With more than 3 billion consumers on messaging apps, brands are coming face-to-face with a whole new set of marketing opportunities, and even bigger challenges. Call it the rise of chat tech. Messaging apps — Facebook Messenger, Kik, WhatsApp and Line — are forcing companies to consider how to collect, measure and analyze consumer data from these increasingly important channels.
This month, Messenger and Kik launched chatbot platforms so that brands and publishers can create automated, and hopefully useful, interactions with consumers. These new kinds of experiences — robots offering sales assistance or content recommendations — can open up new customer acquisition and sales opportunities, but they also require the same technological underpinnings that have become standard across digital.
Anywhere brands are pushing content and talking with customers, they want to quantify those interactions. “If you are an advertiser, and say you’re in the business of e-commerce, it’s important to understand how many commercial transactions are done through the mobile app or through your website, and now with this new burgeoning field of chatbots, how many transactions are happening through the chatbot interface,” said Charles Manning, CEO of Kochava, a mobile analytics platform.
Kochava is just one of the marketing technology companies getting started building for messaging. Salesforce is opening a messaging channel in its customer relations management platform. The startup Snaps built content-management tools for publishers and brands to post more easily to messaging apps like Kik.
“We think this is certainly the beginning of an interesting transition, and it’s not going to be overnight, but we do think chat and messaging will take a lead role engaging between consumers and brands,” said Manning “We want to be early to how measurement can be applied in that context.”
Brands will try to crack how chat and messaging impact their bottom lines. Are consumers more apt to buy a product through a messaging app or are they just there to do research? “Unless you measure things like this, you simply don’t know,” Manning said.
‘Read within minutes’
ReplyYes, a startup that sells vinyl records, built its sales engine through text messaging. Not too long ago, it might have relied more heavily on email to reach customers, CEO Dave Cotter said. “While an email might sit in a customer’s inbox all day, a text is read within minutes, making it much more likely a user will take action,” Cotter said.
ReplyYes sends a daily recommendation to users to buy a vinyl album, and the consumer sends back “yes,” if they want to order. The text marketing messages get viewed 98 percent of the time, while an e-mail is opened 20 percent of the time, Cotter said.
The company tracks everything from its interactions with 50,000 members — engagement rates, conversion rates, unsubscribe rates.