The marketing world has stagnated.
Sure, marketers are an inventive bunch and always looking at ways to leverage the existing frameworks, channels, and practices into a new approach.
But generally speaking, there’s been no major changes in the last decade.
Digital has risen to the top through ongoing refinement of major channels that have been available for quite some time.
- Online stores (invented in 1979)
- Email marketing (first marketing blast was sent in 1978)
- Social media (first FB ad was run in 2006)
Since 2006, there’s been no major changes. It’s been a constant cycle of iterative improvement
Our ability to track, target, optimize, and report have improved across these established channels, but there’s been nothing to really rock the boat and add a whole new dimension to the online advertising world.
The New Channel That’s Changing the Way Online Businesses Operate
Over the last 2 years there’s been a buzz in the marketing world around a brand new marketing channel.
One which is outperforming the current ROI champ of email and which is perfectly suited to the growing millennial market’s online habits.
The channel is messaging apps. These services take the direct line of communication that’s made email so successful to the next level because your brand is able to converse with users in real time.
Your messages feel less like a marketing campaign or promotion, and more like the conversations consumers have with their friends.
The last few years has seen the interest and usage of Messenger apps explode. Chief among them, Facebook Messenger. And it’s here that marketer’s excitement is centered.
The reason excitement is so high is that Messenger usage is off the charts. If you take a look at the number of users across different messaging apps, you start to get an idea of the potential audience you could reach.
And these are monthly active users. These aren’t the quarter of apps that are downloaded and then abandoned after a single use. People – your consumers – keep coming back to these apps day-after-day, week-after-week.
Why? Because they use these apps to organize their personal life. They send a WhatsApp message to organize dinner with their family or use Facebook Messenger to send a funny video to a friend.
The primary use of these apps is to nurture friendly relationships, but there’s been a switch allowing brands to leverage these more friendly communication channels.
There’s a huge potential here for your brand to leverage a huge, actively engaged audience. And I’m not the only one to have noticed it.
WhatsApp has started experimenting with opening the platform up to businesses in a select few regions, while Facebook has opened their platform entirely to marketers so they can leverage this super high engagement channel.
And that’s where this gets interesting. Facebook’s belief in the platform should be enough for anyone to see that there’s a real opportunity in message apps for business.
Facebook’s Move to Social Commerce
In recent weeks Facebook has filed a patent which will basically allow them to monetize Messenger’s massive user base.
The patent is called “Processing Payment Transactions Using Artificial Intelligence Messaging Services” and details a user purchasing a coffee directly through a Facebook Messenger chat.
What Facebook is basically saying here is that social commerce – the act of selling directly through Messenger chats – is going to be huge in the future.
Everything from initial contact, the act of guiding the user to the right product for them, taking their order, processing payment, and even updating on fulfillment can be handled in one, centralized location.
There’ll be no need for complex user journeys or on-site optimization, just an improvement to the conversations you have with your consumers.
They’re so convinced this will form a major part of how brands not only communicate with consumers but also sell to them, that they’re patenting their own solution.
As the industry leader in the space of social marketing, you’d do well to listen to them.
What Facebook Is Signalling
The short version is that this is going to be what marketers should focus on in the next 5-10 years.
Messenger is a brand new channel, one which hasn’t been explored and refined to perfection just yet. And thus it provides a massive opportunity for you and your brand.
It’s unlike email where a good campaign can increase sales and revenue by single-digit percentage increases.
You just have to look at the overall engagement rates to understand the potential of email vs Messenger.
Messenger Marketing and social commerce will completely change the game. Brands who leverage it well will see their revenue skyrocket because they’ll be offering the service users want in the channels they’re already using.
However, the greatest benefit isn’t in the immediate revenue gained through individual sales, but how Messenger conversations lead to a closer affinity to the brand.
Messenger gives your brand a face and voice. It helps people associate with it on a more personal level which leads to more repeat purchases and longer-term revenue gains.
It’s not going to be a minor improvement to an existing channel, but a completely new revenue stream that will have a profound effect upon sales.
And this isn’t conjecture or optimistic thinking.
All you have to do is look to Asia to see how mobile-centered social commerce has changed the face of digital retail.
WeChat is China’s biggest messenger app and currently third largest in the world with 1 billion users. However, you can do far more than just text, video call, or follow “moments” of friends and industry leaders within the app.
WeChat is a complete solution to online shopping. You can buy cinema tickets, book a taxi, play games, manage your banking, and video conference all within the WeChat app. Not only that, but there are specific WeChat stores that allow you to shop directly from the chat interface.
It’s so convenient and simple to shop through apps like WeChat that the value of third-party patent processing apps tripled to $5.5 trillion last year.
China is one clear step ahead of the west in terms of it’s Messenger marketing and sales, which is a key indicator there’s a massive potential market here as well.
Facebook’s filing of this patent shows that they believe the west would also benefit greatly from more conversational commerce. And it’s easy to see why.
A Return to Sales as They Should Be Made
For thousands of years sales were made on the communication and conversations between merchant and customer.
With the popularisation of the digital age, we moved away from that to an almost sterile, self-guided purchase journey. Users would engage with your brand online, but if they needed help they’d kick off a lengthy, often cumbersome exchange of emails or phone calls.
What should have been a 10-minute purchase journey would be dragged out over days or weeks, drastically increasing the chance of abandonment.
Messenger Marketing and social commerce are a return to the way sales should be made.
They give your brand a face and voice once more, helping users in their greatest time of need and ensuring they make the right decision in a hassle-free way.
As David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Messenger team recently said;
“I believe this is one of the biggest opportunities in the next ten years and this is the best place to make it happen. We live in a world shaped by the web on mobile, but web is a desktop, not a personal experience. We see the world as people-based. If we can recreate that, it reinvents mobile interactions from the ground up.”
Facebook is signaling that Messenger is the future of online sales for any industry. If you run an ecommerce store, you need to get onto your Messenger strategy ASAP.
You could wait for Facebook to roll out their eventual solution to the key platforms they own like Instagram and Facebook, or you could get started today across every social media network with jumper.
If you want to leverage social, then jumper will help you turn every single social media update into a shoppable post with an automated checkout. You can set up your free account by clicking here.