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Planet of the Apps - How messaging apps conquered the world

1PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world
Planet of
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How messaging apps
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How messaging apps conquered the world
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Planet of the Apps - How messaging apps conquered the world

  1. 1. 1PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Planet of the Apps How messaging apps conquered the world
  2. 2. 2PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Planet of the Apps How messaging apps conquered the world 1. Context 2. Do you know who you’re getting close personal with? Where they’ve texted before? 3. The App-ortunity: What role do brands play in these hyperpersonal spaces? 4. Alexa, what happens next? Future opportunities
  3. 3. 3PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Context
  4. 4. 4 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Vancouver, February, 2016. Joe Gebbia, cofounder of Airbnb is on stage at TED 2016. Nervous laughs can be heard throughout the auditorium. Seconds earlier Gebbia had asked the audience to unlock their smartphones and hand them to the person closest to them. He was trying to make a point. When we’re given the responsibility of handling someone else’s private device, or in the case of Airbnb, their home, we feel obligated to take good care of it. This is how Gebbia explained Airbnb’s model for trust. Over the centuries our most private spaces have evolved; from castle keep to smartphone. This anecdote illustrates how mobile phones have become the ultimate receptacle for private information. It’s not just personal, it’s Hyperpersonal. Javier G. Recuenco, CSO Founder of Singular Solving, describes hyperpersonal spaces as those which involve a number of characteristics, including: Brands can communicate with users in ways they cannot face to face, based on user profiling - they have access to information on interests, traffic history, app usage...etc. The user builds the environment to reflect their most personal values or identity. As Javier points out, “A hyperpersonal space is, therefore, a communication space where you have a basic dual probability to be tremendously relevant or really annoying, on the fringe of personal injury.”
  5. 5. 5 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Context privacy concern As technology evolves, resulting in new solutions and methods of interaction, brands are looking for ways to implement this technology and to connect with an audience that is always one step ahead and which increasingly demands a more personal and private space with room only for those companies who provide real value.
  6. 6. 6 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world The ubiquity of smartphones has massively affected our own interpersonal relationships. We are hyperconnected; we can connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere. We can reach macro-audiences via social networks, and chat with our nearest and dearest through private messaging apps. This is the new digital relationship landscape and it is not showing signs of slowing down; the amount of time spent on mobile devices increases each year. We are constantly and intermittently connected, experiencing what Google calls “Micromoments”. The average smartphone user dedicates roughly 15 to 20% of their monthly mobile time to chatting. How is all that screen time used? We might agree that mobile devices are hyperpersonal, but what role do they really play in our lives? We spend most of our time in front of a screen. Research has shown that the average American now spends half of his or her life looking at a screen, and most of that time is spent on a mobile device. For some of us, the time we spend staring at a screen is even greater. What are spending all our time actually doing? Primarily, messaging others or watching videos.
  7. 7. 7 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world In the following graph we can see clearly how apps help blur the lines between public and private, as the bulk of the time spent interacting with apps is connecting with others. Source: Flurry Analytics, 2015–2016 Year-Over-Year Time Spent Growth Whilst interacting via social networks is still a popular mode of communication, it’s messaging apps that are taking up most of our time. The most popular messaging applications have already surpassed the most popular social platforms in terms of number of active users. They’re also leading in terms of time spent interacting with the platform.
  8. 8. 8 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Source: Business Insider Despite increasing screen time, our attention span is more fragmented than ever, which is only further complicated by a limited amount of space in which to store apps produced in an already oversaturated market. In summary, time is limited, phone memory is limited, but what we’re able to offer the consumer is limitless. People are looking for more direct communication and, at the same time, they’re exploring new ways of enhancing their social experiences with digital tools. In August 2015, a study of US Smartphone users revealed that 43% of smartphone owners used a daily average of 4-6 applications. A recent study by App Annie saw this number increase to 10 apps per day.
  9. 9. 9 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Source: AppAnnie What can we say? People have got a lot to share. Messaging apps are evolving to incorporate most of the activities that we perform on mobile, namely - sharing photos, location or watching videos - three activities which tie in with the top 4 mobile-first activities from this October’s Global Web Indtex Data. We might not perform the original activity within the messaging app itself, but we’ll share it there. As chatbots evolve, we’ll begin to see them used more frequently to consult our bank history or receive shoppable product information.
  10. 10. 10 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Source: Apprival How do you engage users when there is so much competition for their attention? The main challenge brands face, in this landscape, is achieving engagement, and then retaining users. How long till they delete your app? In 2015, eMarketer revealed how app engagement decreased from the first day of download; 29% for android and 25.5% for iPhone, decreasing to 11% and 10% respectively on the seventh day and down to 3% on the 30th day. Other sources claim that 84% of applications are deleted the same day of download, after only one use.
  11. 11. 11 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Spotlight on: REON Energy Consumer context: Insights The unanticipated Reon were in the process of developing a branded app, to promote events and group gatherings around the user’s location. Reon came to Good Rebels with the intention of finding out what their audience might want from the app and what features they could include to maximise uptake. We conducted a series of WhatsApp panels. Each participant was given access to the app and asked a series of questions over the course of a day. Our team communicated directly with participants. Throughout the project, we collaborated with the brand team and the app developers to evaluate the responses week by week and make relevant adjustments. Our objectives and the nature of our questions evolved during the course of the project we had to rethink out focus because the initial response to the app was quite lacklustre. We shaped the remaining waves of questions to focus on a more general perspective. We then invited the participants to come up with new ideas, developing the most popular and creative of these into new app concepts to consider. As a direct result of our findings, Reon made a strategic decision to reconsider their investment in the app. Whilst this might not have been the expected result at the start of the project, it proved to be an extremely beneficial one for the client, providing them with key feedback to help them redefine the project and informing their next steps. Case study
  12. 12. 12 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world In 2016, Deloitte divulged that 80% of apps developed by brands never exceed 1,000 downloads. As the app development market continues to grow at a breakneck pace, the situation becomes even more daunting. Looking at the most downloaded apps today we see that messaging apps (and mobile games) are leading the way. Recurrence of use is higher than average as well. Source: Emarketer Source: Statista
  13. 13. 13 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Mark Zuckerberg, 2014 When Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014, Zuckerberg’s vision of the app landscape clearly reflected our own need to connect with others. Three of the top four most popular apps now belong to Facebook. They understand how people communicate and what they are interested in - and rest assured, they will maintain their dominance in the field of socialisation for some time to come. For the purposes of this study, let’s review our definition of messaging apps: Messaging apps are a bidirectional multimedia communication tool. They are intended to be primarily used on a mobile device and have strong evolutive capabilities in terms of functionality. How have messenger apps evolved to become such a great business opportunity? Because they can provide brands with a measure of relevance that has been so far unattainable on mobile devices. What can brands do with Messaging apps? Let’s reformulate the question - what are users doing with messaging apps? Who decides what users can and can’t do using a messaging app? The introduction of different app functionalities doesn’t revolve around user demand. It is messaging apps themselves, that enforce the functionality of the app, that educate users on what they “Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.”
  14. 14. 14 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world can expect from a messaging app. In a way similar to Facebook - these messaging apps make decisions based on convenience, aiming to provide users with what they did not know they wanted. Source: Global Web Index Since several of the most prominent messaging apps (such as Wechat and Facebook Messenger) have, in recent years, become more like software development platforms, there is now an opportunity for brands to improve their understanding of and redefine how users would most like to interact with them via messaging app. “Talking with a brand on a messaging app feels more personal and like you are getting a better service... messaging apps also provide the privacy you need as a consumer, something which many apps lack.” Rosie Schofield, survey respondent
  15. 15. 15 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Spotlight on: Domino’s Pizza Consumer context: Performance A slice of the Pizza Pie In 2011, Domino’s saw just 17% of all orders placed via digital channels. In 2015 that number surpassed 50%, thanks to the introduction of the Domino’s AnyWare Suite. The AnyWare Suite generated 2.7 Billion total media impressions, and by “AnyWare” they really do mean anywhere; you can now order Domino’s pizza through the Domino’s App, via the Domino’s virtual assistant Dom, through Facebook Messenger, via text, via emoji, via Tweet, from your Smart Watch, from your car, through voice command, from your Smart TV, through Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. “We’re just constantly looking at how can we improve the experience for somebody today and make it better than it was a year ago and if we do that we’re going to grow the business.” Patrick Doyle, Domino’s CEO. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1SrOjuBSEU Domino’s US same-store sales grew by 12.8% during the second quarter of 2015, and, according to Andrew Lincoln, VP and Creative Director at Vispin, The Suite has driven 10.5% sales growth, year on year. While some elements of the Domino’s AnyWare Case study
  16. 16. 16 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Suite may prove less practical over time - as Matt Talbot, VP and Creative Director at CP+B Boulder explained “Dom...was never going to be the most efficient way to order,” - Domino’s commitment to convenience and efficiency has put them in the Top 5 Companies with the Most Digital Transactions, just behind Amazon and Apple. More than 500K orders were placed with Dom during the three month campaign period, Dom’s launch resulted in a 100% increase in Domino’s mobile app downloads, and Domino’s Emoji campaign earned them the Titanium Grand Prix at the Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity in 2015. The Domino’s experience is now even more accessible, more efficient, more enjoyable; and, Domino’s itself benefits in terms of reach, revenue and reputation. No organisation can afford to miss out on the profit potential afforded by the incorporation of messaging apps and virtual assistants. Additionally, non-profits and organisations focused on giving back to society in a more concrete way also benefit from the implementation of messaging app campaigns and partnerships. Whether they’re looking to raise awareness, raise funds, or provide vulnerable groups with guidance and support. We have conducted a deep qualitative study to understand what users currently expect from messaging apps, so before we delve further into how businesses can best utilise these constantly evolving tools for communication, let’s take some time to understand who they are and how they are using this technology. After all, if we, as brands, want people to commit to a long-term relationship, we’d better make sure they know who they’re getting intimate with. Whilst we are following WeChat and other non-european technologies closely, our focus will be on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Snapchat and Viber - the five most popular messenger apps in Europe according to data from Global Web Index. In February 2016, WhatsApp passed 1 Billion monthly active users. In July of the same year, Facebook Messenger surpassed 1 Billion. We’ve got a lot of people we need to get to know better.
  17. 17. 17 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Do you know who you’re getting close personal with? (Or where they’ve texted before?)
  18. 18. 18 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Who uses Messaging Apps? Messaging apps are a global phenomenon, they have become an unavoidable part a life for millennials. Global Web Index (GWI) data indicates that the majority of users are between 25 to 34 years old (32.8%), closely followed by 16 to 24 year olds (30.8%). However, these platforms are popular with companies and consumers alike across all ages and sectors; messaging apps and virtual assistants are being used for personal communication, inter-office communication, product research, purchasing, queries and complaints, campaigns and competitions, tracking and organisation, and in conjunction with the IoT. Using messenger apps and virtual assistants brands can anticipate crises, conduct more accurate surveys, increase reach and make themselves available where it is most convenient to the consumer. We use Siri to set our morning alarm, Alexa to book ourselves an Uber, Slack to connect with colleagues, WhatsApp to catch up with friends and family, and Snapchat to don disguises. In spite of that, GWI data reveals that just 6% of people look to messaging apps or live chat services for more information about brands, products or services. A direct response from a trained professional is surely more appealing than hours of scrolling through product listings and review sites? People trust their peers the most, and to a certain extent they trust celebrity/influencer endorsements - but they do not trust brands. Only 9.4% of consumers surveyed agreed that speaking with a brand representative via live chat would increase the chance of them buying a product. The live-chat services and messaging apps developed by brands are most often used on a needs basis, to resolve specific queries or make complaints - but people are still unlikely to consider them a part of their daily social structure. Why? Ease of use is one of the most cited reasons, particularly when it comes to services that are primarily based on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  19. 19. 19 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Spotlight on: Toyota Consumer context: Creative campaigns Cars can pull too Messaging apps also represent an interesting opportunity for creative campaigns. The sheer novelty of using messaging apps as a platform for a campaign can result in higher engagement and participation from the audience, giving your campaign that added “wow” factor. Short term campaign activations also make for an ideal testing ground, allowing brands to dip their toe into new platforms without making any long term investment. An excellent example of this in action was a strategic campaign we executed for Toyota in Spain, raising awareness of the new AYGO model among target audiences using WhatsApp. The campaign was designed with two objectives in mind; firstly, promoting the launch of the new AYGO and secondly, repositioning the Toyota brand in the eyes of a new generation of potential car buyers. Our team began by looking at the behaviours of this audience and were consequently inspired to create an innovative campaign inviting our audience to flirt with the car via WhatsApp for a chance to win. Thus, #LigateUnAYGO was born. Users would exchange messages, videos, images and audio notes with the car’s profile on WhatsApp. If they wooed it successfully, they would win their very own Toyota AYGO. The car would respond with funny, suggestive messages and media such as ‘you’ve got me fogging up the windows’ to reward interactions and encourage further engagement. As a result of the audience engagement, the campaign generated more than 8,800 pieces of user generated content, exchanging 84,900 WhatsApp messages with 3,300 participants in total. The campaign was successful because it was a strategic, creative idea executed effectively but the use of WhatsApp was what put it over the edge, capturing the attention of the elusive target audience. Video Case study
  20. 20. 20 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Until AI systems are perfected, do brands risk alienating their audience? Not exactly. Consumers expect brand access across multiple platforms, and they expect efficiency and competence too. The question is not should we be investing in messaging apps and virtual assistants, but how can we simplify, advance and humanise the process. Currently the 25 to 34 year old age group is most likely to interact with brands via messaging apps, and they’re also most likely to conduct online product research in this way - an increase in the incorporation of corporate messaging apps and virtual assistants, will eventually lead to widespread acceptance and perhaps even a preference for intelligent, non-human interaction at the initial stage of the purchasing process. “All I wanted to do was speak to a real person, instead it felt like I was talking to a scripted chat bot - and I hate that!” Andie C. 32 We cannot dismiss Dark Social; Radiumone estimates that 84% of outbound social sharing now takes place via private Dark Social channels. When surveyed 79.1% of respondents said that they have used a chat or instant messaging service or app over the past month - and yet these channels are not being used to their full potential. Marketing and Communications executives are excited about the opportunities presented by dark social, whilst also challenged to innovate in order to gain acceptance. Whilst the sheer ubiquity of such platforms makes defining a dominant user profile for messenger apps redundant, we can understand a number of near-linear user trends. The younger you are, the more likely you are to use a messaging app. The better educated, wealthier or more liberal you are, the higher the chance that these apps play an important role in your life. But WhatsApp defies these trends as the growth rate is strong across the board.
  21. 21. 21 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Source: Global Web Index The ubiquity, and simplicity of WhatsApp speaks to our need to communicate in as easy a way as possible - highly educated and non-educated people use this channel almost equally. It satisfies a new “basic need” for people. And we need to tackle the question of whether, as communications professionals, we might simply be talking to people like ourselves. GWI data on regular messaging app users under the age of 35 says that this group is 67% more likely than the general population in the same age category to work in a marketing role, and over-indexes by 54% in the advertising sector. They are more tech-focused across the board, more brand-centric in their interests and politically more likely to vote for progressive parties. There is a risk that messaging app campaigns could be designed by agencies, for agencies.
  22. 22. 22 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Source: Global Web Index
  23. 23. 23 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world The danger of thinking this way, however, is obvious. We also need to realise that these platforms play an important role in a huge, and growing, proportion of all lives. Messaging apps are used by members of older demographic groups at an exponentially-growing rate: nearly half (around 48%) of those surveyed between the ages of 45 and 64 claim to have used WhatsApp in the last month and around a third have engaged with Facebook Messenger in this time. Given that the audience is so diverse, and the user base increases exponentially both in terms of different age groups and other socio-demographic factors, it is easy to miss the nuanced trends amongst users. Here are eight trends to help us understand the messaging app user: Source: Global Web Index
  24. 24. 24 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Qualitative study. Taking a closer look at how users really feel about Messaging Apps Messaging apps are about people-to-people communication, so we conducted an online panel to investigate how users really feel about brands entering their personal space. Our research focuses on the nature of people’s attachment to devices, the intimacy of sharing in these spaces, and the need to be relevant and personalised, within a ‘platform hopping’ user base. It’s widely accepted that all messaging apps will soon incorporate some form of monetization (either for brands or consumers); as such digital marketing has become a “necessary evil” for most users. On the whole, we can conclude the following: Although messaging apps usage is growing exponentially, brands must ‘earn’ the right to engage in these private spaces. Consumers often ‘platform hop’ to avoid brands when they get too creepy or crowded. Acceptance of advertising is directly related to the usefulness of apps or benefits offered.
  25. 25. 25 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world HOW DO PEOPLE REALLY USE MESSAGING APPS? We asked participants to list the most useful digital tools in their daily life. The table below demonstrates which, and the second column details why they are useful, both are listed in order of popularity. Messaging apps were more useful than email making them more commonly used than both voice calls and emails alike. Digital tool (or use) Usefulness WhatsApp Facebook Messenger Email apps (e.g. Gmail) Google docs YouTube Maps Shopping Microsoft Word Digital assistants (i.e. Alexa, Siri) Cortana Google Home Spotify Drop Box Ease of use Sharing Groups/ group chats Being in touch Setting reminders Being at hand Making plans Using internet to communicate and avoiding network charges to message Banking News Weather How are digital tools useful in your life? Make a list of the examples you can think of and explain why. Example response to question: WhatsApp – Communicating with friends and family, organising meet- ups and events GoogleDocs – Organising work for University Excel – Organising graphs for lab work Facebook – Keeping in touch with friends and staying up to date on events and groups I like YouTube – Entertainment and learning tools.(R4) With regards to messaging apps, WhatsApp was most popular, followed by Facebook Messenger, very much in line with recent market research. In this, we found that 92% of participants (13 out of 14) used messaging apps to keep in touch with family and friends, 57% (8 out of 14) used them to organise and find out about events, and 42% (6 out of 14) used them to manage group chats based on their lifestyles and hobbies. Given the relatively recent adoption of virtual assistants, it is perhaps unsurprising that just 28% of (4 out of 14) participants mentioned that they used them (Alexa, Siri, Cortana).
  26. 26. 26 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Participants reported the use of digital tools and messaging apps as fundamental in their lives. These were used for both life administration (shopping, work, banking, event management) and in social activities (shared house chats, musician chat, and Slimming World), which was especially evident in the desire to share content and stay in touch with friends and family. One respondent (Jeffrey, 29 years old) explained that he found digital tools to be an essential part of his modern life requirements: “Digital tools allow me to stay connected and informed with regards to the people, news, and events that are most important in my life. With the touch of a button, I can reconnect with people who I haven’t heard from or seen in some time, I can keep up to date with the latest news and facts, and I can map out routes to places I’ve never been before. In this digital age, everything is quick than ever before in terms of accessibility - and in our fast-paced society, that is ever important.” No just one messaging app People use multiple messaging apps to communicate with each other and sometimes for different reasons or functions. There is no single most dominant app for all purposes. People communicated for different reasons on Facebook Messenger than on WhatsApp for the simple reason that other people used them and so were going to the platform where their contacts were. Additionally, the simple user experience of messaging apps is also responsible for their popularity. One respondent (Daniel S.) suggested that: “I use Facebook messenger as my primary messaging app as everyone has it regardless of whether they are on iOS or not (unlike iMessage) and as pretty everyone has a FB account it’s more convenient than WhatsApp, it’s generally a better app too. My band and I use Dropbox and GoogleDrive to share files and store things we need where anyone can access them. In my workplace nearly everything we do involves GoogleDrive files” When the respondent was asked what would stop them from using messaging apps, he responded that: “I would stop using a messaging app if no one I knew used it enough, which is why I’ve mostly abandoned FB messenger.” These elements are clearly defined and detailed in greater depth in one response when prompted with the question: what would cause you to stop using a digital or social media platform and why?
  27. 27. 27 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world “Usually what determines whether I switch social media platforms is due to what other people I know are using, as my main reason to use these is to keep in contact with other people. For example, while I still use text from time to time, I much more frequently use WhatsApp as, since arriving at university, it is the method that most of my friends and colleagues use. As well as this, it is more suitable for group discussions which I have found more necessary now at university. Usually I would not completely stop using the other platforms, but they would become less frequent. An example would be that I mainly use Facebook for keeping up to date on news from groups I like rather than the messaging app, which I don’t use as often (I don’t tend to use any social media to post my status)” Customer service One of the most novel and interesting findings from the study related to the experience participants reported on customer service received through messaging apps. In particular, the UK organisations, National Savings and Investments (NSI) and Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are viewed as very traditional bureaucracies and who’s customer service is not the most appealing brand feature. On NSI (Beth, age 19): “Usually I don’t get contacted by brands through something like a messaging app. There was one time though when I had to contact NSI over their Twitter direct messages in order to try and get some bonds sorted out (we’d tried this lots of times over phone before). As they were unable to give private details needed over the messaging app for security reasons, the conversation I had was just to sort out some sort of meeting and who I could contact. Having it on the messenger was actually pretty helpful as it meant you could constantly look back at what had been said before and it was easier to keep up the discussion and understand what was going on. I found that it was less common for me to just be given the same advice over and over. Unfortunately, due to the privacy problem a phone call did have to be organised and the problems continued from there.” Laura, 26 on HMRC: “Hey! Oh my gosh! You will never guess who I just spoke to on fb messenger?! HMRC!!!! Can u believe it! They were great! Quick response, saves being on hold for an eternity, so helpful! Actually in shock! I wouldn’t have thought about contacting them or all people through fb! So great!”
  28. 28. 28 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Oliver shares his experience with a brewery: “Ey dude, have you used “left hand brewery” messenger on Facebook? They actually answer! I asked them about that killer nitro chili stout... they don’t have it anymore, but they gave me pretty good options. Answering times were very short as well!” Respondents also suggested that customer service on messaging apps can be positive, but can also go wrong very easily due to functionality, and the inhuman nature of the system. “I once needed to log back into my Xbox Live account but had forgotten the password to my username but also the email I had registered with as I hadn’t used it for years, I spoke to a tech support person through Microsoft’s life chat expecting to not really make much progress but the person was very responsive and really helped me. On the other end of the spectrum when having issues using Deliveroo’s service and trying the get some customer service through their live chat they are very slow to respond, so much so that they will disconnect their own support chats due to timeout/inactivity so you have to screen shot your conversation and start it again with a new person, this sometimes happens multiple times and is really frustrating. Both of these experiences felt different using a messaging app as in the positive scenario I felt like I was conversing with a real person, but in the negative one the delay made me feel like I may as well have just sent an email and not bother as there’s no point in an instant messaging platform if people can’t respond instantly.” (Daniel S.) The importance of relevance People like things that are useful to them but hate generic ads that track them (using re-targeting). “I find them more useful the more my data is used effectively, I love seeing adverts geared towards my specific interests based on cookies or something they’ve collected as it helps me find out about new things I’d want, but I hate it when I get pushed unskippable or intrusive adverts for things that are no use to me e.g. cars when I can’t drive or luxury services I can’t afford, I’d rather give more information about myself to get better ads since they are inevitable anyway.” (Daniel, 24).
  29. 29. 29 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Advertisements that follow users across platforms are viewed as creepy by 11 out of 14 respondents with two additional respondents referencing intrusive ads and one respondent who failed to answer the question. Therefore, the vast majority of respondents found tracking (re-targeting) to be the largest annoyance and the creepiest element of using digital tools and messaging apps. In our creative challenge, we asked participants to write a story for an article entitled “How I was stalked by digital”, in a gossip magazine, detailing experiences of how digital marketing and advertising got too much. Below are two illustrative examples of how digital stalking overwhelmed participants. Creepy 1: Holyday Stalker “Planning a holiday turned into an eye-opening experience. All I did was a search on Skyscanner to get an idea how much a flight would cost to a certain place. As if by magic, the whole internet transformed in a second. Suddenly, wherever I clicked, whichever website I chose, I was looking at flashing banners occupying half of my screen advertising flights to the place I looked up. I know about tracking cookies and stuff so I was not entirely shocked, however the scale frightened me. Also, just think a bit advertisers please. If I go to Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flight ever, then I’m not gonna click on an as that offers me the same flight twice the price duh...” (Gergõ, 26 years old) Creepy 2: Amazon déjà vu “It all started on a Thursday evening as I was browsing through amazon using the app on my phone. I found a bookcase I really liked. Then I found another and yet another. I set my phone down to measure the area where I wanted to put my bookcase (I needed to have the right dimensions after all). I got my measurements and decided to continue browsing through amazon. I couldn’t make a decision and I decided I should browse the shops on Saturday. The next day I was on my way to work and while sat on the bus i decided to browse Instagram. A few lovely pictures - friends on holiday, a friend’s graduation, picture of a baby, a funny meme - and then I saw it. Hiding amongst the pictures, a bookcase much like
  30. 30. 30 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world the one I was looking at the night before. “That’s odd” I thought to myself, “why is that there?”. I kept on scrolling and a few pictures later another bookcase! At this point i was starting to question how Instagram knew I was looking at bookcases. I ignored the thoughts, got off the bus and went to work. Friday morning I get an email from amazon: items you may be interested in. I open the email and there are images of bookcases (most of which I’ve already seen)! Friday evening lying in bed, I open Instagram to browse. I get distracted by the bookcase being featured and end up on amazon and Argos looking at bookcases. I eventually fall asleep. Saturday morning I wake up and decide to go to the shops. As I wait for the bus to arrive, I’m on Instagram when what should suddenly appear on my screen... a bookcase advert!” (Laetitia, 25 years old) Ad tracking was also reported by a participant (Elizabeth) as particularly intrusive: “Ads on Google Chrome seemed to work out that I was transgender before I had said it at all. Just a sudden change in Ads. It was a bit unsettling seeing as I was in the closet to most people at the time. I can tailor my ads, but these appeared anyway.” The reasons to stop using an app or tool were split mostly between two most important issues. Firstly, the ghost town: when their connections migrate to a different platform. Secondly, spam central: when a platform is overcome by too much advertising, fake news and spam. USER ATTACHMENT, INTIMATE SPACES, AND THE GIVE/RECEIVE BIAS User satisfaction in relation to our devices (and, in turn, how we communicate within them) is based on three things according to a study (iii) • Self-disclosure: an important communication behaviour for establishing and maintaining human relationships (and with our device) • Flow: being absorbed in an act, and losing track of time (who hasn’t lost hours on their device, because they’re enjoying it so much?) • Social presence: ‘Instant messenger has been verified to facilitate real time dialogues to provide social presence to users, thus enabling users to forget about the computer medium and feel as if he or she is actually existing in the same space as the user’ We are hooked on our devices, such is the extent that another study (vi) found that 66% of users surveyed either strongly agreed with the statement “I will often check my phone, even if I have not received a notification”, while 60% of users said ”I often feel the need to touch or locate my phone (not performing a task).” They also felt anxiety when separated from their device.
  31. 31. 31 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world • The study found that: “It could be that this increased frequency of smartphone use allows strong emotional bonds to form between the user and the smartphone” to the extent to which 80% of participants reported feelings of distress/anxiety when separated from their phone. • We are forming emotional bonds, and experiencing satisfaction in our life through our phones and how we communicate, and this is an extremely personal space, given how emotional it has become. There is an evident dichotomy between what consumers wish to ‘share’ with brands and what they are willing to receive – as another study (iv) detailed: “consumers show a strong preference for targeted, personalised, in-context information and services…[the idea is] to encourage dialogue with potential buyers in order to gain their trust and better understand their needs.” However, when we get something from the transaction, we are willing to sacrifice privacy for the incentive. Avoiding being creepy by: sharing links one-one, or ‘as a referral from a friend’ means ‘you are much more likely to pick it up than if it comes from a brand’ – therefore ‘sharing via dark social [also] carries more weight as it is normally done one-one “with family close friends, rather than a blanket approach take by other social networks.” MESSAGING APPS: REWARDING ENGAGEMENT Based on the above findings: • Create compelling cases to share content • Exclusivity can make consumers want to join campaigns • Generate ‘authentic advocacy’ so that people genuinely want to share • Use incentives that work to reward engagement • Tailor content to be attractive to people based on insights into their lived experiences, and empathising with need Especially interesting was the desire to incorporate customer service into messaging apps. One DScout applicant suggested that: “They [messaging apps] enable you to communicate with brands in an efficient way. Talking with a brand on a messaging app feels more personal and like you are getting a better service, for example, it doesn’t feel like good customer service to receive automated replies instead of personal messages on a messaging app. Messaging apps also provide the privacy you need as a consumer, something which many apps lack”
  32. 32. 32 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world METHODOLOGY: ONLINE ETHNOGRAPHY PANEL Participants were asked 5 questions around the use of digital tools in their life; interaction with them; experiences of messaging apps including thoughts feelings and drivers to change behaviour when using them. Respondents answered in free text boxes, by filming themselves and by creatively responding to challenges. The findings of this research are detailed below and have been drawn out into themes. The users are quoted below anonymously throughout. REFERENCES: I. Hobbs, T. (2015) ‘Brands are too pre-occupied with Facebook and missing out on dark social’, Marketing Week. II. Ibrahim, J., Ros, R.C., Sulaiman, N.F, Nordin, R.C., Yuan, L.Z. (2014) Positive impact of smartphone application: WhatsApp Facebook for online business’, International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 4: 12. III. Park, Cho, Lee (2014) ‘What make smartphone users satisfied with the mobile instant messenger?: social presence, flow and self-disclosure, International Journal of Multimedia and ubiquitous Engineering, 9(11), pp. 315-324. IV. Persaud, A. Axhar, I. (2013) ‘Innovative mobile marketing via smartphones: are consumers ready?’, Keller Centre Research Report, March, Volume 6:1. V. Rogers, C. (2016) ‘Using messaging apps without being creepy’, Marketing Week. VI. Thorsteinsson, G Page, T. (2014) ‘User attachment to smartphones and design guidelines’, International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, 8 (3), pp. 201-215.
  33. 33. 33 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world The App-ortunity: What role do brands play in these hyperpersonal spaces?
  34. 34. 34 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world When it comes to user expectations, brands are now challenged with providing an exceptional experience, while also inviting users to enter into a personal relationship. There are a number of different reasons why a consumer might interact with a brand; resolution of queries and complains, entertainment, communication, to make a purchase...etc. And we associate each of these different user motivations with its own set of opportunities and risks for brands - as demonstrated in the following table: User behaviour User expectations Brands opportunity How they can do it Demand client service - Information and resolution - Fast and personalised Support - Brand Ambassador Strategy - Chatbots Spend spare time Fun: entertainment and distraction Encourage content consumption // Creating games whose goal is user research - Personalization - Content consumption - Bots Communicate - Trust and connect with others - Share Human voice Brand Ambassador Strategy Pay complete transactions Convenience Enhance experiences Customer journey redesign platform integration Some users first turn to brands on messaging apps for client support but this is only one of the ways to engage consumers that we’d like to discuss. Brands must consider user context and expectations more important than ever. When taking on building relationships via messaging apps, there’s no space for underperformers.
  35. 35. 35 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Spotlight on: OpenBank Consumer context: Customer service Great expectations Perhaps the most obvious application of messaging apps for brands is customer service. Just as Twitter and fellow cohorts have already transformed consumers expectations of digital customer service, it’s likely that messaging apps will have a similar effect. Does the consumer not deserve the ability to communicate directly to a brand with the same ease as they communicate with their own friends and family? Through the same channels? One of the most basic principles of marketing is to go to the consumer, rather than expecting them to come to you. This simple concept is especially true for customer service, where you’ll find that an email address or support links on your own website no longer suffice. And as the platforms for service change, expectations of business hours and response times alter alongside. This creates some interesting implications and challenges for brands. Our clients such as OpenBank, Inditex and Lexus are all facing these challenges head on and exploring the opportunities that lie with messaging apps for engaging with their audiences in new ways, not just with existing but also potential customers and even potential employees. Messaging apps are redefining the role that brands play in the lives of consumers, allowing these companies into new and more personal consumer-oriented spaces. It remains to be seen what the long-term effects of this transition will be and how long before the presence of brands in these spaces becomes commonplace. Case study Designed by Freepik
  36. 36. 36 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world If we want to talk business, we must first talk context. Let’s own up to how we, as users, understand the mobile experience: it’s private, delightful, de-stressing and allows organisations to be proactive. Have companies so far been able to understand the kind of mobile experience users are after? Just about - by adapting the digital advertising approach borrowed from TV. Until now, companies have approached messaging apps in a simple way - passive; more sophisticated but nonetheless equally clumsy, distant, and careless. Brands can segment users efficiently but they still haven’t been able to fully understand their context. Or, at least, we have not seen well articulated value propositions in these hyperpersonal spaces - at least not yet. But the thing is, the more personal our devices, the more out of context brand communication becomes. TV advertising still works well because, despite its flaws, it adapts to the context of the viewer. Advertising via mobile does not. It only works because the user base is growing. Brands in hyperpersonal spaces Source: Good Rebels
  37. 37. 37 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world So here we are. Mobile marketing is doing fine, but we aren’t seeing any fireworks yet. Meanwhile, users are spending hours on messaging apps, enjoying truly personal experiences. The power of messaging apps has been demonstrated again and again. Are brands taking advantage of this? Not really. Is the opportunity there? Absolutely, but who knows how long it will last. For some, utilising messaging apps will result in the strongest and greatest relationship with their audience they’ve ever achieved - if they are able to find purpose from the insights gained during exploration of this new environment. “Digital tools allow me to stay connected and informed with regards to the people, news and events that are most important in my life. In this digital age, everything is quicker than ever before in terms of accessibility - and in our fast-paced society, that is so important.” Jeffrey B. 29 | London, United Kingdom Messaging apps (1041889) The App-ortunity. In the face of these changes in consumption, brands are refocusing their efforts on providing a more wider-reaching presence, making themselves more available to their audience, and any other potential audience. The effort previously dedicated to the development of owned applications is now being used to find solutions that add value to those users exploring a consumer/brand environment previously closed to anyone but friends and family. What’s the point in creating a great user experience in an unfamiliar environment, when we could deliver that same experience in an environment which is not only accessible, but already wildly popular? These new environments that favour messaging apps not only enable a closer, personalised and more direct relationship between the brand and its audience, but also facilitate more natural and fluid communication (which email marketing does not allow), a greater understanding of context and, as a result, greater user retention and linkage. Moreover, brands can obtain data direct from the user, which helps them to better understand their needs and expectations. Are we forecasting an end to owned apps? Not just yet. Brands that have had the ability to generate and link up their own communities, dragging them over onto a brand new platform, have been able to maximise their profits. We see this, for example, in apps that allow direct purchase- fashion brands often achieve even higher levels
  38. 38. 38 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world of purchase recurrence through owned apps than through their own website. However, when messaging applications start allowing direct transactions, without the user having to leave the chat itself, we can expect drastic change. Some companies, such as Net-A-Porter, are already working to close sales through Whatsapp. Barring technological difficulties, constructing a brand presence within messaging apps is a sure bet and, once again, democratises, as in the past with social networks, the way in which users interact with emerging brands. Companies seeking to increase their visibility and linkage with users need to remove those barriers to entry and make themselves available where their consumers are - messaging applications - in the most creative and attractive way possible. How are companies using Messaging Apps to manage their consumer relationships? As messaging apps increase in popularity, they also prove themselves more significant opportunities as new marketing channels for brands and businesses. Facebook and WhatsApp have both recently launched new tools which make it easier for brands to edge into these spaces. However, despite limitations in functionality, brands have already explored a multitude of interesting applications for messaging apps. There are six main areas of application: Insights: Messaging apps serve as a solution for many of the platform challenges encountered by researchers; the setting is convenient and familiar to the participant, it removes the need for a sign up process and allows conversation to flow naturally rather than end up feeling forced or automated. We have conducted a number of insights projects for our clients using messaging apps in a wide range of sectors including automotive, education and entertainment. Creative campaigns: Messaging apps also offer a unique opportunity for creative campaigns, utilising the novelty of the platform to obtain higher engagement and participation from elusive younger audience segments. Short-term campaign activations also provide an ideal testing ground, allowing brands to dip their toe into new platforms without making any long-term investment.
  39. 39. 39 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Customer service: One of the most obvious applications of messaging apps for brands is customer service. In order to be truly customer- centric, brands have to engage with customers through their own preferred channels rather than expecting them to go through their website, for example. The presence of brands within messaging apps has significant implications for consumer expectations of customer service which, in turn, will also affect expectations of business hours and response times. Our clients, such as OpenBank, Inditex and Lexus, are facing these challenges head on. Performance: some messaging apps such as WeChat already enable users to buy within the platform. Others, such as Facebook Messenger, are enabling PayPal purchasing functionalities so that users can complete transactions within the app (this is only available in the USA for the moment). All signs indicate that WhatsApp will launch WhatsApp Payments before the year is over. These advances will mark a before and after in eCommerce. How long till conversational commerce is the norm? If we take this a step further, we’ll soon be having Siri or Alexa replacing our worn trainers after we’ve shared our daily run results. Social Service: social environments are, by nature, meeting points, a place to mobilise citizens and co-create. We have seen how Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have become channels for propaganda in the cases of the Catalonian Referendum and the Arab Spring, and how they have become a key element in the mobilisation of and support for initiatives at Change.org. In extreme cases, such as humanitarian or natural crises, instant messaging is the main tool used to share information, as we have seen in the case of the Mexican Earthquake, where WhatsApp was the main communication platform. Entertainment: brands are always looking for new ways to create value and construct the best user experience, namely, by turning the user into the protagonist of the brand story, so that they really enjoy interacting with the brand. One example of such an engagement campaign is the case of Heineken, which has experimented with gamification dynamics on WhatsApp. They invited users to participate in a digital “pub quiz” to win points. Clarks has developed an interactive storytelling campaign, also run through WhatsApp, in which users could speak with historical figures related to the brand’s history, thereby learning about the brand through an enjoyable and participatory experience.
  40. 40. 40 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Consumer Context Strategic Relevance Insights Drives Innovation consumer data Creative Campaigns Helps brands build awareness Customer Service Develop loyalty Performance Generates conversion Social Service Encourages Co-Creation Entertainment (content) Defines brand experience With messenger apps, convenience is key; and the consumer will reward you for it. Organisations can increase both brand affinity and reach, by making themselves available across as many channels as possible. What impact does a brand’s presence across different messaging applications have in relation to the development of its own apps? Firstly, the former have a larger potential audience that can be reached with fewer resources (in terms of development, download generation and traffic, as well as lower maintenance costs) coupled with a higher return on investment, as they are geared towards higher volumes with, a priori, lower acquisition costs. On the other hand, if, instead of focusing on efficiency, we focus on effectiveness, what openness/reading rate does Whatsapp generate (e.g.) compared to a newsletter? There are sources that place this reading rate at around 98%, significantly higher than the opening rate of SMS marketing. And what of the data gathered? However, the biggest handicap they face is establishing a model in which real value is on offer, one which creates a memorable user experience and helps that organisation to achieve their business objectives. It should also be borne in mind that, as in any outside environment, you are subject to the conditions of the application’s owner, who may later on require you to “pay a toll” to continue in their environment. As demand increases we will keep a watch on the new conditions imposed on brands entering these hereto private spaces.
  41. 41. 41 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Many companies are becoming aware of this paradigm shift in the relationship model between them and their audience, and are articulating new strategies in which they invite their audiences to interact with them through these new private communication environments. It is often the user who, proactively, takes the first step in making contact with the brand. Let’s think for a moment on what it means for a user to add a brand to their contacts to reach them via Whatsapp. They are now a part of that same phone book, in which your nearest nucleus of friends and family, your work contacts wallet and your emergency telephone numbers are stored...symbolically, will they have crossed the barrier into the user’s circle of trust? To achieve this, brands have to guarantee one thing: they will not be intrusive. It is a striking paradox that, whilst 84% of global sharing happens on dark social (RadiumOne 2016), 90% of social media budget is dedicated to measurable platforms (eMarketer 2017). Platforms like Facebook and Instagram fulfill a different role in the consumer journey to WhatsApp and Messenger, but it’s obvious that many brands are missing an opportunity to engage with consumers, on their own terms, and for mutual benefit. Now is the time for brands to learn (and learn fast!) how to use messaging platforms; all the data points to the fact that they will soon be more popular than the social giants that own them. The pupil becomes the master, so to speak. Sean Parker, founder of Napster “Today’s creepy is tomorrow’s necessity”
  42. 42. 42 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Alexa, what happens next? Future opportunities
  43. 43. 43 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Human beings have long felt the need to communicate. Throughout history we have developed a multitude of codes, languages and systems to transmit our thoughts; from the first epistles in the ancient East, to modern mobile phones, we have sought in science and technology ways that will allow us to increase the number of channels on which we can communicate with our fellow human beings. We can be both more “ourselves” and more like the person we wish to be, thanks to these new technologies that allow us to share freely our status, location, stories, virtual experiences and knowledge. “A walk through communication history” (Learn more) Thanks to advances in computing, communication systems have evolved more throughout the current century than in the past three put together. To understand why, we must go back to 1923, when the Swiss Physicist, Walter H. Schottky, published the first theory on the use of semiconductors in electrical circuits. This discovery allowed us to a switch from vacuum tubes to semiconductor components such as diodes and transistors, which are more economical, smaller and more efficient.
  44. 44. 44 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Timeline During the early years, digital communication systems were underpinned by the same theoretical technical principles. Older models such as the OSI, were beginning to evolve and take the shape of orders and rules, which would quickly be adopted globally, and eventually would become the TCP/ IP protocol we know today. From the 1980’s onwards technology matured quickly and the systems that were standardised then, are the same systems we still use on a daily basis in order to send emails or receive texts. These concepts led to an important change in people’s perception of technology; computers, seen almost exclusively as work tools up until that time, were now being used domestically, and occupied a good amount of our leisure time. The evolution of messaging was not gradual, but each phase has had its own purpose and led to some kind of breakthrough; the ability to send files, share contacts, links, events, locations...etc. These elements were adopted over years and what developed was the modern messaging app we’re familiar with today.
  45. 45. 45 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Disruption of messaging systems across devices. It is difficult to qualify whether the increase in home computer sales during the 1990s was the reason for the proliferation of the first instant messaging systems or not. At first, Internet connectivity services were costly and slow, but improvements in infrastructure globally meant lower costs, which greatly boosted the use of these applications before the turn of the millennium, in many households around the world. And despite the fact that during that time period, access to the internet was less common than having a computer, we had already begun to understand that technology would likely play a big role in our lives, particularly during our free time. Data from here Source: Arstechnica Arstechnica
  46. 46. 46 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world With the advent of messaging applications like ICQ, AOL and MSN Messenger, the race to digitally connect people as many people as possible was won. Before the year 2000 was over, millions of people were already exchanging messages using messaging applications on their computers or on their Blackberry device. By the start of the millennium the sector found itself in the middle of a revolution; the unification of email and instant messaging with office automation tools, had a great impact on all types of people. This, in turn, led to the appearance of the first flat rate for Internet connection. Mobile device sales began to dominate the market, thrashing the sales of computers, between 2007 and 2011, coinciding with the advent of modern mobile phones or smartphones, which were already beginning to integrate technology that would allow them to connect to the Internet via WiFi or second- or third-generation networks (2G-GSM and 3G)...etc. Thus, for the first time we had access to a portable device which was continually connected to the Internet, unifying SMS with the first messaging applications. Today there are a number of messaging applications available on smartphone, and although the concept is still still pretty similar to how it was 30 years ago, we cannot say that the experience is the same. Thanks to technological advances, written communication has already surpassed that of spoken in many countries and cultures. Professionally, for example, we depend almost exclusively on digital channels to communicate with our customers, suppliers and even our colleagues. In our personal lives, many people already use Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or Skype more than they make phone calls. In fact, messaging has become so prevalent that our use of it is greater than the use of VoIP and traditional phone calls combined. This is not the result of the whims of large corporations, device manufacturers of software engineers; it is us, the people, who have forced technology to adapt in order to meet our needs and therefore, we use it to communicate in ways that suits us, depending on the time or place. There is an unwritten rule that phoning someone after a certain time of night is unacceptable; but this rule does not apply to instant messaging. The recipient can simply choose to ignore the message, or answer it later. This is one direct advantage messaging apps have over oral conversation; the asynchronicity in communication results in a calmer, more uncomplicated experience, that means we won’t be forced to drop what we’re doing at a moment’s notice in order to converse with someone. We cannot pause a conversation in real life and later continue when we left off, we don’t have the ability to remember all the conversations we have with the people we interact with on a day to day basis.
  47. 47. 47 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world We can remember an idea, a feeling, or an association of concepts, depending on the nature or the transcendence of the information itself, but we cannot pretend that time hasn’t passed since we last saw and talked to one another. Even if we can remember the subject of what we discussed, we can not totally recover the conversation. The simultaneity with which information exchange takes place is what defines the communication type. In the framework of CMC (computer mediated communication), it has already been established that communication is synchronous when the information is exchanged in real time simultaneously, and asynchronous when the exchange is interleaved not simultaneous. Technology has made it possible for written communication to be both synchronous and asynchronous at the same time, thanks to messaging applications. Another advantage of instant messaging communication is that it allows us to keep a history of our conversations. It helps us to remember things like where we were supposed to meet for a birthday party, how much we had to chip in for the gift, or if our cousin finally managed to RSVP. This way, you don’t need to interact with people again to gather the same information, your conversation keeps a record that you can consult whenever you want, instantly. Messaging apps allow me to chat in live time, add videos and pictures, see if other people are online, see if they’ve viewed my message, go back through old chats easily.
  48. 48. 48 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world People machines: lost in translation? We know that one of the biggest trends in technology for 2020 is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Forrester has suggested that compared to the previous year, investment will grow more than 300% before the end of 2017. The best studies and the most cutting-edge laboratories have long been developing the systems and algorithms needed to create more “human” machines. The main stakeholders in this evolution are those who establish direct contact with their customers or consumers. Because people are already accustomed to conversation that flows naturally in the form of text, following expressions and speech patterns used in oral conversation, brand communication is expected through the same channels, and with the same rules applied. Currently, the best way to reduce the cost of this kind of service is through the use of virtual bots or assistants. While there is still much to be explored in the field of social interactions between machines and people, it’s clear that we want something that resembles the way in which we relate to other people in real life. Therefore, we need to understand how the way we think and the way technology works can be reconciled, in order to provide solutions that improve our form and quality of life, with as natural a syntax as possible.
  49. 49. 49 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world How does it work? To begin with, any application, device or service that establishes human-machine communication will go through at least one of the following processes: 1 - Receiving the message The ASR (automatic speech recognition) technology is responsible for interpreting voice waves and converting them into text. This field has evolved a lot in recent years, especially in terms of speech-to-text translation, although application is still difficult due to implicit problems related to security (there is no way of differentiating complex patterns in waves so that we might differentiate between tones), and it is already possible to use complete systems through the use of wizards with ASR technologies. There is still one thing that needs real improvement; emotional recognition. Important advances in the field of medical robotics have already taken place, but in the future we can expect countless applications capable of judging emotion and mood. Sometimes we’re just in a need of a pick me up, couldn’t a computer do that for us if it were programmed to detect differences in mood? 2 - Understand the message NLP algorithms (natural language processing) are used to convert natural text messages, either by direct keyboard input or by ASR module, into information structures that are comprehensible to the systems that interpret the orders or information entered. The beginnings of the NLP go back to 1950, when Alan Turing formulated a theory in his article Computing machinery and intelligence. It wasn’t until a little later, during the Georgetown experiments of 1956, that IBM and Georgetown University jointly conducted a demonstration in which a machine was able to perform a series of translations from English into Russian in real time. At that time the technology available was able to understand around 60 words; scientists and engineers thought that mastering this technology would be easy. They estimated that in five years they would be able to analyse the human voice and translate the language spoken into any other almost perfectly. Obviously they were mistaken; it was not until the 1980s, following
  50. 50. 50 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Moore’s Law, that noteworthy results began to be obtained in terms of comprehension, analysis and the translation of words. Most NPL algorithms work by breaking down information into smaller parts: using basic syntax and morphology rules and an extensive dictionary, it is able to split sentences into words irreducibly creating a syntactic tree. Thanks to this tree, computers can more easily interpret the instructions given to them, analysing who the subject, verb and complements are and then interpolating that request into a list of programmed instructions. If the entered instruction exists and is identified, then it will be executed, otherwise it will return an indication of the impossibility of completing that task. The phrase “Siri call mom”, for example, would be broken down as follows: Source: (Online parser) It is logical to think that the literal comprehension of words does not involve the same complexity as the semantic analysis of a sentence and its subsequent interpretation. Models of transformational grammar designed by famous linguists such as Noam Chomsky, did not solve the problem of how a machine should analyse a sentence with meaning. Back in the 1950s, Turing believed that the question was not whether a machine could think or not, but whether a machine could reproduce the capabilities that are possible thanks to the ability to think. It was already known that technological evolution would force us to build a computational cognitive capacity, capable of memorising concepts, understanding situations, solving problems, applying analogies...etc., the problem has always been the technical limitations, which make it very difficult to apply certain concepts in a functional way.
  51. 51. 51 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Current status: loading. To give you an idea, the difficulty of constructing a logical order from natural language is so great that even the most advanced systems and algorithms nowadays are unable to process instructions containing a series of concatenations and conditions that exceed a certain complexity threshold. For example: “Hi Siri, find a restaurant near me where I haven’t been in the last 2 months that is available during my free time and has hamburgers on offer and a window table, please.” Test it out for yourselves. Depending on the assistant and its programming, it will provide a more or less accurate answer; it will look for a nearby restaurant and perhaps know if there are hamburgers or not, but problems will arise when it comes to constructing the conditioning criteria of the request...not because we do not have the necessary information to complete it, but because of the intrinsic complexity of evaluating different conditions and applying a unified final answer. Worst-case scenario, we’ll be rewarded with a nice BBQ meal out. The following diagram depicts the breakdown of the statement under different conditions. Principal idea or instruction: Find a restaurant: Thanks to word and expression detection, we can link words and expressions to a specific action or set of actions. For example in this case, a google search for “restaurant”. Conditions: 1 - Close First criterion found; location. That I haven’t been to in the last 2 months during my free time 2 - Not been to in the last 2 months If we have a list of restaurants you’ve visited in the last two months, we can filter the final results so that they don’t show up. 3 - During my free time A complex condition, since it would affect the first part of the sentence, but if we know that working time is from 9am to 6pm, we can also filter the results that are recorded in that range of hours.
  52. 52. 52 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world 4 - Discount Hamburgers Another condition, the restaurant must have a discount on hamburgers. 5 - Table with window Last but not least, the restaurant should have a table next to a window. By representing the information in this simple way we can draw two important conclusions: The more information available, the more accurate the answer. Such information should be provided by individuals, organisations and companies alike in order to improve the end user experience. This means that we will not be able to query personalised information from a machine if it does not have access to our logs or data history (purchasing, travel, web traffic, social media activity), just as we cannot ask a travel agent what our ideal destination would be if they do not know anything about us. The ideal (or logical) situation would be for us to decide whether or not we want to provide this information. Therefore, the difference is quite small; the degree of customisation of the services we receive, both online and offline depends on us. We therefore understand that the way in which a machine thinks is based, more or less, on large data sets and a series of predefined logical instructions. Artificial intelligence, for the moment, is dependant on the human mind or the minds that conceive of it. A more recent idea, fostered in part by science fiction, posets that human beings will come to create self-aware artificial intelligence capable of developing their own ideas and drawing conclusions independently. In science fiction, these bots are often a threat to humanity. Well, it’s plausible in theory, but for the time being and without entering into a philosophical debate, it is people who provide machines with their “intelligence”, therefore the idea that a machine could develop self-awareness is one that’s difficult to comprehend. Although they are capable of achieving things that humans can not, for example two chatbots that were able to develop a more optimised version of the language for which they had been programmed. Google has announced that its next product, Google Home Mini, will have a basic voice command interface, similar to their competitors, like Amazon’s Alexa. The interesting thing is that this device will centralise the control of other domestic devices, something like universal voice command. Google has been creating devices that form part of a home ecosystem for some time now. Smart homes are the next logical step. The model being followed by the big technology companies invites us to believe that everyday electronic devices will soon become even more interconnected,
  53. 53. 53 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world collaborating with one another in order to improve the end user experience. You could use a house phone to talk to someone connected to your computer, or to answer a call. If you were having trouble locating your smartphone in amongst the sofa cushions, you could ask your home assistant to make it vibrate or ring. The device in charge of interpreting your instructions may not be the same device that executes the command, but all devices are aware of one another and understand which device is capable of what function; playing music, listening, thinking, storing, heating food...etc. Horoscope: what the future of brand communication looks like for marketers. The technological frontiers that future providers of services will be forced to confront will be largely ethical, because they will directly affect privacy as we understand it today. The understanding that our data is not only being continuously tracked, monitored and analysed, but also stored, may affect consumer confidence in certain companies, but inevitably, society will adapt. We all know someone who compulsively deactivates access to the location of their mobile phone because they’re afraid somebody else is tracking their movements. Well, it’s possible in theory (your device may have malware installed), but in practice that information is simply being used to generate offers personalised to the user.
  54. 54. 54 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Spotlight on: BBC Consumer context: Social care Automation and human centricity During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the BBC launched a WhatsApp group aimed primarily at users in West Africa, utilising the region’s most popular messaging app. Those who joined the group received 1-3 messages a day, and were provided with the latest public health information, preventative care tips, and alerts. The service was free, multilingual, and part of a wider campaign that took place via traditional media outlets like radio and television. “The BBC is trusted by millions...so we are stepping up our efforts to reach people with timely information,” Director of the World Service Group, Peter Horrocks. The BBC was the first media organisation to use WhatsApp to reinforce their journalistic efforts. During their coverage of the 2014 Indian elections, the BBC encouraged their subscriber base to react to developments in the election via Emoji. This resulted in a massive increase in engagement, and the experience helped the BBC to understand which formats worked most effectively; “One of the things we learned [from the Indian election WhatsApp campaign] was that short audio clips worked really effectively,” explained Trushar Barot, apps editor at the BBC World Service, “as people can download and play them at their leisure and share them easily.” Users in regions with lower literacy rates and low bandwidth, also benefitted from the receipt of audio messages. More recently the Delhi Police in India introduced an anti- corruption WhatsApp number where users could send photographic or video evidence of policemen acting inappropriately, applying excessive force, failing to do their duty or taking bribes. Within the first 24 hours they received roughly 23,000 messages, which led to the booking of six policemen on charges. Case study
  55. 55. 55 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world It is often the case that when people generalise about a service (more often than not, a digital service) that service ends up evolving rapidly to meet consumer demand. Normally change means a reduction in process time, an improvement on the visual interface, or a change in the way people interact with each other, but generally speaking the change comes in the form of the experience - an experience which engages the senses, without detriment to usefulness or practicality. This is not to say that we should change everything we do - it means that we will do the same things differently, and quite possibly in a more pleasureable way. As humans, once our basic needs are met we begin to seek actions that will stimulate and please our senses. Little by little, technology has made it possible to automate tedious and costly processes, thereby increasing efficiency. For a few years on, in addition to efficiency we have begun to incorporate speed (immediacy or real time) and natural speech patterns into our interactions within these interfaces. New spaces which are able to stimulate and be stimulated by all the senses; interconnected ecosystems which are present in our homes, offices, cities; decentralised services and access to information and knowledge in a new personalised format. In short, new services will emerge that we have yet to discover but we are sure that they will not only make our lives easier, but more enjoyable. One question you may be asking yourself, do we need to create our own channel for communication or messaging app? Not necessarily. Instead, we should develop a model of collaboration between different already established platforms and applications, like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or WeChat, that provide us with the most important thing: an audience. Additionally, most platforms have their own engine or development environment, which facilities the integration of micro-services performed by third parties. The most common of these types of application are Bots. Many brands are already tripping over themselves trying to implement this new technology which, far from a novel concept, has managed to establish itself as an almost indispensable service for brands in digital environments. Asking for information, placing an order, management queries - all from the same application with which you chat with friends or speak with family - it just makes sense. It’s clear that the user experience is more important than the channel (or channels) being used. Messaging apps are massive, and so, we must act now and take advantage of what is on offer - though we can’t ignore the possible disadvantages or potential complications, such as sensation intrusion, which becomes even more invasive within a personal space like a mobile phone, and even easier to avoid when users can uninstall an application in seconds.
  56. 56. 56 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Communication strategies involving messaging technologies are responsible for an evolution in the field of advertising; the customer is no longer merely a spectator, but an active participant. A message from a brand, through a messaging app of our choice, personalised and relevant, is not the same thing as a general email newsletter which, more often than not, ends up in Spam. Notice that a new book by our favourite author is on sale, and the ability to buy that book and have it delivered within a few hours thanks to a fully integrated sales system within the application itself - that’s the difference. In both cases, the objective is the same, but both the approach and experience are totally different. It is also important to make ourselves available across multiple channels. By doing this, we position ourselves closer to the interests of the individual consumer, which will ensure our audience feels more comfortable engaging with our brand. We must understand that, in any case, it is people who decide how we interact with the digital world, and these people are increasingly interested in accessing services and customer support in a variety of ways, across a number of different applications which affect a variety of senses. If we consider the technological advances made over the last few years, as well as the way in which we use technology, it becomes easier to understand why it makes so much sense that all our devices be inter-connected: we have devices that relate to every sense - hearing, sight, taste, smell and touch. For example, if we want to send a text we use a keyboard, if we want to record a sound we use a microphone, if we’re a video gamer we use a controller, and if we want to immerse ourselves in a virtual reality we use a VR headset. Messaging applications serve to keep people connected, but they have changed the way we interact and communicate with brands; everything is now more accessible, faster and much easier.
  57. 57. 57 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world Spotlight on: Hellmann’s Consumer context: Entertainment Ingredients for success Hellmann’s Mayonnaise wanted to establish a reputation as that ingredient you first reach for when you’re trying to salvage a meal, or create something out of nothing. To do this, they created a website where users were invited to register their mobile number, and in return, receive authentic master classes in cooking, taught by a team of expert chefs, through WhatsApp. The process was both simple and brilliant; users could take a photo of the inside of fridge, indicating the number of ingredients they already had access to, and they were then rewarded with a personalised cooking tutorial that would help them get the most out of what they had in stock - all centred around an essential protagonist - Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Hellmann’s leveraged every feature available on WhatsApp in order to create a full and engaging user experience by incorporating the sending of photos, videos and voice messages into the campaign - generating content in multiple formats and creating true branded storytelling - conquering the minds and stomachs of their audience. The campaign, which was originally launched in Brazil in 2014, was replicated in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay, impacting more than 5 million people. More than 13,000 people registered (1 out of every 2 visitors to the site registered their phone number), and 99.5% of users were satisfied with the solution offered by their chef. The tag indicates that, on average, each user interacted 65 minutes with the tag. Video Case study
  58. 58. 58 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world In conclusion. As we’ve seen, the way users communicate has changed considerably over the past few years. These more intimate and more complex spaces have been out of reach for many companies, but with knowledge of new user habits and a new set of possibilities provided by developers, there are now far more opportunities for brands to join in. We can conclude from this study: Messenger apps are the leading digital platforms for users in terms of time spent, and they are broadly accepted among all kind of users. The degree to which users allow brands into their private spaces is dependent on the value proposition. Generic and intrusive communications are not welcome. Users are willing to use messenger apps as a platform to receive new services from brands. Furthermore, they perceive brands that develop new services through messenger apps as innovative and friendlier. Messenger apps are an ideal channel in which to develop a new way of interacting with your customers. Services such as customer support, sales or commercial information can be delivered in a more user-friendly way and with immediate advantages in terms of effectiveness and costs. The success of all these initiatives is conditioned by the policies applied by app developers, divided between gaining user loyalty and monetisation. Artificial Intelligence is a big ally for brands as it combines lower operational costs with the ability to understand and offer users personalised proposals.
  59. 59. 59 PLANET OF THE APPS How messaging apps conquered the world #REBELTHINKING We are Good Rebels We create experiences at the intersection of people, brands and technology. Our purpose is to improve the companies relationships with their clients, their employees and society as a whole. We inspire organizations to focus on people, boosting the short-term results, while we enable them for tomorrow’s disruptive scenarios. We believe the most solid organisations are those focused on people. Those who work their human relationships as an intrinsic part of the business. Those which respond to the demands of different social actors so as to generate value and transcendence. We are powered by 130 Rebels working from 6 offices in the UK, Europe and Latin America. Our work currently spans over 30 clients, across 9 countries and in 15 languages. REBEL THINKERS Iñaki Bagazgoitia Julio Fernández-Sanguino Judith Garijo Adam Gill Pedro Jesús González Amelia Hernández Natasha Morrison Mark Ralphs Daniel Requejo Ellen Thomas CONTACT rebelthinking@goodrebels.com