Money from Messaging: The Impact of Brands In the Messaging Ecosystem

This post is the combination of ideas that can happen today and those that we would love to see happen tomorrow. We have developed a handful of foundational concepts that we believe can help any individual or business understand the potential of messaging.

We hope you enjoy and please send us your feedback. The post was designed and written in collaboration with Jonathan Lieberman.

People don’t need another app, they need a better way to connect with businesses. Build meaningful relationships through messaging.

We went to a Warrior’s game this past season, but we didn’t buy tickets to the game. We were invited by a mutual friend. As a result, the Warriors had no way to speak to us after we left Oracle Arena. The opportunity to reach out with a promotion to buy tickets to a game or apparel from any one of our favorite players was left sitting like dried up sweat on the hardwood floor. 
The reality is most businesses don’t know much about the people that make their way through the turnstiles night in and night out. That’s thousands of sporting events, concerts, comedy shows and other special events that miss the opportunity to develop relationships with new and old fans alike.

Take a picture of the code on the screen to begin messaging with the Warriors.

Messaging has the potential to bridge the online and offline experience.

Businesses, in this case, the Warriors, have a direct line of communication to speak to their fans, partners or clients whether they’re in the stands or watching the game from home.

What if you could instantly jump into a conversation with a brand or a business?

That sending a message would allow you to order food to your seat, check stats, buy tickets and much, much more. That’s where the power of bots can be fully realized and appreciated. At scale, only a bot stands a chance of handling the load of so many concurrent conversations.

Today, everyone has a messaging application. They have become the primary entry point to the Internet. Connecting with a brand or a business is as easy as taking a picture of their logo + a code (e.g, Snapcode or Messenger Code).

But, isn’t it just like a QR code?

Technically, yes. However, it feels very different. Unlike the typical QR code, these codes are being embraced by Facebook & Snapchat. Snapping or scanning a code is embedded into the experience. They have elevated these codes and are encouraging regular and repeat usage.

You no longer need to install another app just to read the code and you know exactly where it’s going to take you. They look a lot better, too.

Scan Codes: A direct line of communication to brands or business around the world.

Now imagine a world where scanning that code kick-starts a conversation with your favorite team. Scanning that code means you will never miss a chance to buy tickets to the big game or purchase a limited edition cap or pair of kicks. Imagine brands, businesses or individuals being able to connect their products and experiences instantly, all through the context of messaging.

Website and account information (e.g., billing & shipping information and payment methods) is extremely fragmented and the data suggests that app fatigue is real.

With Facebook Messenger, much like Apple Pay, you have an opportunity to consolidate this personal information into one place on a single platform. You no longer need to create an account, or better yet, add payment or shipping information to transact.

This will change the way we shop online. Less friction, better service.

One Stop Shopping

The other night I was browsing Instagram and I saw a Sponsored Post from 1–800-Flowers. I stopped and wondered.

What if I could talk to 1–800-Flowers right from Instagram? What if instead of a typical “Shop Now” button the call to action said “Message” us?
The typical mobile ad drives you to a website where you are lucky if you have an account. If you do, you are probably not logged into it. Even if you are, it is unlikely they know or remember much about you. Even worse, they will probably try to get you to download their shiny new iOS app. 
What if this new ad sent me directly in into a chat with 1–800-Flowers on Messenger?

Nothing to install, no account to log into. All of your shipping, payment information and purchase history is saved and easily accessible. Customer support is seamlessly integrated, too.

Organic & Sponsored posts that link directly from Instagram into Messenger.

In just a couple of minutes, you can seamlessly buy and send flowers. If you have a question or need help you can chat with support. Bots powering commerce with integrated real-time support is going to revolutionize the buying experience from a mobile ad unit. For the first time in history, this should allow better service to increase as costs go down.

Banner ads can link directly into Messenger. Commerce is only one message away.

Social is shifting from likes 👍 and hearts ❤️ → dollars 💵 and service 🎩. Social metrics are about to undergo a massive change.

Adding short URLs that link directly to Messenger could have a tremendous impact on a brand’s ability to convert their shoppers into buyers. Social media teams could change every bio, post or image link to land directly in a message thread with a brand or business. Paid and organic could change, too.

Commerce is only one message away from every social media post. The notion that you would never need to leave Facebook is huge.

The messaging ad unit could become the biggest ad unit in the world.

Discovery is Undiscovered

There are 1.2 billion people using Whatsapp each month and another 900 million on Messenger. Together they are processing 60 billion messages a day, three times more than SMS. Apple has over 1 billion devices in active use around the globe.

What will be the new SEO? Is it response time? Rating system? Keyword search? A mixture of them all?

Keyword search on Facebook Messenger has a ways to go.

The fact that so many people look at these screens every day means there could be the largest opportunity for discovery that we have ever seen.

Whatever it is, it could be bigger than search.

Adverbs, Yes Adverbs

I’ve always wondered when the day would come that a product or feature might be able to dethrone Search. Adwords is a massive business. Google rakes in 33% of all online ad revenue. That’s $38.6 billion out of $177.6 billion. Their share of US paid search ad spend is a whopping 82%.

And “Adverbs” could be bigger. (Yes, we made up Adverbs.)

Messaging has way more data flying through it than Google’s search box. These platforms are ingesting, indexing and analyzing an incredible amount of contextually relevant content.

What if these platforms could bring me the right service at the right time while chatting with friends?

Imagine you are chatting with a friend about buying flowers for your wife. That within that conversation the ability to purchase flowers presents itself. Conveniently placed so you don’t need to leave the conversation to take action. Never annoying, there only if you want it.

Platforms would need to set a high bar for gaining this type of access. Brands could bid on verbs that would show up just like Adwords but in message threads.

Google could stand to lose significant search dollars if they don’t play in the messaging space.

That said, Google has an opportunity make a splash in this space with the introduction of Gboard. If Google can read every message you send on any platform, they could use keyboard suggestions to link anywhere. That could bring them right back to the top of the funnel on every messaging app. Here is a prototype of what this experience could look like. Notice that in this example Gboard is sitting on top of Facebook Messenger.

“Swipe to Buy” (On Snapchat)

Snapchat is dominating the advertising and content world on social. The impressions and ad dollars are there, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What if Snapchat started bringing on brands and businesses that allowed you to do more than just consume content?

We want brands to have a place where they can tell their stories … in a better way.

— Imran Khan, Snapchat’s Chief Strategy Officer

We believe brands can do way more than just tell their stories.

Gatorade’s Super Bowl campaign garnered more than 165 million views on Snapchat and produced an 8-Point Jump in purchase intent.

What if that intent could be realized? What if customers could seamlessly talk and transact with their favorite brands or businesses?

Below is a demonstration of how a consumer could go beyond content consumption and transact on Snapchat. We call it “Swipe to Buy.”

This has the makings of a better way to do business, not just a better way to sell ads. This has the potential to change Snapchat’s business model from a pure advertising play.

20 years ago was a website. 10 years ago was social media. 5 years ago was an app. Today, it’s messaging. And it is the largest platform shift we’ve ever seen.

Next up: How Google and Apple’s entrance into messaging could change everything. Stay tuned…

If you liked this post, please recommend it below. Interested in bringing your business to messaging? Assist powers businesses on messaging. One platform powers everything. Powering great brands like 1–800-FLOWERS, Fandango, Hyatt and more. If you are interested in bringing your business to messaging, say hello.

PS, we are hiring too

PPS, you can follow Jonathan on Medium or Twitter.

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Jamie Larson