What do we do most on mobiles these days?

Take a look around next time you’re on the morning commute.

We are spending more time messaging than we are on social media, blogs or reading – something Mark Zuckerberg and David Marcus (who runs Facebook Messenger) have both independently pointed out. This trend, coupled with the undeniable dominance of mobile use, has led Facebook and many others to believe messaging is the next big platform.

Facebook Messenger

The app for everything?

Facebook have dramatic ambitions for Messenger. The best way to visualise it is Weixin in China, a messaging app where you can book taxis, buy cinema tickets, do your banking, get a doctor’s appointment, book and check-in for flights, and video conference – all without leaving the app.

Let’s crystallise this.

In the near future we will be able to have individual threads with businesses where our relationship is managed in a chronological contextual fashion. Let’s give an example. Imagine your typical ecommerce transaction now. Firstly, it’s difficult on mobile to buy things; then you get an email saying “Thank you for your order”; then another saying the order is on the way; then another confirming it’s been delivered; then more asking if you liked it or want to order anything else. That’s a lot of emails and they’re all going into a black hole.

Now let’s imagine Facebook’s ambitions for Messenger, using KLM, one of their initial partners. You could potentially open the KLM thread in Messenger and have a conversation like this:

“Hi, can I book an 8:30am flight from Heathrow to San Francisco on Monday?”

“Yes, we have availability – do you want premium economy return seats like your last flight from Heathrow? The fare is £725.”

“Yes please, book the flights for me.”

“Thank you, here’s your boarding pass and we’ll drop you a line with any updates on flight times on Monday morning. Have a great trip!”

That’s a customer experience with less friction. It’s a business talking to us in our world, in our language, in real time. It makes email look and feel ancient, and we all know what it’s like to call those businesses. Messaging has the potential to reduce the amount of time we spend communicating with businesses and humanising them whilst increasing our satisfaction with great customer experiences – and if it can do this it will become a very important part of our lives.

So if this world arrived today, what would it mean for marketers and brands?

You’ll need an audience of advocates. You need a critical mass to take with you to this platform and you need them to be an advocate of your brand, happy to talk to you in this way. That’s good news because most brands should be doing that already and it will stand you in good stead for other trends on the mobile horizon (including voice and wearables). These trends are leading to less real estate, smaller conversations and more personalisation with nano targeting.

You’ll also need to be smart with data. Your CRM, granular audience segmentation, marketing automation and a programmatic strategy are some of the things that will enable you to take advantage of the inevitable advertising opportunities (this is where Messenger will make its money, after all).

We’re excited about the future and we believe if you are doing the right things now you will be ready to take advantage of these innovations. Do drop us a line with any thoughts and feedback – we’d love to hear from you!

Source: We would like to give credit to David Rowan’s article in the November edition of Wired magazine as it inspired our thinking on this blog post.