How Messaging Apps Could Change Social Media

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April was a big month for one-to-one communication. Between Facebook's bot store for Messenger and Kik's messaging app, developments in the social sphere point to online activity happening less in public and more in private groups and messaging apps.

Let's consider the latest statistics on such apps:

  • According to The Economist, over 2.5 billion people have at least one messaging app installed.
  • Messaging market leaders, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook), have almost one billion monthly users each.
  • WhatsApp users average nearly 200 minutes each week using the service.

There's something about a one-to-one conversation that makes things more personal and trusted - attributes we strive for in our advocacy work daily. While very few organizations have thoroughly explored the dark social trend of messaging apps, brands such as Adidas continue to test the platforms' potential. Their senior director of global brand communications may have said it best:

"WhatsApp was specifically chosen as our research shows that consumers already use the app to create their own micro-communities. Adidas wants to be the most personal brand, so we need to know and understand our consumer in order to have a meaningful relationship."

Right now, it's a bit of a mystery as to what type of content can be shared successfully among messaging app users - especially in the advocacy world. Experiences on these platforms remain opt-in, much like email lists, and with that permission comes higher expectations about content relevancy.

Until now, standing out in news feeds has been the primary goal of our digital advocacy strategies. But what about when these feeds are no longer the first place people turn for education and interaction? As our team continues to research applicable strategies, I encourage you to stay up to date on these and other online communications strategies by joining the Digital Advocacy Institute.