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Are messaging apps the future of social networking?

Matt Kapko | July 17, 2014
Mobile messaging apps are the 'new face' of social media with global audiences in the hundreds of millions, according to a new report from Forrester. But where do the marketing opportunities lie?

The online and offline worlds are merging because of mobile, according to Forrester. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel drove this point home in a keynote at the AXS Partner Summit earlier this year: "The traditional social media view of identity is actually quite radical: You are the sum of your published experience. Snapchat says that we are not the sum of everything we have said or done or published — we are the result. We no longer capture the real world and recreate it online - we simply live and communicate at the same time."

This is leading to more expressive, raw and emotional forms of instant social communications, Husson writes, and it's helping users evince their identities in the process.

"The fragmented nature of the social media ecosystem is inherent to the fact that individuals have multiple identities," says Husson. Under the current framework it makes perfect sense for an individual to use LinkedIn for business pursuits, Tinder for dating and maybe Secret or Whisper to pour their heart out anonymously.

Marketers: Keep Your Eye on Messaging Apps
While the marketing opportunities on messaging apps are still nascent, Forrester encourages marketers and brands to keep their eye on the ball. "Because most of your customers won't visit your own mobile website and even fewer will download your app, messaging apps often provide the best opportunity to reach your customers on mobile phones — especially in emerging markets where the audience of these apps is skyrocketing," writes Husson.

Forrester encourages savvy marketers to experiment with these platforms, learn about the complex and fragmented ecosystem and look to Asia for inspiration and scale from brands like Coca-Cola, Maybelline, McDonald's and Starbucks.

 

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