The growth in messaging apps continues to soar. With 41 million messages being sent out every minute these apps are now 20% bigger than social media networks, outpacing them in both growth and popularity. Messaging apps have become a powerful opportunity to reach a massive customer base to book appointments, ramp up sales and automate customer service inquiries


How have they evolved?

Messaging apps have hit the ground running since the first, CompuServe’s CB Simulator, was released in 1980. Although they increased massively in popularity during the 1990s, back then they were really more of a tool than a platform. It was also very rudimentary – no images, no video, no web links, no rich text, no group messaging, none of what we think of today when we talk about messaging.

The appeal of this style of communication is easy enough to understand, It’s quick, easy, convenient and on-the go but as a marketing tool, SMS/MMS never really took off. The cost was prohibitive, for both users and enterprises, and its skillset has always remained pretty basic.

Messaging has come on leaps and bounds since this original text messaging technology. The release of smartphones accelerated this growth with messaging apps quickly becoming some of the most widely used apps in the world.  By 2020 there were around 2.7 billion mobile phone messaging app users worldwide with that number expected to grow to 3.1 billion by 2023. That’s nearly 40% of the global population.

By 2020, the four largest mobile messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Viber) already had more than 6 billion users in total, surpassing the 4.5 billion users on the four largest social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn).

With more features upping the convenience factor, messaging apps make users’ lives simpler by replacing email, online logins, customer call centres, and eventually even the web browser itself. Truly, messaging is the platform of the future.

Opportunities for brands

The age of pushy, broadly distributed, one-sided brand messaging is at an end. Going forwards, savvy marketers will be devising every campaign and program with opportunities for customer interaction and engagement in mind. These efforts will focus on channels that people are naturally gravitating toward, such as mobile messaging apps and social media chat.

Messaging provides a continuous thread between customer and brand, unlike the disjointed experience of email. An order confirmation email, even one prompting further action, often dies in an inbox, but conversation on messaging apps is more like an ongoing dialog. This difference makes follow-up conversation easier and more natural, increasing the opportunities to cross-sell, encourage sharing, solicit input, and flow seamlessly between commerce and support.

Simply put, a marketing strategy that places messaging and conversations at the forefront enables brands to be more engaging, responsive and personalised.  The beauty of messaging is that it’s two-way – while brands may still send some ‘Do not reply’ messages, usually customers can reply to ask questions, clarify details, change booking arrangements, and so on. Consumers now expect this – they want to engage with brands in a very different way. They’ve been kept on hold one too many times and prefer the ease and convenience of messaging instead. As a way of communicating, it’s native to how people use messaging for their own ends – they can talk to a brand just how

Messaging apps now offer great features that brands should seriously consider such as destination ads, sponsored messages, or home section ads which works because the atypical CTA is not so demanding making people more likely to engage. These ads allow advertisers to start conversations, drive interactions and increase sales.

Increase conversions with chat

Consumers have been using the main four messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber) more frequently than the main four social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) since 2015. This means your customers are on messaging applications even more than they are on social networks.

Intelligent chat nurture strategies work with your existing social platforms to increase conversions through seamless chat. Chat can answer questions quickly and simplify the buying process. They can even create trusting and natural relationships with your customers. As you continue to grow your social platforms and marketing strategy, messenger apps will serve as the perfect place to meet your users where they are with on-demand answers.

Cultivate customer conversations

Intelligent chat is more than just a computer program when it comes to integrating business and messaging apps — it creates helpful, enjoyable buying experiences. Chat also creates an opportunity to cultivate customer conversations within familiar messaging apps and platforms.

Customers today recognize the usefulness of this technology and are ready to integrate intelligent chat into their online behaviours. The global intelligent chat market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025 with a compounding annual growth rate of 24.3%.

Reaching customers where they spend their time keeps your brand visible and opens the door to enhanced purchasing opportunities. Reaching those same customers using state-of-the-art intelligent chat technology keeps your doors open 24/7.

Automated inquiries

It’s become increasingly clear that customers are ready and willing to complete purchases through messaging apps. Recent research shows that when given a choice, 26% of respondents reported preferring to communicate with a business via intelligent chat, with that number growing to 37% when taking only millennials into account.

Intelligent chat creates an opportunity to cultivate meaningful customer conversations, increase conversions, and automate inquiries within your existing messaging apps.


When they emerged a few years ago Chatbots promised to revolutionise the customer care experience. That didn’t quite happen, and everything since has gone a bit quiet. But the technology is advancing all the time – chatbots are now a lot more sophisticated, able to replicate a human conversation. They’re no longer simple pieces of code, but advanced artificial intelligence systems that can adapt to whatever the conversation throws at them.

The benefits are obvious. Bots can work 24/7 with no breaks – providing that kind of around-the-clock support, on their device of choice and on a platform the consumer already uses for messaging is the natural extension of the brand/customer relationship. These bots can use machine learning to become better the more they are used, and they will immediately have access to a customer’s interaction history with the company, so there’s no need to explain your problem again and again.

Ultimately customers don’t care whether they’re dealing with a real person or a bot, as long as their problem gets solved. In fact, in many cases using a bot is preferable – would you really rather be kept on hold until the next agent becomes available? Consumers just want to know that if they contact the brand with an issue at two o’clock in the morning, their problem will get solved. Whether they deal with a live agent or AI-powered chatbot neither here nor there. As long as they solve their issue, who cares?