The growing profile of messaging apps has given rise to a new form of personalisation and new opportunities for communication
"Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you,” wrote Joseph Heller in the novel Catch 22. But it is doubtful he envisaged that algorithms used by search engines, social media platforms and websites would be after you to ‘personalise your experience’. Consequently, perhaps, personalisation and privacy have taken a new direction with the shift to messaging as the go-to communication platform.
Search and social media platforms derive their income from advertising, so it makes sense for them to tailor what users see. Facebook’s presentation at the AI Summit in San Francisco explained how artificial intelligence (AI) is used to personalise the pages of each of its 1.7 billion users. ...
Brands join the conversation
The iMessage App Store is a case in point, offering apps and extensions which perform actions within a conversation.
Jason Alan Snyder, CTO at Momentum Worldwide, underlines the experiential nature of bringing brands to messaging. “Machine intelligence makes conversational commerce possible even in a ‘private’ conversation,” he says. “It is all about timing, so it makes sense to use data around location, weather and sentiment to determine the right opportunity to engage.” Crucially, personalisation must be subtle and appropriate. “For example, it is not awkward to use an iMessage app to call an Uber or book a restaurant within the context of a conversation.” And messages increasingly include emojis and stickers, which represent a massive opportunity for brands.
“Messaging is peer to peer,” observes Vivian Rosenthal, founder of Snaps, which creates chatbots, emojis, GIFs and stickers for brands. “There’s an immediacy that just isn’t there in social.”
It’s all about opting in. “Traditional pop-ups and banner ads are annoying,” she adds. “They get in the way of something else you want to do. You’re actually choosing to send an emoji or a sticker to your friend. That presents a seismic shift for advertising in terms of opt-in behaviour.” Global brands recognise the power of emojis to use consumers to spread their message and are shifting their advertising budgets to messaging. .
Bonin Bough, former chief media and e-commerce officer at Mondelez International, predicts that whatever existed in email will soon exist in messaging. “If a brand is sending me an email, that brand is going to one day send me a message … every single media company will become a messaging company.”