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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : September 29, 2016

How brands can use chat apps to engage

With the recent WhatsApp move to share data with social network Facebook, many brands are wondering how chat apps and social data can work for them. One expert explains.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Along with the WhatsApp change, Facebook just announced they were adding native payments and buy buttons within their Messenger app - how do you see this affecting ecommerce?

Jason Rothman, GM Mobile + Social, SteelHouse: Single or all-in-one experiences are what consumers crave when it comes to shopping. Serving consumers relevant ads that have direct purchase buttons, in-app, will simplify the entire shopping experience and likely lead to more purchase decisions by consumers on their devices. If anything, it will result in increased ecommerce - especially via mobile. For example, when it comes to converting a user through ads, advertisers might have real success in targeting those users and using interesting imagery to get them to click on the ads. However, once users leave the app to make a purchase on a brand's website...the resulting actions they take are out of the ad tech vendor's control. Purchase ability in-app drives a lot of real revenue, because it's an easy purchase flow built into the same experience.

Kristina: What are the advantages for brands to use chat apps over other apps?

Jason: Eventually, having access to message content is what will really be a game-changer for brands. That is the content that is so unique to chat apps over general utility apps. Having insight into what products, items and brands people are actively discussing amongst their peers will enable brands to not only better target their ads/marketing efforts but also better understand their consumer base. It's that basic visibility into the desires and needs of consumers that could impact anything from ad content all the way up to high-level company messaging.

Kristina: What about placing ads in chat apps - how might this promote engagement?

Jason: This update could eventually help create a more closed-loop and personalized experience for consumers. In time, that would enable an almost concierge-like form of advertising, where consumers actively want to navigate toward it. It's advertising at its best. This news signifies a pivotal step forward for Facebook in potentially becoming a full-fledged contextual ads platform.

Tags: appvertising, chat apps, mobile apps, mobile marketing, SteelHouse

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