Consumers are happy to interact with brands and retailers on mobile messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat, according to a recent study by marketing firm Kenshoo.
Until now, messaging apps have mainly been used for chatting with friends and family. But a survey of 2,000 consumers in the UK and France found that 53% of those who use mobile messaging apps have already interacted with a company via mobile messaging or are open to doing so as long as they can block brands they are not interested in.
Over half (51%) of messaging app users in Kenshoo’s study said mobile messaging is faster and more immediate than email interactions with companies, while 48% said it’s less hassle than voice calls. A third (33%) of users said they liked the fact that messaging apps retain the full history of any conversations with a company so it is easily available in the app.
“Mobile messaging presents a new opportunity for businesses to connect directly with individual consumers — and potentially build long term customer relationships,” commented Matt Vignieri, Kenshoo’s managing director for the EMEA region. “Many consumers can see the advantages too — but their expectations are high. They expect timely responses and will want communications to be personal to them and in context. If businesses get it wrong, then messaging could quickly turn into a channel for complaints. And because users can easily share negative experiences with their contacts, things could easily get from bad to worse.”
To avoid a consumer backlash, Kenshoo advises companies to ensure their messaging interactions are highly personalised and responsive.
The study revealed that consumers are receptive to a variety of promotional interactions via messaging apps. Of those who are open to using messaging to communicate with businesses, 46% would be tempted by the prospect of receiving exclusive deals and offers, 25% would use messaging to respond to ads, and 35% to participate in games and competitions in which they could win prizes. Meanwhile, 24% said they would like to use messaging to receive updates on products and services they have expressed an interest in.
Seven in ten (71%) of the 2,000 people surveyed currently use mobile messaging apps, with 51% of respondents saying they use Facebook Messenger and 40% using WhatsApp. Snapchat and Skype (for messaging on a phone) are each used by 20%.
If you would like to learn more about the latest connected consumer trends, please read our international research report “The European connected consumer: a life lived online“. Through research that questioned 7,000 consumers, comprising 1,000 from each of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, our report identifies consumer trends and the associated business and legal challenges.