Can Brands Get Better Engagement On Messaging Apps Than Facebook?

Messaging apps are the “The New Face of Social Media,” but how do they compare to the old guard when it comes to organic reach and engagement?

Last week Tango, a messaging app with 200M+ users globally and close to 70M in the US, launched brand Channels– and initial results give a glimpse into the looming battle between messaging apps and Facebook / Twitter.  The numbers (assuming they’re accurate) are surprisingly impressive for an opening week, with companies like Spotify racking up 119,000+ followers, bands like OK Go gaining 124,000+ fans, and a curated Feedly “World Cup News” channel netting 233,000+ subscribers.

Brands on Tango often get better engagement on posts than they do on Facebook, even with infinitely smaller fanbases.  Spotify’s Father’s Day post, for example, asked users on Facebook and Tango to fill in the same blank “Tell us: I listen to _________ because of my Dad,” and yielded 7,625 likes and 1,114 comments on Tango vs. 1,749 likes and 2,369 comments on Facebook.  With 4.5M more Spotify fans on Facebook than Tango, the neck-and-neck results may speak to decreased organic reach on Facebook and high engagement on Tango.

Tango Facebook 1

A closer look at fan comments, however, reveals that quality of engaged users on Spotify’s Facebook page is much higher. While Facebook fans thoughtfully answered the question by naming artists,  Tango comments include a fairly high concentration of random emojis,  troll-like statements like “BITCH WHO DO YOU LOVE?,” and other off-topic ramblings.

What Tango does best is organize channels by topic to facilitates discovery.  They even tally total followers by category, making it easy to glean what appeals most to the user base: Music (286,000+ followers), Sports (276,000+ followers), Tango Updates (134,000+ followers), Funny & Cute (118,000+ followers), Entertainment (58,000+ followers), and lastly News (36,000+ followers).

In our messaging app white paper we cautioned against replicating Facebook and Twitter content on messaging apps. But in Tango’s case, they’ve appropriated the classic social media news feed, so understandably brands aren’t getting creative like they might on open platforms like Kik. Tango’s initial focus is also on content creators, with no traditional brands like Coke or Pepsi entering the fray yet. Given the success off the World Cup News channel, brands should consider exhibiting creativity by curating a channel tied to music or sports instead of (or in addition to) a standard brand page.

As the summer progresses, expect more brands join Tango to access its 200M users, which means more competition for eyeballs.  We may also witness the first few brands with 7-figure follower counts, inevitably turning heads in the broader marketing community.  For now, Tango Channels is off to a promising start.

Messaging App Tango Launches Brand Channels

Today Tango, a messaging app with over 200 million users globally, launched a plug-and-play solution for brands called Channels.  It functions similarly to a Facebook brand page– a user follows a channel and then can view content like photos and video within a news feed.  Launch partners include Spotify, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Cheezburger, Dailymotion, and OK Go.

The fact that TechCrunch, an authority on emerging tech, is betting early on Tango and messaging apps is perhaps the best indication that this is a noteworthy opportunity for media owners and brands.  As further proof: only two hours after launch, Spotify’s Tango channel already had close to 25,000 followers and over 2,000 likes and 450 comments on its morning playlist posting.

As we mentioned in our recent white paper on the messaging app space, Tango is in many ways an outlier compared to the competition.  Unlike popular millennial chat apps like Kik and Snapchat, its demographic skews heavily towards 25-50+ and proves that messaging is a phenomenon impacting all age groups.  With close to 70 million users in the US, Tango has a great audience that has already proven itself very receptive to interacting with games and music on the platform.

Tango is also arguably the most brand friendly of the messaging apps, and has found success with a native ad product leveraged by companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, eBay, Spotify and others to drive app installs.  In all likelihood these ads will also become a popular way for brands to attract subscribers to Tango Channels in the future.

Channels are currently free for brands to set up, so for companies looking to experiment with messaging app marketing there’s little risk involved in this opportunity. For now Tango houses the channels tab at the top of every user’s newsfeed. Once you click into it, you can search five primary categories: Entertainment, News, Sports, Music, and Funny & Cute.  To see the program in action for yourself, click here to download the app or watch the official Channels intro video.


OK Go Releases Word Game App

OK Go has never been a band known for living “by the book,” but their latest effort shows them crossing new boundaries as a band.  Today marks the launch of “Say the Same Thing,” a word-based mobile game for iOS and Android coded by the band’s own guitarist, Andy Ross.  The premise of the game is for two players to each say a random word, and then in turns work to present words that are conceptually “between” the random words until they meet in the middle by saying the same word.  This isn’t an app to extend the reach of OK Go’s music per-se; instead it is an extension of OK Go’s brand and sensibility.  The app is released by OK Go in partnership with the label they started, Paracadute Records, a partnership that allows the band to pursue its unique set of artistic and technological endeavors.

Will brand sponsorship bring back music videos?

Dr Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (OK Go and State Farm)For most bands in the slumping music industry, the day of big budget videos is a luxury of the past.  But last week undisputed kings of the viral music video, OK GO, found a new avenue to make their art a reality: corporate sponsorship.

The band’s clip for “This Too Shall Pass,” which features a mind blowing two story Rube Goldberg contraption, was bank rolled by none other than State Farm Insurance.  In a brilliant move, the band also arranged the deal so that State Farm paid for the right to make the YouTube clip embeddable anywhere on the web.  The band’s singer Damian Kulash recently wrote a piece for The New York Times questioning EMI’s decision not to allow embedding of YouTube videos and State Farm graciously presented a work around solution.

This is the first example of prominent corporate sponsorship of a major music video that we know of and State Farm’s bet has paid off handsomely– the clip received close to a million views a day in the first week of launch.  The video includes a toy car with the State Farm logo as well as a State Farm teddy bear and a closing thank you to the brand for making the video possible. Continue reading “Will brand sponsorship bring back music videos?”