One Tool Every Marketer Should Be Using
By Harrison Shih
If you’re keeping up with current mobile trends, you’ve probably read at least 5 articles by now about how mobile messengers are continuously growing and are set to take over social media in 2015.
Anyone can speculate on the reason for growth, but Flurry Analytics reported that messengers have an incredibly high open rate. On a given day, a user opens their messaging app 4.7x more than any other type of app on average.
Within the first month that a messaging app sits on a user’s phone, 68% percent of users will return to it, 1.9x higher than the 36% of users that will return to all other apps on average. Over the next year, messaging app retention rates will stay steady, declining from a 68% to a 62% retention rate at month 12 after installation. Other apps decay heavily in comparison, declining 25% to a 11% retention rate in month 12. After one year, messaging apps show a 5.6x higher retention rate than all other apps on average.
So why do users open messengers so much more often than other types of apps? Messengers work, in part, due to the Rule of Reciprocity: We tend to feel obligated to return favors after people do favors for us. When someone sends a message to us, we receive a notification on our phones that generally doesn’t go away until we open the app to read the message. And once we read it, we feel the need to respond. It’s the polite thing to do.
Messengers are also playing off the same exact mechanism that social media once hooked users on: customer loyalty and inertia. With all their friends in one place, and with the ease of communication these messaging apps provide, why go elsewhere?
As of May 2015, five out of the top 10 social networking apps are messengers, and three out of the overall top 10 apps are messengers in the free Apple App Store. So, what has spawned this popularity and who are the users that come back to messengers day after day? According to ComScore’s U.S. Mobile App Report, the tech-heavy Millennial (18-34 year old) demographic is spending the most time on mobile compared to other age ranges. They’re racking up more than 73 hours per month on apps, which is up 24% from last year. The report also notes that 7 out of every 8 minutes on mobile in general is spent in mobile apps. The majority of those apps are in leisure categories such as messaging.
Why should you care about messaging? In general, retention and engagement are highly important to a brand because they lead to return customers and brand evangelists. Chat isnâ€™t the only way to get them. Other options include transactional emails, push notifications, retargeting ads, and social media.
But none of these channels are as effective as chat in driving retention and engagement. Let’s break them down, starting with transactional emails. Customers now, more than ever, are tech-savvy and expect incredibly quick results when they email a company, but the brand’s email responses can be slow. Additionally, the average customer click-through rate for email marketing campaigns average only 3.26% (UK), which shows that emails are not a very engaging marketing technique. Next, push notifications with no purpose, like a useful landing page or announcement, become an annoyance to users and can easily be disabled. Retargeting customers through ads are a great sales technique, but they don’t provide a space for ongoing conversation or real interaction with a brand or peers. Social media is the method of engagement that comes closest to chat, but there is so much noise on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn that a brand’s voice and communication with its customers can get lost.
While each of these channels are important to your brand’s marketing strategy in one way or another, none of them satisfy a user’s need to feel immediately and intimately engaged with you. Chat is the missing puzzle piece.
Gaming and dating apps have embraced chat as a key add-on that keeps users coming back to their core app. Virtually all dating apps have a chat feature now; for example, Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel connect two interested matches and allow them to chat with each other before meeting in person. Trivia Crack, the highest-ranking app in the entire Apple App Store in December 2014, and Words With Friends, a top-ranking game on iOS and Android, both use chat to increase app engagement in between game rounds.
Whatever industry you’re in, engagement is important, and the tools you’re used to are becoming outdated. Be the first in your market, or the second or third, but don’t wait to add a chat feature in your marketing toolkit, or you’ll be busy playing catch up to your competitors. To up your engagement game and see how messaging can become your app’s killer feature, contact us about implementing our messaging SDK into your app or website today.