Brands and Agencies: It’s Time to Focus on iMessage

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With the launch of the iMessage Store, Apple is now going head to head with Facebook Messenger to capture brand dollars. Within 24 hours of launching, over a dozen of Snaps’ clients, including Marriott, L’Oréal, Kevin Hart, Dove, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, McDonald’s, Macy’s, Dove, Coca-Cola, Sephora and more, grabbed the opportunity to jump headfirst into the native advertising platform that is iMessage.

There are already a billion active iOS devices worldwide, which will give apps in the iMessage Store 100 times the distribution footprint than the App Store had when it launched in 2008. We are watching the launch of Apple’s next big market unfold. Brands, gaming companies and celebrities are poised to monetize their IP and products inside of the iMessage Store, which allows for Sticker Packs and iMessage Apps, both of which can be offered for free or for purchase. Commerce opportunities abound. The ability to add stickers inside of iMessage reinforces the global shift to a visually based communication medium.

Over 100 brands have used the Snaps platform to create their own emoji and gif keyboards. These brands recognize that iMessage builds upon millennial’s love of emojis to extend to stickers, a similar native ad unit. Using the Snaps Content Management System, we can provide insight into the number of content shares per person. Armed with this information, a brand can know how many emojis, stickers or gifs their consumer sends to friends. This visually based word of mouth marketing is extremely powerful, signaling that emojis and stickers aren’t child’s play— they move millions of dollars of product.

In the 24 hours since iMessage launched, Snaps has already seen huge engagement across its brand’s apps. Some of our clients are seeing users sharing up to 10 branded stickers a day. Our custom sticker packs offer deeper insights because we track when stickers are shared, not just app installs.

With a store being added directly into iMessage, an inherently social app, consumers are able to buy and share where they already spend the most time on their phone. What’s more is that apps in iMessage will be lightweight in size and therefore quick to install, relatively easy to build and quick to spread. They’ll also be easy to monetize because there’s such a massive distribution opportunity with an estimated 800 million iMessage users. By opening up iMessage and allowing companies to build experiences on top of this platform, there is a reduced need to open other apps. Ultimately, we are headed towards a few messaging apps that give us access to almost everything, with branded content and services woven through each one. Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Line all have a head start, but iMessage has all the needed scale to catch up. What remains to be seen is whether Apple will also introduce a bot store to compete with Messenger.

iMessage weaves together communication, creativity and collaboration by giving brands the ability to build truly interactive visually driven applications that let friends create content and experiences together in real-time. Social shopping, dating and gaming are all now possible inside of iMessage. The dream of frictionless commerce for marketers is coming, quickly. With shoppable stickers that allow you to make a purchase, we are moving from conversation to commerce at an exponential rate.

Messaging apps surpassed social media apps in terms of monthly active users in 2015. For all brands and agencies out there, it’s time to start focusing on a mobile messaging strategy if you haven’t already. And now that strategy needs to include iMessage.

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