Facebook Brings Snapchat Stories Clone To WhatsApp

What Happened
Facebook continues its quest to curb Snapchat’s growth as it updated WhatsApp on Tuesday to launch a new Status feature that let users post gifs, photos, and videos that disappears after 24 hours. With an interface similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, multiple Status updates within a day will be stringed together as a loop of content. WhatsApp plans to roll out this feature to all global users throughout this week.  

What Brands Need To Do
If recent reports claiming that Instagram Stories has been successful in slowing Snapchat’s growth were to believe, this will no doubt be another blow to Snapchat courtesy of Facebook. Given WhatsApp’s over 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide, this new feature is set to particularly curb Snapchat’s international growth.

While this could be an interesting gateway for Facebook to introduce media content and ads into WhatsApp, so far the messaging app has remained ad-free as it carefully mulls over plans for monetization. However, there have been brands, such as lingerie brand Agent Provocateur, that leveraged WhatsApp’s one-on-one chat to intimately connect with customers and offer product recommendations. The launch of Status introduces a new tool for brands looking to share content with fans in an exclusive, private manner.


Source: TechCrunch


Lingerie Brand Gets Intimate With Customers With A Holiday Campaign On WhatsApp

What Happened
Lingerie brand Agent Provocateur has launched an innovative holiday campaign that leverages the private nature of messaging apps to connect with shoppers in an intimate way. Customers are invited to add Agent Provocateur’s number in WhatsApp and start a group chat with their partners and an Agent Provocateur agent, who will guide the couples through a conversation to help uncover their holiday wish list and recommend items from the Agent Provocateur Christmas collection that best suit their personality. As part of its “Naughty or Nice” holiday campaign, the brand also created a themed interactive video that showcases the dual styles of its products and lets viewers tap on the screen to switch between the dual perspectives.

What Brands Should Do
This campaign serves as a good example of brands using messaging apps as a marketing channel to connect with customers in an intimate environment. While Facebook still has only just started to make WhatsApp more brand-friendly, this campaign shows that brands can find a way to tap into the millions of users on the popular messaging app. Given the intimate nature of this campaign, it makes sense for Agent Provocateur to opt for a human agent rather than a chatbot. In most cases, however, chatbots present a much more viable and scalable solution for brands looking to reach customers on messaging apps that are popular among mobile users.

The Lab has extensive knowledge about reaching consumers on mobile messaging apps and building branded chatbots. The new NiroBot we build in collaboration with Ansible for Kia delivers comprehensive product information about the all-new Niro model via friendly chats. If you’re interested in reaching your audience on messaging apps and better serving them with a chatbot, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Mobile Marketing Magazine

WhatsApp Shares User Data With Facebook & Readies For Business Accounts

What Happened
Popular messaging app WhatsApp announced today that it will start sharing a limited amount of user data, including individuals’ phone numbers, with its parent company Facebook. This will allow Facebook to offer better friend suggestions by mapping users’ social connections and deliver more relevant ads on the social network. The company is also planning to allow businesses to use its service to connect with users by the end of the year, allowing them to send targeted promotional messages.

Why Brands Should Care
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, amassing over one billion global users so far. Previously very cautious towards ads, WhatsApp is now laying the groundwork for monetizing its service by easing its privacy rules. By opening up part of its user data to Facebook, it is giving the social network a boost in reaching mobile consumers, especially those in international markets where Whatsapp is most popular in, with more targeted messages via its ad network. For brands with an international presence, this should come as a welcomed change that heralds future opportunities in reaching customers on the messaging app.


Source: TechCrunch


WhatsApp To Test Business Accounts

What Happened
Following its 19 billion-dollar acquisition by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp has so far held onto its no-advertising policy , focusing instead on steadily growing its user base. Now, with its user base approaching the milestone of one billion global users, WhatsApp seems finally ready to develop some business-friendly features, starting with testing business accounts which brands can use to connect with customers right in the popular messaging app. The app will also drop the $0.99 yearly subscription fee it charges users after the first year, which underscores the company’s shift in monetization focus and will decrease friction for users and help maximize growth.

What Brands Need To Do
Facebook has been making great progress in making its Messenger app more useful and brand-friendly, with one of the most successful use cases so far being helping brands, such as Hyatt Hotels, to provide customer service via messaging. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that Facebook is bringing similar features to WhatsApp.

Although it seems unlikely that Facebook would be drastically revamping WhatsApp to add advertisements or third-party app integration any time soon, the announcement signifies the opportunities to come for brands to connect with WhatsApp’s predominantly international audience. Therefore, brands with a heavy dependence on international markets need to recalibrate their mobile communications strategies and take WhatsApp into consideration.


Source: AdNews


Facebook To Add Games To Messenger App and Commercialize WhatsApp

Read original story on: The Verge

Facebook has confirmed that it is in talks with developers about creating native mobile games for its newly expanded Messenger platform, which was unveiled last month at its F8 developer conference. Few details have surfaced besides the confirmation, but it is clear that these new games will be downloadable as in-app purchases from Messenger’s third-party add-on store, which has been populated with chat enhancers like stickers and gifs so far.

Besides gaming, the social media giant already launched a “Businesses for Messenger” initiative to allow businesses to talk with their consumers directly on the Messenger app. Similarly, Facebook is now also looking to make WhatsApp, the other chat app it owns, more brand-friendly. According to Bloomberg, the company is looking into ways to bring the business-to-consumer communication model to WhatsApp.

Taken together, this points to Facebook’s ambitious plan in turning the two massively popular messaging apps it owns into well-rounded media platform that supports its mobile ecosystem. Just last week, messaging app Tango launched in-app ecommerce store in a similar attempt to broaden its reach, but it is obvious that Facebook has a far more advantageous position to capture more attention and leverage that into building out its messaging platforms.

3 Challenges That Publishers Face On WhatsApp

Read original story on: DIgiday

Digital publishers such as The Huffington Post and Daily Mirror have started experimenting with popular messaging app WhatsApp to push breaking news alerts to readers. But challenges abound for brands trying to connect with WhatsApp users, namely:

  1. A lengthy sign-up process
  2. A broadcast system limited to 256 members only per list
  3. The lack of dependable measurements, especially its “dark social” referrals.

These issues are partly due to the fact that WhatsApp was designed for small-scale commutation, not large-scale broadcasting. Nevertheless, for the publishers that put in the work to overcome those challenges, the platform is worth the effort. Huffington Post, for instance, reported click-through rates via its WhatsApp alerts to be as high as 60%.

WhatsApp Going From Mobile To Browser

Read the original story on: The Guardian

In a rather surprising move, WhatsApp unveiled a new desktop web app that will finally let you use the mobile messaging app in a browser. The web portal relies on a constant connection with the smartphone app to operate, and is currently only open for Android and Blackberry users. Messages are seamlessly synced to the smartphone and are not stored on the web app.

Messaging Apps Coming to Smartwatches

The vastly popular messaging app Whatsapp just released a beta update that offers support for Android Wear, extending its functionality beyond just receiving notifications on the smartwatch OS. New features introduced include stacked notification, complete preview of received messages and, most importantly, the ability to send and reply messages via voice-to-text dictation. By releasing this update, the Facebook-owned company becomes a pioneer in exploring messaging apps on wearable platforms, and more messaging apps can be expected to follow suit.

How Apple Can Use Beats To Beat WhatsApp

Welcome the newest competitor to the battle for messaging app domination: Apple.  This week the company announced a souped up version of iMessage that lifts a number of key features from Snapchat and WhatsApp like ephemeral messaging, and photo, video, and audio sharing.  There are three reasons the new product is unlikely to be a real threat to the big players in the space:

1. You can use the platform to interact with other iPhone users, but you need to use another service to chat with Android and Blackberry friends.

2. There’s no compelling product innovation to lure people away from their current go-to messaging apps.

3. Apple is unlikely to steal market share from Snapchat since the two platforms appeal to different demographics. WhatsApp is a more likely target, but it has a huge head start on Apple that’s hard to overcome.

If Apple really wants to shake up the messaging space, it has one big potential advantage and differentiator– Beats.  Apps like Tango have partnered with Spotify to deliver music clip sharing, and Kik has partnered with One Direction and apps like Rithm to connect with teens and acquire new users.  Music will be a key battleground in this space because people love to share it, and Apple is in the position to create a deeper music sharing experience than the competition with Beats in its arsenal.

No messaging app has corralled the entire music industry yet, but it’s only a matter of time before artist pages on these platforms are as ubiquitous as artist pages on traditional social media. Among messaging app owners, Apple is in the best position to get the music industry to embrace its products– iMessage included– since the industry already depends on iTunes.

Every label and artist wants its record featured in the iTunes app store, and Apple has premiered an impressive number of major records in the last two years including releases from Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, and The National.  If Apple gives Beats and individual artists a chance to connect with users through iMessage, the music industry could play an active role in bringing its audience to the platform.

For now Apple’s messaging app approach has positioned it as a follower, but with the tools at its disposable it could easily transform into a messaging app leader. It better move fast, though, because the competition already has a serious head start.

Facebook Sees Users Decline

Although 82% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 have a Facebook profile, new research indicates that in Q2 2014 there was a 6% decrease, across the board, in active usage of Facebook by those users as messaging and picture apps boom. GlobalWebIndex, in conducting a Social study for the first part of this year, notes that Snapchat has seen a 67% increase in its user base, while WhatsApp has seen a 30% increase in the same amount of time and has overtaken Facebook’s Messenger app as the third most popular social app globally. Picture sharing, like Instagram, has shot up as well; Tumbler has seen a 22% increase, while Instagram itself has seen a 25% increase in active users in the last six months. Pinterest is also up 7%. While people continue to visit Facebook, they’re using fewer and fewer things. Overall, mobile audiences are growing globally, signaling a fundamental shift away from interacting via social networks, and towards interacting via messaging.