The Rise of Messaging Apps
I’m willing to bet that even if you don’t use them yourself, you have probably have heard or seen something concerning the current messaging app craze. Apple iPhones have iMessage and Google has SMS Messenger for Android devices. However, even these two companies are evolving their messaging apps in an effort to keep up with consumer demands. Apple has kept up with the use of stickers and games and will soon offer an option for paying friends who bought you lunch, all within a single app. As for Google, the Android SMS Messenger recently added the option to merge with Facebook’s Messenger app to allow a singular experience for users, so you don't have to go back and forth between different screens to send texts or messages.
What other apps are these two tech giants trying to keep up with? Three main ones come to mind that we need to keep an eye on over the next few years—Kik, Whatsapp, and Messenger. These apps offer similar services as the two stated above but offer their own unique features and options.
At their core, these three are basic messaging apps similar to iMessage and SMS Messenger, but they set themselves apart in other ways, such as their ability to buy and sell products, send money, summon Uber, and incorporate chatbots. This is a bigger deal than one would expect once you realize that messaging apps have over taken social media platforms, with 20% more monthly active users. According to VentureBeat, 49% of consumers would rather interact with a business through messaging, opposed to calling them on the phone.
With the explosive growth of messaging apps, marketers, advertisers, and businesses alike want to know how to get their slice of the attention pie. One of the fastest growing ways to do that is with chatbots.
What are chatbots?
In a nutshell, a chatbot is artificial intelligence (AI) that can be programmed to respond to your potential customers within a messaging app at any time of the day. This up-and-coming revolutionary technology allows businesses to have a bot communicate with consumers to determine what their needs are. If the bot can solve their specific problems, a human may not even need to get involved!
If the business does end up needing to speak with a customer, it’s as simple as jumping into the conversation to take over. If the customer would like to discuss their specific needs with a real person from the get-go, the app can notify you to jump in right away. A recent study found that, of the consumers that were surveyed, 38% reacted positively to chatbots, 51% were indifferent, and only 11% reacted negatively.
Chatbots can also help potential customers by recommending certain things based on what the consumer requests. For instance, when someone messages you about your new products, the chatbot is programmed to respond to the request by sending a link to your webpage containing your latest product offerings, OR it could send new product options straight to the consumer within the app. If the potential customer likes what was sent, they can make a purchase right then and there without having to leave the app.
This could be a great way for you to reach your potential customers, but it's also a great way for them to reach out to you! Consumers may view your use of messaging apps and chatbots as trendy, empathetic, and personable, as you'll be providing a customized customer experience. This technology is already being adopted by many companies like Domino's, Saphora, and CNN.
Live Chat on Websites
With the rise of chatbots in messaging apps, we're also seeing technology be adopted on other platforms like websites. The ability to chat with potential customers through your website isn’t a new concept, but the idea of having a chat window at the front and center is. On many websites, when a potential customer arrives on a page, they are greeted with a hello message and asked if there's anything that can be done to fill their immediate needs. The conversation continues the same way it does in a messaging app—either with the chatbot or with a real person (via live chat).
Communicating through a messaging app using chatbots or setting up live messaging on your website may or may not be the right direction for your business. To discuss your web design and development options to find what would work best for your business and customer interactions, contact Blue Frog Marketing! We have offices in Des Moines, Huron, and Denver and work with a broad range of customers across the United States. We'd love to set up a consultation with you to help you figure out the right steps and take your marketing to the next level.