In our smartphone-driven world, mobile messaging apps have risen to prominence among social media networks and have blurred the lines between the two. These platforms, especially the five listed below, should be on every modern marketer’s radar as they become more ingrained in society as a primary form of digital communication.
This week, Snapchat released their much anticipated Discover feature, which will let users see highly visual mobile content from media publishers such as ESPN, Comedy Central, People, CNN, Vice and Warner Music. With a single click of your mobile screen, you now have access to short form video content distributed through these publishers’ selected Snapchat Discover channels. Every several hours these channels are refreshed with content and distribute new stories, some have interactive elements as well.
According to Snapchat’s blog post and video, users will be able to watch daily stories compiled by artists, publishers, and even Snapchat’s own editorial staff. These stories will feature “full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising.”
2. Yik Yak
Yik Yak is an anonymous virtual bulletin board that has a very strong user base among college students. With the app, users are able to monitor the latest things going on in their current location. Since its launch in November 2013, it is now active on over 1,000 US college campuses and plans to expand overseas in 2015. The application is not only for college campuses; for example, during November’s protests, people used Yik Yak to peek at Yaks being posted within the Ferguson geo-fence.
Forward thinking brands could look to monitor conversations on Yik Yak within particular locations. For instance, a brand sponsored geo-fence could be utilized at an activation at SXSW or Coachella, with the person whose Yak receives the most engagement receiving a surprise and delight reward.
Line is another messaging app which is hugely popular around the world, but particularly in Asia and Japan. As with many messaging apps, stickers are popular—many apps use them to expand on the regular set of emojis that most phones carry natively. However, Line’s stickers are so popular—Line can earn $10 million per month—that they’ve launched a separate sticker app entirely. With stickers generating such huge user engagement for the company, there’s a great opportunity for brands to create and push their own sticker packs to Line Stickers for users to explore, perhaps as part of an integrated campaign.
WhatsApp continues to gain momentum, announcing 700 million users this week (more than Instagram and Twitter combined) and its $19 billion acquisition by Facebook. The once primarily mobile messaging app, which is “regularly used by half the population of the Netherlands,” according to Forbes, recently debuted a desktop web app to bring the typing-heavy experience to a full-sized keyboard. As a video-heavy platform, this could mean more screen real estate for sponsored videos (if WhatsApp monetizes that way). The new feature doesn’t cannibalize the smartphone app – logging in involves scanning a QR code with your phone from the computer screen, and the web app shuts down if and when the phone dies.
Kik is a messaging app that has largely been flying under the radar, or at least lower than the others listed here. According to a study commissioned by the company, Kik has highest engagement among 14-17-year-olds, beating out the staple social networks for mainstream marketers. If you’re watching the mobile messaging space, keep a close eye on this Canadian-based startup as it continues to monetize. Last November, Kik began offering ”Promoted Chats,” which allow brands to send stock responses to the masses and communicate with users in a more intimate setting than social feeds. It’s the 23rd most popular free app in the US iOS App Store at the writing of this post.
This post was written by Matt Stanton, Josh Lieberthal and Chris Rooney.