coupon while customers are in-store. They have to be there to receive it!</p> <p>Select random days to supplement the campaign with text-to-win initiatives with prizes presented in certain day parts. By using geolocation to reward in-store shoppers with coupons, brands can direct shoppers to sections that may not be hot while driving excitement about the holiday shopping season.</p> <p>By thinking strategically about how emerging trends can play a role in seasonal outreach, marketers can continue to bridge the gap between brand and consumer and ensure that the holiday season is as merry as can be.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66486 2015-06-01T10:00:00+01:00 2015-06-01T10:00:00+01:00 Stats: The growing and enduring appeal of messaging apps Luke Richards <p>The app-related stats which jumped out at me this month, however, concern those from the messaging category.</p> <p>Key services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SnapChat are increasingly becoming household names, and I wanted to delve deeper into their growth and their ongoing appeal.</p> <h3><strong>Young people driving growth</strong></h3> <p><a title="Pew Internet Teenage Messaging App Use" href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/" target="_blank">Recent US-focused data from Pew Research Center</a> digs into the popularity of messaging apps among teenagers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3394/Mobile_northamericaapps_PewInternet_Apr_2015.png" alt="" width="318" height="746"></p> <p>Their research finds that 33% of teenage cell phone owners use messaging apps including WhatsApp and Kik. Girls are more likely to use them than boys (37% versus 29%) and those living in urban areas are more active in the category than suburban and rural dwellers.</p> <p>Additionally, <a title="ComScore Messaging Apps US" href="http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Market-Rankings/comScore-Reports-February-2015-US-Smartphone-Subscriber-Market-Share" target="_blank">recent data from comScore</a> highlights just how popular messaging apps are in the market overall. Facebook Messenger is the fifth most popular app in the country (reaching more than 51% of smartphone users) and Snapchat is the fifteenth most popular (reaching more than 19%).</p> <h3><strong>Messaging apps are connecting people in growth markets</strong></h3> <p>While messaging apps are clearly proving important to young people in the US, recent research from Ipsos and GlobalWebIndex looks at the popularity of these apps across the MENA and APAC regions respectively.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3395/Mobile_MENAapps_Ipsos_March_2015.png" alt="" width="747" height="435"></p> <p><a title="Ipsos MENA Gareth Deree Presentation" href="http://www.slideshare.net/IpsosMENA/digital-media-forum-2015" target="_blank">Ipsos data presented by Gareth Deree in March 2015</a> looks at key apps as used By MENA smartphone users throughout an average day.</p> <p>WhatsApp clearly accounts for most daily app use, especially during the evening and late at night. Skype, texting apps and social media also see significant use throughout the day.</p> <p><a title="GlobalWebIndex APAC Messaging Apps" href="https://www.globalwebindex.net/products/chart_of_the_day/17th-november-2014-wechat-dominates-mobile-messaging-in-apac?utm_campaign=Chart+of+the+Day&amp;utm_source=hs_email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=14925676&amp;_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8NDNG-s5tnLt8I5fcenL830Wz09JPoSYGTNg4dUeXkbbDvRZISbvfG-CQx6GUqyVUbMKLe363zlNLK0ajn6Coc_KHIPAi_j6yRwylmzd3aF8dAywQ&amp;_hsmi=14925676" target="_blank">GlobalWebIndex also looked at APAC messaging app popularity in late 2014</a>. WeChat leads the market reaching 39% of internet users, followed by Facebook Messenger at 16% with Skype and WhatsApp not far behind.</p> <h3><strong>Messaging apps lead other categories for retention</strong></h3> <p>While messaging apps may be leading the sector in the growth stakes, research from <a title="Flurry/Yahoo! Messaging App Retention" href="http://yahoodevelopers.tumblr.com/post/114492418503/messaging-apps-the-new-face-of-retail-banking" target="_blank">Flurry and Yahoo!</a> also looks at how the category is performing better than average when it comes to retention as well.</p> <p>On average, after an app has been installed for 12 months only 11% of users will open it again. For messaging apps this proportion of users is far higher at 62%, a rate the same as that seen at six months after download.</p> <p>Messaging apps perform much better than others even when looking at use within the same month an app has been downloaded. With retention rates peaking at 68%, and those of average apps only hitting 36%.</p> <h3><strong>The messaging app sub-category is a fascinating one</strong></h3> <p>The current data highlights that for an app type where the purpose at first seems very narrow, numerous services are offering an increasing degree of messaging diversity – whether that’s short video clips, or being more geared toward contacts in a specific social network.</p> <p>The growing mobile audience is truly embracing the range of messaging apps on offer, using respective services for different means, conversation types and different contact types.</p> <p>It will be exciting to see how the sector develops further and whether the big messaging names such as Facebook and Skype can hold their own against the WhatsApps and SnapChats of tomorrow.</p>