The Final Frontier of Social Media: Monetization of Messaging Apps
Popular messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat are evidence that there’s a growing desire for consumers to be able to communicate directly with brands. According to Marketing Land, brands will now be able to better engage customers when they click on a link to start a conversation with the brand. Brands will also be able to incorporate Messenger on their sites, so that when a consumer is in the process of buying a product or registering an account, the brand could prompt them to receive messages such as shipping information, coupons, product updates, etc.
According to The Motley Fool, Facebook’s Messenger app has one billion users, representing an enormous opportunity for advertisers. While the ad real estate might be smaller on the messenger app, it still has the potential to earn Facebook billions of dollars in revenue. In fact, as growth in both Facebook and Instagram slows, Messenger will be the app to pick up the slack.
Will users really engage with the ads?
The answer, at least from industry experts, is a resounding yes. With the use of suggested sponsored chats that are carefully targeted and chatbots, ads in Messenger will have active engagement. Chatbots are quite popular among Millennial and Generation X consumers who prefer a direct and private conversation with brands instead leaving feedback on their social media page.
Facebook added the ability to use ad bots on its Messenger app this past November. The sponsored messages are straightforward and can only be shown to someone who has an existing conversation with the brand. The ads are limited to one link and picture per message but are unlimited in their offerings. Brands can offer almost anything, from automated shopping to recipe recommendations.
According to AdWeek, companies like American Express have taken full advantage of the monetization of Messenger. American Express re-engages its customers by sending receipts via the app after they purchase airline tickets, along with restaurant ideas and a tip to take advantage of AmEx’s complimentary airport lounge.
While Facebook’s Messenger is a great place for advertisements, the app and the brands using it need to step up their game. AdWeek believes that Messenger needs to look to Asia’s Wechat as inspiration for becoming the go-to app that people use for just about everything on a day-to-day basis. In Asia, Wechat is a hub, not just for messaging friends and business, but for paying bills, booking cabs and hotels, ordering food and making retail purchases. The advertising and monetization possibilities are endless with an app that covers so many different facets.