Digital technology gives us vast numbers of ways to communicate. While many people use standard texting as their primary means of non-voice communication, a large portion of the world’s population does not.
In fact, according to an article in eMarketer, 1.4 billion people use messaging apps to communicate, order goods and services, play games, and more. Messaging apps have been on the rise. But Americans have been relatively slow to catch on.
Messaging apps have been touted as a “seismic shift,” potentially completely replacing browsers. Almost anything you need to do on the internet can be done using one of the many messaging apps out there. Marketers are also giddy about this shift as companies roll out chatbots that allow marketers to contact customers on a more personalized level.
Messaging apps matter for many reasons. In fact, the same eMarketer article estimates that more than a quarter of the world’s population will be using mobile messaging apps by 2019.
Here are three big reasons messaging apps matter, and some ideas on how to hop on the trend today using some of the most popular ones.
Some messaging apps don’t require that you enter your personal information to create an account. This privacy is something basic texting and even Facebook Messenger can’t offer, and it’s particularly appealing to teens.
Take Kik, is a Canadian-based company whose app allows users to stay as anonymous as they want to be. To create a Kik account, all you need is an original username and display name. You don’t need to use your real name or phone number.
Other apps like Whisper work as sort of “social confessionals” where people can display their deepest, darkest secrets in total anonymity. As with Kik, users sign up with unique user identification codes. This app is more for fun than for function, but it’s pretty entertaining if you want to waste an afternoon delving into the wacked-out minds of its users.
A few messaging apps have kicked anonymity up a notch by instituting end-to-end encryption by default for all users. That makes it almost impossible for anyone to intercept conversations.
These include WhatsApp, Google’s new Allo, and Signal. These three messaging apps are top options if you’re looking for the most secure user experience, and more people are drawn to them. Just look at Facebook-owned WhatsApp. The world’s most popular messaging app has over one billion users worldwide and is only growing as it adds more security features. People want more security when communicating with others, an interesting trend since so many people still enjoy spewing their personal lives all over public social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. In any case, these messaging apps can ensure privacy and security, things often lacking in today’s world.
Some messaging apps go well beyond communicating with friends. They have the potential to include huge numbers of services for consumers – ordering food and calling a cab are just two of the least imaginative.
Two messaging apps already ahead of many western-based apps are China’s WeChat and Japan’s Line, both of which have been around since 2011. WeChat lets users do things like pay bills, order goods and services, and send money.
The Line app with its “all-in-one” design is similar, and popular in Japan, used by 90% of the Japanese population with smartphones, 80% of them every single day. The app works as an alternative to phone and email for communication and also calls itself a “smart portal,” offering the ability to complete many tasks from just one app.
There are so many messaging apps on the market, each with its pros and cons. One pro across the board is that you can freely communicate with people without using up your data plan. That alone is a huge draw for many people. These apps are typically free and very worth checking out. While 2016 might not have been the huge year some thought it would be for messaging apps, hang on to your hats for 2017. It might turn out to be the Year of the Messaging App.