Telegram Adds Apple Pay Support For Chatbot Payment

What Happened
Encrypted messaging app Telegram has updated its iOS app to add support for Apple Pay for its Bot API, allowing chatbots on its platform to accept payments and complete transactions without leaving the app. Users can now buy a cute handbag, order food deliveries, or hail a cab simply by chatting with one of the bots available on Telegram before authenticating the purchases via TouchID. Telegram first introduced chatbots nearly two years ago, and it is working with Stripe to enable payments. The company also has plans to add support for more localized options so as to support conversational commerce on its platform in global markets.

What Brands Need To Do
While Telegram’s user number pales in comparison to that of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, this Apple Pay integration nevertheless shows a good example for designing a frictionless user experience to facilitate conversational ecommerce. With messaging apps quickly taking over texting and phone calls, especially among the younger generations, it is important that brands keep a close eye on the development of conversational ecommerce and evaluate each platform to determine the ones that they can reach customers with.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building chatbots to reach consumers on messaging interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: TechCrunch

 

Why Coach Ditched Its iOS App For An iMessage App

What Happened
Luxury fashion brand Coach has pulled its iOS app as part of a new mobile strategy to connect with consumers. After a few years of slumping sales, Coach is looking to right its course by going where consumers already are. The company revamped its website to make it mobile compatible and launched an iMessage app called Coachmoji to drive mobile engagement. Coachmoji, consisting of images from Coach’s collection grouped by themes, lets users share “inspiration boards” in chat. The company is planning to allow users to shop directly from the iMessage app.

What Brands Should Do
Coach’s strategy mirrors the ongoing trend of brands establishing a presence and reaching customers on emerging platforms. Other early-adopting brands such as Burger King, Disney, and Toyota have created branded stickers for iMessage. While it remains to be seen how Coach will execute its plan to add an ecommerce component to its iMessage app, it is commendable for adopting a mobile strategy that reflects the reality in mobile user behavior. While Smartphone users spend almost 90% of their time on devices using mobile apps, 90% of branded apps have fewer than 10,000 downloads. In contrast, eMarketer predicts that messaging apps will reach 80% of global smartphone users by 2018. With more and more people choosing messaging apps as their primary means of communication, more brands should start exploring the marketing potential of messaging platforms.

 


Source: Glossy

 

WhatsApp Shares User Data With Facebook & Readies For Business Accounts

What Happened
Popular messaging app WhatsApp announced today that it will start sharing a limited amount of user data, including individuals’ phone numbers, with its parent company Facebook. This will allow Facebook to offer better friend suggestions by mapping users’ social connections and deliver more relevant ads on the social network. The company is also planning to allow businesses to use its service to connect with users by the end of the year, allowing them to send targeted promotional messages.

Why Brands Should Care
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, amassing over one billion global users so far. Previously very cautious towards ads, WhatsApp is now laying the groundwork for monetizing its service by easing its privacy rules. By opening up part of its user data to Facebook, it is giving the social network a boost in reaching mobile consumers, especially those in international markets where Whatsapp is most popular in, with more targeted messages via its ad network. For brands with an international presence, this should come as a welcomed change that heralds future opportunities in reaching customers on the messaging app.

 


Source: TechCrunch

 

Kayak Wants You To Book Flights By Texting A Slack Bot

What Happened
We first heard in December about Kayak’s plan to build a messaging-based app that allows users to text travel queries to get recommendations. Now, the travel site has used Slack’s API to develop a chat bot that allows Slack users to search for flights and hotels. Users can message Kayak’s bot with simple inquiries such as “/Kayak hotels in NYC this weekend,” and the bot will reply with a selection of hotels available with prices, user ratings, and photos.

What Brands Need To Do
Texting is quickly becoming a preferred way to talk to businesses and brands for many consumers, thanks to the dominating popularity of messaging apps. Kayak is one of the several travel brands getting on board with messaging apps. Just a few weeks ago, Dutch airline KLM became the first airline to integrate with Facebook Messenger to offer users customer support. With more and more people using messaging apps as their primary communication channel, it is crucial for brands to follow their customers and consider integrating their service into popular messaging apps.

To learn more about how brands can navigate the unique challenges that messaging apps present, check out the Conversational Interfaces section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: Digital Trends

Messaging App Kik Introduces Branded GIFs

What Happened
On Wednesday, messaging app Kik introduced branded GIFs to its platform, as an extension of its emoji keyboard. The first two brands that signed on are Paramount Pictures and WWF, which will start providing GIFs of Zoolander 2 and cute animals, respectively, for Kik users. Kik says it will open the initiative to more partners over the coming months.

What Brands Need To Do
Stickers have become an important monetization tool for some messaging platforms. For example, LINE, a messaging app popular in Japan, made $75 million from its user-generated sticker market in its first year. Kik’s new support for branded GIFs should provide a great way for brands to engage more naturally with users with fun branded content.

 


Source: Marketing Land

Header image courtesy of Kik

Snapchat Teamed Up With The NFL To Sell Ads In Super Bowl Live Story

What Happened
Snapchat has sold out the ad spots in its Live Story for the upcoming Super Bowl, with Marriott, Budweiser, Pepsi, and Amazon on board as sponsors. Video ads from these sponsors will run amid the Super Bowl Live Story, which gains its content from a content partnership that Snapchat inked with the NFL in September. As part of the deal, the ad revenue will be split between the NFL and Snapchat, who missed out on last year’s Super Bowl when it sought a single brand to sponsor its Live Story for $1.77 million.

What Brands Need To Do
Through this NFL deal, Snapchat shows it is getting serious on buffing up its content offerings and turning its vast user base into a monetizable audience. For brands that wish to reach young millennials and centennials, Snapchat is a platform that should be taken into consideration. Besides Live Stories, brands can engage with Snapchat users by posting their own content or purchasing video ads in its Discover channels.

 


Source: Digiday

Kik Partners With MediaBrix To Incentivize Ad Viewing

What Happened
Kik, a messaging app popular among teens, has struck a partnership with MediaBrix, an in-app ad platform, to help it deliver brand messages in a fun way. The plan is to reward users with Kik points, which can be used to unlock special emojis, stickers, and other exclusive Kik content, when they opt to watch an ad or play a branded mini game on Kik’s platform.

What Brands Need To Do
With the rise of ad-blockers and subscription services, it is getting increasingly difficult for brands to reach consumers, who mostly see traditional ads as a nuisance to be avoided. But Kik’s approach to in-app ads here points to a new direction where brands can earn attention by creating branded content that is part of the user experience. For brands looking to reach today’s elusive mobile audience, encouraging brand interaction with value offers and rewards is a good way to go.


Source: AdWeek

Header image courtesy of MediaBrix’s press release

Microsoft Adds Branded Stickers To Skype

What Happened
With the launch of a new feature named Moji, popular video-calling app Skype has added stickers to its chat windows across all platforms. Unlike most stickers in other messaging apps, however, Skype collaborated with Microsoft’s media partners such as Universal Studios, Disney, and BBC to allow users to share short moments from popular movies and TV shows in GIF form.

What Brands Should Do
This new feature is one of the most recent development in the evolution of branded stickers in messaging apps, which offer brands and media owners a new way to make their content available to consumers in conversational contexts, while also enabling fans to share and spread the content. In some cases, content owners also charge an in-app purchase fee for the stickers, which gives them a new revenue stream. As messaging apps continue to diversify their services and revenues, brands should consider making their popular Intellectual property available in sticker form.

The Lab has extensive experience working with brands to develop campaigns and communications strategy for messaging platforms. Last year, the Lab developed a campaign on Kik for Sony Music to promote a new album launch of popular boyband One Direction, which later earned us a Smarties Award from the Mobile Marketing Association. To learn more about sticker usage and brand opportunities on messaging apps in general, you can contact our Engagement Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) and schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

Why Kik Raised $50 Million From Tencent

What Happened
Tencent, one of the biggest internet company in China, has invested $50M in Kik, the Canadian company behind the messaging app of the same name. By working with Tencent, maker of the immensely popular Chinese messaging app WeChat, Kik will no doubt benefit from WeChat’s experience building the most sophisticated messaging platform in the world and aggressively pursue similar strategies. The competition with Snapchat and Facebook Messenger will get more intense.

What Brands Should Do
As the messaging apps continue to diversify their services and revenues, brands, especially those eager to connect with the millenials and younger audiences, would be wise to realize the vast potential that messaging apps hold as full-fledged media platform, and develop a communications strategy for messaging platforms.

Last year, the Lab developed a campaign on Kik for Sony Music to promote a new album launch of popular boyband One Direction, which later earned us a Smarties Award from the Mobile Marketing Association.

 

Source: TechCrunch

Snapchat Reveals Plans To Be More Brand-Friendly

Read original article on: Marketing Land

In an interview at the Code Conference this Tuesday, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel did his usual round of horn-tooting about the rapid growth of the app, hinted at an ambitious plan for IPO, and revealed some future plans to make Snapchat more brand-friendly.

Spiegel said the company would eventually add a self-service ad platform to “make it easier for brands to be brands”. So far brands can only get on the platform by purchasing expensive ad units within its Stories and Discovery features, and a new self-serving ad platform would certainly give brands more freedom to test and explore the messaging app. However, don’t expect Snapchat to start actively helping brands with more organic use of the platform just yet, as Spiegel seems to consider it “frustrating when brands come on to [Snapchat] and tries to act like a person”.