I predict that 2019 will see a step-up change in messaging; from the features it offers, to the uses in business, the competitive landscape and the technologies involved. At the end of last year, I presented my predictions at a Glug Bristol event. Now, I’d like to share them with you.
To understand why messaging is increasingly important, it helps to know where it’s come from. So, to save you the leg work, you can read my thoughts on the ‘evolution of messaging,’ which looks at the history of messaging, how popular messaging is, what makes messaging so important and how messaging has overtaken social.
With 100 billion messages sent worldwide each day, it’s clear that messaging is an important and evolving technology. Over the next year or so, we can expect to see the adoption of messaging in businesses grow, which will increase competition for providers, chatbots, sentiment analysis and even skilled copywriters! The new messaging features we can expect to see will help monetise messaging and work towards narrowing the emotion gap.
1) the new frontier for business interactions
Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of messaging in our everyday lives, 89% of consumers would like to communicate with businesses through messaging. However, only 48% of businesses are equipped to connect with customers through messaging, as most businesses continue to reach people over phone and email. This creates a huge opportunity for innovative businesses.
Business messaging will be big business! Competition will come from Intercom, Facebook’s messenger business, WhatsApp for business and eko. Chat platforms such as Intercom that enable messaging on websites, (including huggg’s chat) will increase in importance and number. WhatsApp has announced its first monetization option is going to be in WhatsApp for business, where it will charge businesses for replying to customer queries in WhatsApp.
Messages are more interactive than traditional comms, and therefore informal language has more of a place in this channel. Businesses need to start sounding like real people again! We may see that skilled copywriters will become more influential to company branding, than designers.
Businesses with large numbers of customers and enquiries will need to increase their use of chatbots, as they will be inundated with messages.
7% of communication is done through words, the rest is lost. Technology in chatbots will need to do what humans do naturally, and recognize sad, angry and happy emotions.
2) competition in providers
The Android platform powers 80% of the world’s smartphones, but currently it doesn’t have a single common messaging platform like iMessage. So, Google is hitting back. It is building RCS – Rich Communication Services – which will be native in all Android phones. It will be homogenous across all phones so it has the potential to be better than all the current messaging platforms. Google just need to get all carriers on board and they’re only part way through that. RCS is a massive structural threat to the messaging world.
Whether this will happen or not, I don’t know, but it is probably Facebook’s biggest fear. It is ahead of the curve in terms of technological features, integrations and UX, so it could threaten Facebook’s global dominance.
The iPhone enables developers to deploy apps to smartphones. Now, some messaging apps have their own app stores, which could disrupt the app store itself. One example of this is Apple’s native iMessage, which has a number of apps available – huggg being one of them. If you haven’t tried sending hugggs on iMessage yet – it’s worth trying. It’s simple and fast, and therefore my favourite way to send hugggs.
In the same way that WhatsApp is monetising, we will increasingly see messaging platforms find new ways to grow revenue other than just selling advertising and user data. Some will look to monetise by increasing competition against intercom. huggg is another example of an app monetising messaging. Our users buy treats and rewards, such as coffee, cakes and cinema tickets, which they then message to friends, family and colleagues to redeem at one of our partner locations.
3) more features
As for the snazzy new features we can expect? Look out for introductions and improvements in:
4) the emotion gap
Only 7% of communication is carried out through words. So, there is still an emotion gap that hasn’t been solved in messaging. Messaging will evolve to address this need:
One of the most successful acquisitions in messaging history was Snapchat’s acquisition of Bitmoji. Snapchat paid around $100million, but it has been its biggest money spinner, as you can now put your own Avatar image into Snapchat.
Allows users to seemingly touch using haptics.
There is a general backlash against technology encouraging more screen time and more of a movement towards using technology to create real-world interactions. Just as huggg facilitates a user trying out new independent coffee shops nearby or a trip to the cinema.
At huggg, we plan to be part of the next wave of messaging evolution and disrupt the 250+ billion dollar messaging industry by adding real products to everyday communications. With huggg, you can now attach a coffee, cake or cinema ticket to a message, which means you just paid for your employee, customer or friend to walk next door and enjoy the real thing.