Updated: Nov 25, 2020
In recent years, many of my clients exploring Chat Apps and how to enable those Apps in their customer lifecycle. Instead of seeing as only form of texting tool, businesses see it as 1-1 interactive conversational marketing tool. Most messaging apps also let businesses use conversational marketing to connect with their customers. One of the most common example is Facebook and Viber.
In most of my digital marketing career, I have been specialised on Email, social media marketing and little bit of Mobile marketing but Chat Apps were not focus. Since it was a new area to me, I took a career challenge and joined company who focuses on Chat Apps and SMS as a main channel. And thought I would share with you insights and how Chat Apps can add value into your marketing strategy and drive engagement. Here is demographic and usage for chat apps around the world:
WhatsApp Business API WhatsApp has been focused on premium chat app themselves. By saying that if you are SME, this is expensive channel to use for your communication. One of the inspiration was governments start sending COVID-19 notification to stay safe, Netflix sends new show arrival or Deliveroo used to send delivery notification. WhatsApp Business Registration process is not straight forward, you would need to register through partners and there is list of documents you will need to submit in order to register. Also make sure you have already verified Facebook Business Account.
WhatsApp is only allows notification, and customer service related one-to-one content. Marketing content is only started to allow if your Facebook businesses are registered in Mexico or Indonesia;
WhatsApp business account is tight to only one mobile number and you have limited message to send at the one. WhatsApp Business API allows you to send unlimited message;
If you decided to use Business API, it is expensive and Facebook will decide either approve your Business or not;
All message template needs to be registered;
Depending on the partner you are working with, pricing model is different. Although per message price is defined by Facebook.
Viber Viber is similar to WhatsApp, but difference is they allow to send marketing content. As a brand, you will able to communicate with your customers one-to-one connection. And your customers are able to reply back to your message. If you are partnering with companies like Infobip or Twilio, you will able to see reporting and even you can use Viber as one of the marketing channel in lifecycle automations.
Use Cases like: letting customers to subscribe into your Email and Viber channel. Some of the transactional emails or notifications, you can replace it by Viber - if customer hasn't opened your Email and coupon is about to expire send Viber message etc. If customer doesn't have Viber account, send SMS to let them to download Viber to communicate etc.
Marketers can send multimedia interactive content;
One way or Two way communication is allowed to send. But price per message is different and each country has different price per message.
I would suggest to check with your partner how many countries you can send message as there is Viber regulation that only allowed maximum 20 countries you allowed to send due to Viber reachability;
WeChat WeChat was developed in China and all content is controlled under Chinese government yet most popular chat app. By using this app you will able to reach out to your customers who is based in China and Hong Kong as most commonly used app in these countries. On the app, users can post videos, ridesharing, gaming, shopping, ads and connecting with brands - "All In One App".
Despite being the definitive super app, Pros and Cons can be very long list and I will make a separate post on this specific App.
LINE LINE has been become popular due to their cute emojis and and brands able to communicate. In Japan, LINE is primary communication channel and considered as also "All In One App" - you can order food, make free call, chat, read news etc. If you have large number of audience in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, this app will be most useful chat app and you still able to send marketing content and able to develop own branded emojis return you can collect customer's contact information. So this is good tool for acquisition and survey forms.
During my time working in Thailand back in 2012 - 2015, airline, banks and insurance companies first to adapt in and my ex-company used to develop Marketing Emojis to drive engagement. Conclusion to the Chat Apps are good to have but it is still most expensive channels with small ROI compared to traditional marketing channels. It is still good to have for smooth 1-1 customer engagement for those brands who has broader target customer at specific geolocation. Working in this specific industry, I have noticed companies are looking for an alternative ChatApp solution mostly to replace their SMS messaging due to cost and complexity of country rules. Another reason to consider ChatApps is simply add additional channel into their Customer Service center, so that they can connect with customers easily.
Although brands more towards developing own Mobile Apps which gives full control over their data and able to track their customer behaviour. Let's look at the pioneering brands from each industry:
Food delivery industry: Deliveroo has been switched to email;
Banking industry: DBS banks has been switched to Mobile App;
e-Commerce / Retail: Sephora using Mobile App and Email as their main channel to drive more conversion and engagement;