The Future of Messaging Apps: Trends, Challenges, and Prospects | Rakuten Viber | Open Microphone

Modern life is hectic and fast-paced, which induces in many of us an anxious urge to streamline anything that can be streamlined. But not everything can be: Those 1,524 work emails a day sometimes can’t be helped, nor are we willing to give up messengers that offer a lifeline to the real world, deliver cute puppy videos, and keep us in touch with friends and family. But that single-purpose app you’ve opened twice in five years? That you might find yourself on the chopping block. Put simply, people no longer want to juggle tons of apps to get what they need: they want to get more out of the apps they already use. They spend 77% of their app time on their three favorite apps and almost 50% on just one app.

This gives messaging apps a unique advantage because, at their core, they are a communication tool that is essential for many users. So, if users want to streamline their lives, they can choose between different messaging apps; However, few will give up messaging altogether. But when it comes to the competition among the messengers, a messenger shines by offering more services and increasing its usefulness to the user.

The data is in: In the first quarter of 2022, messaging apps and chats were huge: 95.6% of adults who use the internet check them monthly, and usage time continues to increase. Importantly, more than 43% rely on social media and messaging apps to research products and brands – so what does this mean for businesses?

1. Innovative, personalized and versatile: the messaging apps of the future

For businesses, this means that messengers with intelligent application are the best choice for customer communication. What does “smart application” mean?

First of all, messaging apps offer unprecedented scale, allowing a brand to reach massive audiences directly from the app. However, boring, impersonal outreach at scale is a waste of potential, as messengers also offer a unique opportunity to personalize that outreach — and it’s smart to seize that opportunity.

Personalized marketing can be a huge benefit for data-driven businesses, and messaging apps offer all the necessary personalization features. Why personalize? Because personalized outreach is more efficient, allows brands to engage with customers in more meaningful ways, increases engagement, drives conversion, and fosters brand loyalty by staying relevant — and keeping audiences away from irritation.

Examples of stickers, chatbots and lenses on Viber

Of course, innovation is also crucial in messenger marketing. From leveraging chatbots to captivating audiences with living or interactive solutions such as branded stickers, games, augmented or virtual reality (AR and VR), businesses have many creative tools at their disposal.

To be fair, many brands are already seeing the potential of innovative approaches: Viber Lenses, an AR service, for example, has already tracked over 52 million lenses in the first quarter of its launch. And today, more and more brands are using their own branded Viber lenses as a native and fun way to increase brand awareness and customer engagement.

2. Emphasis on security and privacy

It’s no secret that fraud and cybercrime are rife – or at least that’s how internet users feel: more than 40% are concerned that their personal information could be misused. That’s another boon of messengers for brands: data security and privacy are increasingly becoming an integral part of messaging app development, so using a messenger that cares about security takes some of that burden of responsibility off the brand’s metaphorical shoulders takes.

  • End-to-end encryption for personal conversations and calls; Ideally, it’s not only available, but enabled by default.
  • For brand-user communication, encryption during transmission is the gold standard, ensuring the highest level of security.
  • A messenger that really cares about user privacy also does not store user messages on its servers.
  • A secure HTTPS connection is a must, while strict verification procedures and means of distinguishing genuine accounts (like Viber’s “blue tick” marking verified business accounts) put users at ease and help reduce fraud.

3. Integrations

As mentioned above, expanding the service offering for messaging apps is crucial. One way to do this is to develop more and more services yourself. But smooth and seamless integration with other apps can also do the trick, especially if it allows others to provide their services through Messenger — and benefits customers.

Integrations allow messaging apps to offer all kinds of benefits to their users, while increasing the app’s own value and supporting solutions that are useful for businesses, like the personalization mentioned above. Classic synergy. Here are just a few examples of what messengers can already do for brand-user interaction:

  • Users can order food and taxi;
  • Users can shop online – and brands can help shoppers and drive conversions;
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer money transfers and payments such as B. Parking or Utilities;
  • Users can book flights, hotel reservations, dining, etc. – and hospitality businesses get a convenient channel to interact with their guests;
  • Brands can solve customer problems through after-sales support;
  • Businesses can collect and leverage first-party data (thanks, CRM and CDP integrations) to streamline and personalize their communications with users, resulting in a better customer experience.

4. Conversions through conversations

Unlike your typical marketing tool, messaging apps are great for directly driving sales. Conversational commerce is the use of messengers by businesses to increase sales. It encompasses enabling, executing and encouraging sales at all stages of the customer journey: from helping users with their questions to helping them make purchasing decisions – to allowing customers to purchase services and products without leaving the messaging app to have to.

Examples of conversational commerce through the Viber app

5. Real-time conversations

Messaging apps are designed for instant peer-to-peer communication and perfected for conversations. Not surprisingly, messaging apps are a popular choice for customer service platforms. Users appreciate the ability to speak to a customer service representative in real-time mode – and skip the usual hour-long session of elevator music and waiting on hold. Meanwhile, brands can leverage business messaging and chatbots to provide better customer service, reduce costs with automation, and stay connected with their audience.

Company snack

The trend towards more functionality is of course an opportunity for messaging apps. Users expect each app to provide more value, do more for them — and spend more and more time in their select few apps, which typically include a messenger. This is leading to the rise of superapps: single apps that serve as gateways to a variety of services users need, from paying their bills or booking travel to ordering takeout.

However, it also means that Messengers are naturally encouraged to transform their apps into powerful marketing tools that businesses should leverage, since every feature designed to provide value to users is also an additional touchpoint, one another opportunity for a company to reach its customers.

About Katie Curtis

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