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Marketers want more guidance on messaging apps

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in the US released a report last week intended to give marketers and publishers some much-needed guidance on the growing world of messaging apps.

These include both pureplay apps, such as Facebook’s Messenger, Kik, and Viber, and hybrid apps, which have a messaging functionality that’s not necessarily the primary function, such as Instagram, Tinder and Tumblr.

The report noted the rapid expansion of messaging options, which increasingly offer functions beyond chat to enhance the consumer experience, including chatbots, music, stickers, games and more.

“This can be seen in the explosion in the use of emoji in messaging: This year, over two trillion emoji will be used in the US alone,” David Kalmar, vice president of consumer science at Emogi, stated in the report.

But most marketers and publishers are still in the dark when it comes to monetising and measuring the impact of these apps, let alone related opportunities like chatbots.

“Messaging today is very similar to where traditional social media was in 2007/08,” Evan Wray, co-founder and vice president of Swyft Media, said in the report.

“Brands know that there are hundreds of millions/billions of highly engaged users, but these same brands are also still trying to figure out exactly how to engage these users effectively.

“This is a massive opportunity for first movers in the messaging space, just like there was in 2007/08 for those brands that took advantage of social.”

The IAB in the US has committed itself to making case studies available and developing best practice guidelines for the rapidly evolving space.

Meanwhile, the group in Australia will assess the need for a similar ‘Messaging 101’ report for marketers Down Under.

“We welcome this new report from the IAB in the US and will review the need for a localised report in the Australian market,” IAB Australia’s research director Gai Le Roy told Internet Retailing.

Le Roy said there is strong growth in the use of both pureplay apps and messaging services integrated into other social services in Australia.

“According to Nielsen’s [monthly] Digital Ratings, nearly 13 million Australians are using a pureplay messaging app on their smartphone or tablet every month, and our increasing comfort in using these services is highlighted by people spending over four and a half hours on average [on these apps] each month,” Le Roy said.

“It is no surprise younger people spend significantly longer on these apps.”

She said this presents a big opportunity for retailers to engage directly with customers for a variety of purposes.

“With over 16 million Australians visiting commerce sites or apps each month, there is a great opportunity for retailers to communicate with consumers via messaging for marketing, promotion and customer service,” Le Roy said.

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