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The New Era of Social Media: Private Messaging is The Next Frontier

By Tiffany Pack, Guest Blogger | 4.3.17

At their inception, traditional social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter gained wild, immediate popularity.

Why? Because they tapped into the basic human need to connect with other people and redefined how we do so.

Its spontaneity, with few controls and freedom from the intrusion of advertising we didn’t choose to see, spawned a second wave of social media channels such as Vine, Pinterest, and Instagram.

But, as with any new medium, platform owners and businesses began to lose sight of users and what drew them to social media in the first place. Users began to seek newer, more private messaging apps, hence the advent of Snapchat, Kik, and Facebook Messenger.

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As a result, we are experiencing a shift, or rebalancing, of the social landscape that effectively serves the platforms and brands that are present on them, along with the users themselves.

Messaging apps are evolving quickly. As Facebook, Microsoft and Apple continue to innovate in this space, we are in an era of change unlike any experienced since Apple introduced the iOS platform in 2008.

The Rise of Private Messaging Platforms

As evidenced by Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 million in 2014 and its more recent unsuccessful bid to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in cash – and Snapchat’s recent IPO with a $33 billion market capitalization – private messaging is the next wave of social.

Last year, the number of monthly users of these messaging apps surpassed the number of monthly active users on traditional social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This exciting shift highlights what made social media so appealing to users initially: the ability for humans to connect with other humans authentically – free from control and brand messaging being imposed upon them. 

What does that mean for brands?

Now, reconnecting with users on these new messaging social media platforms is entirely possible and should be part of any complete marketing strategy.

Consider these features that users, brands and the platforms can find mutually beneficial:

Human Needs                Messaging Apps                   Social/Business Needs
Authentic platform           Pull vs. push ads                  Marketing
Fun/Spontaneous            One to close friends             Mobile
Simple/Convenient          Ease and convenience         Ads/sweeps
Unobtrusive ads              Privacy                                 Data-driven

For example, on Snapchat, brands can purchase lenses to help promote their products. For sponsorship fees of $450,000-$750,000, brands can reach a potential audience of more than 100 million daily users age 13-34, which is what X-Men: Apocalypse did effectively to support its release.

Facebook Messenger App uses AI bot assistants that enable users to purchase directly from 1-800-Flowers and Urban Outfitters without leaving the app.

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Simple, user-friendly SMS interfaces let customers engage and purchase without having to navigate multiple apps. And, Facebook earns transaction fees from the brands providing measurable results.

The implication for brands is simple: private messaging is the new frontier and you should be there now.

 

Tiffany Pack
Tiffany Pack is director of strategy for Sparks Grove, a division of North Highland.

 

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