Near the end of 2015 – monthly active users for the “big 4” messaging apps surpassed the “big 4” social networking apps. This rapid move in consumer attention has been staggering and should have sparked a shift in marketing spend in 2016 – as brands pushed more $$$ into these messaging platforms.  However, this move hasn’t happened yet – partially driven by the fact that brand marketers have not been provided with easy ways to connect with users on these platforms to date.

This is all changing, however.

Indeed, the ability to connect with consumers on messaging platforms saw loads of evolution in 2016.  Apple opened up iMessage to third-party development via the launch of iOS 10. Facebook messenger, Kik, and Line all introduced new features as well, and chatbots became “all the rage” with 11,000 chatbots added to the Messenger platform during the year.

 

The rapid evolution of the consumer journey on mobile has also been fascinating to watch – I like this example from KPCB where browsing/discovery begins on an Instagram tapshop.   Then, conversion/payment happens on the Line app.

In 2017, messaging companies are going to continue to rapidly build out their features that provide more avenues for brands to connect with users.  Mid-level marketing managers and innovation managers looking to connect with millennial consumers will also continue to wake up to the opportunities in messaging. It will be fun to watch!