Industry leaders agree that India is emerging to be a mobile first market where mobile is the first individually owned digital device. The fall in the prices of smartphones and the ease of access has led to a surge in activities such as mobile messaging. Messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Hike, LINE and WeChat continue to lure the consumer community but it is interesting to note how marketers perceive this uptick in mobile messaging apps.
Marketing via personal messaging app does promise a dedicated and focussed audience but the trick lies in creating suitable content keeping the platform and consumer in mind.
Marketing through mobile messaging gives a higher level of engagement. Consumers are more likely to view the advertisement via mobile messaging as compared to print, television and mailers sent by the brand through e-mail, according to Sayan Banerjee, Vice President and Head – Client Relationships at iProspectCommunicate2.
Mobile messaging guarantees higher visibility of the advertisement on back of popularity of the platform. One of the attribute of the marketing that the advertisers can afford to neglect is the availability of the consumer at the delivery point of the message as the consumer is connected to his hand-held device through the entire length of the day. As marketing via mobile messaging gathers pace, consumer themselves are expected to amplify the reach of the platform.
Among the first one to test water is travel planning website Goibibo.com. “As an online travel platform, Goibibo.com leverages WhatsApp to enable hoteliers and lodging owners to easily post their pictures on our platform. This is something unique that we have done,” said Ashish Kashyap, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer at ibibo group.
“As these messaging applications open up platforms to developers and marketers (like the way Facebook has done), it will create a whole new paradigm of mobile marketing ranging from Groups, viral(s), payments, loyalty, etc, “ Mr Kashyap added.
But, one of the major challenges for the advertisers will be to get the attention of the consumer to the mobile communicating platform without interrupting their private space. With increased used of mobile messaging platforms the privacy of the consumer has comes under threat.
Largely the brands levering the mobile messaging platforms to communicate its message to the consumers are the ones that belong to the Small and Medium sized businesses or SMBs. Mobile messaging platform serves them the best as they work with limited or no advertising budgets, leaving very few ways for them to connect with their consumers.
However, the trend is expected to change once the big daddies of the industry unlock the potential in mobile messaging as a form on large scale advertising. The entry of big brands into marketing via mobile messaging apps is expected to transform the landscape as they will bring innovative strategies and the vast consumer base into the business.
It is imperative that marketers device forward looking strategies to communicate their message using mobile marketing without being intrusive. There is a very fine line between accessing personal messaging platform for advertising and constantly flooding the consumer’s message box with advertisements that appear spammy.
The history of SMS marketing has shown that unless used wisely, the platform will attract its own form of DND (do not disturb) making it difficult for all players to access a medium. The WhatsApp marketing strategy too can backfire if consumers do not support the idea of marketing on a platform that at meant for personal messages and the only way to address this is by putting the consumer first.