Interview with Ryan Dearlove, the rise of social messaging apps in marketing.

12 mins read

We spoke to Ryan Dearlove, Founder at Chit Chat Agency to discuss the rise of social messaging apps and how businesses are using them to increase sales, nurtures leads, boost engagement and improve customer care.

Ryan’s helped leading and ambitious brands transform their social messaging channels into powerful marketing and customer support tools.

What is it you do at Chit Chat?

We help businesses develop their social messaging channels into powerful marketing and customer support tools. We make it easy for consumers to complete conversion goals, engage with businesses and get answers to questions in messaging channels they use most days.

What makes chat marketing and social messaging bots so exciting?

How people discover, decide, buy, share and become advocates is a development that has moved online, and especially mobile. This upsurge in mobile messaging has led to a big and meaningful shift in how people choose to connect with businesses. Social messaging apps have overtaken social media apps in the number of active monthly users by over 20% and the gap is widening.

It’s clear more people are using messaging apps to communicate online, are businesses joining them?

Yes, more businesses are using social messaging channels to communicate. 1 billion people chat with businesses on a Meta owned messaging channels each week.  Despite this shift to messaging, budgets (marketing & support) have not adjusted with it, many business still use standalone chat software and less most businesses still use click-to-website ad formats even when so many case studies show click-to-message formats outperform them and offer more advantages. However, smart businesses and the decision makers in these businesses are beginning to understand the opportunities available on messaging apps such as Messenger, DMs, and WhatsApp. Being where your customers are and showing them you know what they need is what people now expect, people feel more connected to businesses they can message.

Can you use click-to-message ads without connecting a chatbot to your page?

Yes, you can but it’s not something I would typically advise. A chatbot can manage and personalise conversations instantly at scale, without a chatbot it’s not scalable, immediate and you won’t be able to connect it to your existing marketing stack to facilitate automation.

Why should businesses use click-to-message adverts as over click-to-website adverts?

Over 50% of people who click on a click-to-message ad, start a chat with the business instantly, on the messaging channel the user is connected to. But here’s the best part: over 50% actually complete a conversion after clicking on the ad. When you consider most click-to-website ads convert well under 10%, messaging offers a huge opportunity for marketers. With click-to-website adverts you have no idea which individuals are actually visiting your website and with 3rd party cookies dying engaging with these people post advert click is becoming more and more difficult. No other ad format in existence allows you to continue the interaction post ad-click on a one-to-one basis at scale. No matter what your business is the path to conversion is difficult and challenging chat marketing speeds up the path to conversion significantly. Nothing beats conversation for nurturing and closing sales.

Don’t people get annoyed and frustrated using bots?

Many studies and surveys have shown that most people favour messaging a business over emailing or phoning them, especially people under 40.  The word “bot” is unfortunately associated with negative connotations. I think people may have outdated understandings of what chatbots are and how businesses can use them. People dislike poor experiences, this could be a poorly designed website or perhaps an automated voice system that makes you wait for 50 minutes. Quite often it’s not the medium itself but the way it’s been put together that annoys people. I personally don’t like automated call systems or having to download business specific apps to complete a single action. People, young adults in particular expect to be able to access information and complete actions instantly and easily – messaging channels are perfect for this and when you couple it with a chatbot you can automate and scale it. It’s estimated by 2025 80% of customer service organizations will abandon native mobile apps in favour of messaging on third party messaging channels. Customers value their time more than anything.

In what ways can businesses use social messaging bots?

All kinds of businesses can find valid purposes for social messaging automation, the opportunities are vast and are only limited by your imagination. Chatbots can be used to deepen customer care, nurture leads, act as virtual sales assistants and boost engagement. I would suggest you start with one opportunity or goal, this could be obvious use case such as cutting customer waiting times or shortening the path to conversation with an automated lead qualification funnel. Perfect this one thing and you can add additional features and use cases over time.  Chatbots which super charge your marketing or customer support efforts don’t always have to be the most technically advanced, the best chatbots are the ones which help you surpass your goals and overcome obstacles.

How can people engage with chatbots?

When people engage with your social chatbot they become a contact, to help them become contacts convenient access points into social messaging bots can be manufactured that make it easier for people to connect with your chatbot in an instant. You have click-to-message ads. This is where, for example, you click on an ad on your social feed and it opens a chat with the business in Messenger, Instagram DMs, or WhatsApp. You have action buttons on social media pages, chat widgets can be embedded on websites or apps, you can send automated messages to people who engage with your social posts. You can use QR codes, these scannable links are ideal for offline marketing you can add them to menus, packaging, posters, guides and so on. It’s not easy to offline marketing deeply personal and scalable but with QR codes and chatbots you can do it and do it well.

How will the rise of privacy and demise of 3rd party cookies impact chat marketing?

Most businesses who advertise online depend on third-party cookie data to understand who their audience is, these types of cookies are often placed by an ad-based vendor. This type of data is becoming less effective and will eventually become obsolete as the big tech giants such as Apple and Google have stopped or are planning to stop using them.  Chat marketing and social chatbots do not depend on third-party data. The data collected during these conversations is shared willingly, its explicit and in-depth. Actions, words and intents can be collected and stored means businesses can segment customers like never before .  With third-party cookies dying taking ownership of these one-to-one connections and making them meaningful is even more important. So, going forward I think you’ll see more businesses take steps to take ownership of their audiences.

Where is all information collected stored?

Chatbots can be omni-channel meaning data collected within the conversations can be used to power email and SMS campaigns as well as update your CRM and any other third-party apps you want to connect to.  At Chit Chat we do not use in-house software. We use market leading software to store conversational data which can be accessed by your team. This means you will have full ownership of your data and are not tied into us.

Do chatbots need to include AI?

If needed, some chatbots may include artificial intelligence (AI) or natural language processing (NLP). We typically use Google Dialogflow to build the AI element of our bot builds, it’s platform agnostic which means we can add the AI agents into our chatbots that are deployed on channels such as Messenger or WhatsApp.

Why we need a chatbot when we have a mobile app?

I’m not saying you should ditch your mobile app in favour of building a chatbot. Mobile apps can be fantastic, however, when you consider the average person downloads 1 new app per month the chances of them downloading yours despite your best efforts is small. The chatbots we build are typically deployed on popular messaging platforms such as Messenger and WhatsApp, which means your target audience or customers don’t need to download any new apps. Messaging apps are a better way to communicate for both the user and the business.

I already use intercom on my website, why should I switch?

It’s good to see that you are using a chat solution on your website. It confirms you do see value in messaging and having conversations with your audience. We build social messaging chatbots whilst these can be embedded on your website to act in a equal manner to intercom (others are available) the best advantage of using these types of bots is that you can use them on popular messaging channels not just your website. You can tap into Facebooks powerful ad targeting ad options which will allow you to connect your ads to your bot, which work exceptionally well. Also the conversation with your business is now listed in the users personal chat inbox and you also collect information on the individual who becomes a contact, not just a faceless entity.

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