Make Money with Pokemon Go

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Now’s the time for you to cash in on the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go.

Here’s a quick description of our short course:

MARKETERS: MAKE MONEY NOW WITH POKEMON GO

It’s the hottest game in the world right now — and it’s driving massive amounts of foot traffic that savvy organisations are tapping into, to market their businesses and make money while the craze lasts.

Online training provider Netmarketing Courses has now released a short course to help your business make money with Pokemon Go.

Here’s what you will learn:

  • How Pokémon Go works (and its phenomenal growth in a matter of days)
  • How you can tell if your business is already well-placed to attract players (and what to do if it isn’t)
  • How fast-moving local businesses are already cashing in on Pokémon Go (and how you can adapt their ideas and tactics for your business)
  • How you can make money even if you aren’t a local marketer
  • How to market your Pokémon status to prospective visitors
  • The most important steps you must take to take advantage of Pokémon Go

Here are the course details:

Lesson One: Essential Facts About Pokémon Go
In the first part of the course, we:

  • share the amazing statistics that Pokémon Go has achieved in just a few days
  • give you a basic introduction to Pokémon Go, explain the rules and tell you how to play the game for yourself
  • identify the primary demographics of this brand new game
  • explore the incredible statistics of Pokémon Go, including how the game has come from nowhere to out-power other popular apps
  • delve into the short history of the game and its creators
  • share the April Fools’ Day video that started it all
  • discuss why Pokémon Go has succeeded where others have failed
  • offer up a few cautionary tales
  • review the 20-year-old history of the Pokémon franchise

Lesson Two: Key Elements of Pokémon Go
In this next section of the course we take you through the key elements of Pokémon Go, including:

  • definitions of the various terms used in the game
  • all about Lures and how they can attract business
  • why Pokémon gyms are a great asset
  • how to find your nearest Pokémon Pokéstops and gyms (and why they matter)
  • what you need to know about Pokémon Go teams
  • how to request that your location gets added to the Pokémon map

Lesson Three: Basic Pokémon Go Strategies for Businesses

Even though Pokémon Go is a game for consumers, marketers have been quick to jump on the bandwagon. In the third lesson, we:

  • talk about the business-friendly features of Pokémon Go
  • share strategies that you can use to incorporate Pokémon Go into your local marketing strategy

Lesson Four: How Local Organizations can tap into Pokémon Go
In this lesson, we identify the types of early business adopters that are enjoying the most successes (and a few failures) with the Pokémon Go craze. Along the way, we:

  • highlight businesses (and non-profits) that are already succeeding with Pokémon Go
  • talk about effective strategies and tactics
  • show how some organizations just don’t get it
  • warn you what NOT to do with your Pokémon Go marketing
  • provide plenty of tips to get you thinking about how best to make money from Pokémon Go
  • share examples across a wide variety of categories as local businesses quickly gear up for Pokémon Go
  • suggest strategies for those organizations that don’t find themselves near a Pokéstop or gym

Lesson Five: Even if you’re not a Local Marketer
In this lesson, we explore some of the most effective money-making methods available for those organizations that don’t have a local retail footprint. We:

  • take you beyond the obvious
  • show you how to leverage Pokémon Go without needing to have a real-world storefront
  • share unexpected, profitable tips across a variety of product and service categories
  • warn you what NOT to do

Lesson Six: How to Market To Pokémon Go Players
In this lesson, we consider a number of methods that you can use to market your products and services to players. We don’t subscribe to the Kevin Costner Field of Dreams “build it and they will come” philosophy, so instead we discuss:

  • who you should market to, and the best ways to reach them
  • why initial strategies may not work so well anymore, and what you should do instead
  • how to tap into the marketing power of the crowd to help you promote your Pokémon Go presence
  • introduce you to new technology that can help you spread the word

Lesson Seven: 21 Pokémon Go Strategic Tips
In Lesson Seven, we take you through 21 strategic tips that will guide you in the actions you need to take NOW, while Pokémon Go is still so hot. And, finally, we consult our crystal ball (and informed speculation from elsewhere) to talk about the future of Pokémon Go and how you should prepare for the next phases of this mobile gaming phenomenon.

 

The “Make Money With Pokémon Go” short course is just $97+GST.

To reserve your place in this course, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here:

Register Now for the next course

Once we receive and process your booking, you’ll be emailed login and password details to this exploration of the hottest local marketing initiative of the decade.

How The Course Works
This online training course is conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular online training course provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.

We also provide comprehensive Course Notes in PDF format which can be downloaded and printed for future reference.

Who Should Take This Course
The “Make Money with Pokémon Go” short course is ideal for retailers, bars, restaurants, cafes and any local businesses. Advertising, marketing and communications professionals should also ensure they are up to speed with the Pokémon Go phenomenon.

 

This course in its entirety is copyright © 2016 Netmarketing Services Limited, Note that during the course we may quote findings with attributions from a number of sources; copyright in that material remains with the copyright owners.

Also, please note that Pokemon, Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, Niantic and all related brands, trademarks, descriptions and imagery belong to their respective organisations. Netmarketing Services is not affiliated in any way with Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, or Niantic, nor is the advice in this report endorsed, sanctioned or approved by these companies in any way.

 

Pinterest Adds New Targeting Tools

Pinterest has just announced a new suite of targeting tools:

Targeting your ads is important—it’s how you can effectively get your leather tote noticed by a new grad searching for a work-ready bag, or how you get an aspiring home chef to try your dumpling recipe. And starting today, targeting on Pinterest is even more powerful.

In addition to targeting Promoted Pins based on Pinners’ interests, search keywords, device, location and more, you can now also target Promoted Pins using your own business data. This lets you combine what you know about your customers with what we know about people on Pinterest. So the next time the customer who bought your leather tote browses Pinterest, you can show them another bag from your latest product line.

If you use the Pinterest Ads Manager, you’ll now be able to create and target in 3 new ways:

  • Customer list targeting: Target existing customers using emails or mobile ad IDs
  • Visitor retargeting: Reach people who’ve visited your site
  • Lookalike targeting: Reach a larger group of people who look and act similar to your audience

4-pinterest-audience-targeting

The businesses Pinterest has worked with to test these targeting options have already seen dramatic results. For some, visitor retargeting increased clickthrough rates by 3x. For others, lookalike targeting increased clickthrough rates as much as 63% and boosted reach up to 30x.

If the concept sounds familiar, it’s because Pinterest is taking its inspiration from Facebook and Google, who both offer similar First Party Data services, matching your customers with their information for more targeted marketing.

For a full rundown of this new Pinterest offering, check out our Social Media Refresher 2016 online training course, available now.

The Promises & Perils of the Microsoft LinkedIn Acquisition

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The ink is barely dry on the announcement that Microsoft has offered US$26.2 billion in cash to purchase LinkedIn and already the usual suspects are lining up to criticise or praise the deal.

Tech commentator Peter Cohan, writing on Forbes, reckons that “Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion To Buy LinkedIn” and offered up four reasons why, including these two:

1. The business social networking industry is not attractive
LinkedIn lost $166 million on $29.9 billion in sales in 2015. As a LinkedIn user, I cannot see anything worth paying for and I would guess that there are simply not enough people who see enough value in the service to make it worth “upgrading to premium.”

2. Combined companies will not be better off.
There is no scenario I can envision in which the combined companies will be better off. There is no reason to believe that Microsoft has the strategic skills needed to revive LinkedIn’s growth.

Recode added in another concern:

LinkedIn’s ad business is slowing down.
While recruitment services are the big sales driver at LinkedIn, advertising represents roughly 18 percent of LinkedIn’s business, a significant segment that has been trending in the wrong direction. When LinkedIn reported Q4 earnings earlier in February 2016, one of the concerns was that its ad business grew just 20 percent for the quarter year over year; that compared to growth of 56 percent in the same quarter the year before. Research firm eMarketer predicted LinkedIn’s U.S. digital ad revenue would fall from 35 percent growth in 2015 to less than 10 percent growth this year. In other words, LinkedIn wasn’t selling ads the way people expected it to.

VentureBeat is similarly negative:

Acquisition double-talk, part 1: On the one hand, this deal is all about the oft-vaunted idea of “synergy” (even if that word is not used). The idea is presumably to build LinkedIn into all sorts of Microsoft products. Great! But, does this mean I’m going to get all sorts of messages suddenly asking if I want to share my Word doc through LinkedIn or have some LinkedIn integration with an Excel spreadsheet…or…what? There’s a lot of talk today about how this is going to broaden Microsoft’s reach into all sorts of new channels for selling stuff like cloud services. But does one of the largest tech companies in the world really need to spend $26 billion to reach new customers?

Acquisition double talk, part 2: Structurally, LinkedIn is going to remain independent. Per the Nadella memo:

“LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand and independence, as well as their culture which is very much aligned with ours. Jeff (Weiner) will continue to be CEO of LinkedIn, he’ll report to me and join our senior leadership team. In essence, what I’ve asked Jeff to do is manage LinkedIn with key performance metrics that accrue to our overall success. He’ll decide from there what makes sense to integrate and what does not.”

So why do the deal?

Officially, according to the slide deck announcing the deal, key opportunities for the combined entity include:

  • Realize a common mission by bringing together the world’s leading professional cloud and professional network
  • Drive increased engagement across LinkedIn as well as Office 365 and Dynamics CRM
  • Accelerate monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising

LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner explained his perspective, in an email to employees:

Both [Weiner and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella] recognized that combining [the two companies’] assets would be unique and had the potential to unlock some enormous opportunities.

For example:

  • Massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn’s graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more.
  • Accelerating our objective to transform learning and development by deeply integrating the Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning solution in Office alongside some of the most popular productivity apps on the planet.
  • Realizing LinkedIn’s full potential to truly change the way the world works by partnering with Microsoft to innovate on solutions within the enterprise that are ripest for disruption, e.g., the corporate directory, company news dissemination, collaboration, productivity tools, distribution of business intelligence and employee voice, etc.
  • Expanding beyond recruiting and learning & development to create value for any part of an organization involved with hiring, managing, motivating or leading employees. This human capital area is a massive business opportunity and an entirely new one for Microsoft.
  • Giving Sponsored Content customers the ability to reach Microsoft users anywhere across the Microsoft ecosystem, unlocking significant untapped inventory.
  • Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics CRM.
  • Leveraging our subscription capabilities to provide opportunities to the massive number of freelancers and independent service providers that use Microsoft’s apps to run their business on a daily basis.

Those are enticing future possibilities, to be sure, but are they really worth 26.2 billion dollars? Some commentators were far more positive.

ComputerWorld provides some current context:

There’s a ton at stake here. Microsoft is slowly dropping out of the hardware business for smartphones as they make a bold move with apps like Outlook for the iPhone and a cool Bing app that provides quick info about movies in your area or local eateries. The world is going mobile, and LinkedIn is one of the first apps most of us install on a new phone. How can you not? It’s how we discover the news, find people to fill a new position, and how we connect socially during the day. Social networking is partly a response to the isolation that comes from working at a keyboard all day. When we need to keep doing business on the move, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to maintain business relationships.

I first realized this when I was working on an article about a new book called “Disrupted” by Dan Lyons. It was a bit of a diatribe against startups in general (and one in particular called Hubspot), and I was curious how people who like the company would respond.

There’s a lot of noise on Facebook, thousands of posts about graduation parties mixed in between serious business news. Yet, on LinkedIn, one quick check on a post by the founder of Hubspot revealed hundreds and hundreds of comments from people defending the company. This is why Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn. It has become part of the fabric of business discussion. All of those comments are from “the LinkedIn community” in the best sense of the phrase.

The article … was filled with smart comments from people who actually have real jobs. It was filled with people who have something to say and a place to say it. Without LinkedIn, I’m not sure how anyone could parse a discussion like that down to something even remotely useful. Facebook is all over the board. Twitter is too condensed. When we say “woven” we mean useful, that it holds the shirt together. You can stretch it, pull it, drag it over the mud, and even tie-dye it and it will hold up to scrutiny. Woven means it is worth $26.2B and a high stock price.

Microsoft needed something woven, and the acquisition makes perfect sense. Some of their other ventures are a bit frayed at the edges. I’m not sure what will happen with Office, because I’m too busy using Google Docs on a Chromebook Pixel. I’m not sure what will happen with data centers that are so Microsoft-centric, when it’s becoming quite clear that there are thousands of cloud service providers that can do exactly the same thing for much lower costs. I’m not even sure what will happen with the Xbox or Windows 10. There’s some shifting sand beneath these monoliths, and you’d have to be crazy to predict they’ll be around in the same form for the next 10 years.

But LinkedIn? It will have a really long shelf life. It has the same deeply entrenched sustainability as Google ads and Facebook photo archives.

Meanwhile, PC World reckons that the primary reason that Microsoft is buying LinkedIn is to provide content for its digital assistant Cortana:

Picture a typical business trip: meetings all day, drinks at night. A good salesperson knows his or her contacts before he or she steps foot in the door. But that goes for coworkers as well: How you you make them feel comfortable? How do you make them part of a team? How do you let them know who to approach, both inside and outside the company?

All of this usually takes some effort on your part, or at least a competent assistant. And that’s the role that Microsoft hopes to play, especially with its digital assistant, Cortana, and Office 365.

Right now, Cortana provides some basic information about your calendar, suggesting, for example, what time you’ll need to leave to ensure you arrive at your next meeting on time. In Microsoft’s digital future, Cortana will be able to sum up what you need to know both about your business relationship, and what information you can use to cement a more personal connection, too. It sounds smarmy, but a good salesperson will tell you that an emotional connection helps seal the deal.

cortana

If the thought of Microsoft owning more data about you—well, you probably should go delete your LinkedIn profile, now. Microsoft already knows your calendar (Outlook), your meetings (Outlook), your coworkers (Delve) your accounts (Microsoft Dynamics CRM) and some of your expertise (Delve).

Inc magazine spells out a few more considerations:

What LinkedIn has that Microsoft wants is connections — business connections. And that’s critical to the latter’s strategy. Microsoft understands that computing and relationships to the business users that are its mainstay have changed. More people have moved to mobile, an area where the Redmond-based giant has struggled. Computing has shifted to the cloud, and while Microsoft is a significant player in that arena, it’s a far cry from the influence it wielded when companies all had their own servers, whether directly own and run or contracted out to a service provider.

As the statement noted, LinkedIn has 433 million members across 200 countries and territories and 105 million monthly average users. Sixty percent of its traffic comes from mobile, with 7 million active job listings. Two-thirds of its revenue comes from recruiting tools.

Not only does LinkedIn extend Microsoft’s quest to connect business users — Skype and Yammer both previous examples of the same interest — but there’s an amazing amount of data. Microsoft will be able to see what people are doing in business, who’s hiring, what the requirements are for various positions, and the like. To put it differently, this is a way to make the plans and expectations of companies all over the world transparent to a business that wants to sell them the technology they need.

Plus, Microsoft has software for contact management, customer relationship management, prospecting, and other activities that would dovetail neatly into LinkedIn. The social connections become a natural reason for people to take a look at what Microsoft offers.

Tempting or terrifying?

Paul Ford, Co-founder of product studio Postlight, suggests 7 amazing things that Microsoft could do with LinkedIn:

1. Microsoft could embed LinkedIn into Windows as a service.
This makes perfect sense: Think about how amazing Hotmail and Outlook could be if you could instantly write to anyone in your second-degree LinkedIn networks. Imagine how exciting it will be when you can beg your friends for an introduction to someone in their professional circles right from your email client with the push of a button. (This integration is the thing that could finally destroy email.)

2. Microsoft could embed LinkedIn into Microsoft Office.
Office is about doing things, and people do things socially more often than they used to. LinkedIn is a business social network, and it probably knows more about your company than the people inside the company do. Imagine if you came to a section of your Microsoft Word document that needed, I don’t know—some sort of forecast, or a description of a forthcoming product. You could draw a little rectangle and automagically trigger a request to someone from the product team, asking them to fill in the rectangle. Workflows like this used to be the stuff of fantasy and billion-dollar “unified object model” sinkholes, but Git/GitHub has shown that they can work, and they can work decentralized, and LinkedIn has the messaging network and “InMail” system to pull this off, given a couple hundred million dollars.

3. Microsoft could embed LinkedIn into other tools across their ecosystem as a “workplace” API.
LinkedIn knows a lot about what people do and Microsoft builds tools for doing lots of specific, difficult things (I.e. programming, project management, making diagrams, managing databases). If there was a single LinkedIn API that let you do things like: Look up people in your company; find relevant consultants; identify the skills needed to solve problems, etc.; that’s a kind of raw power that we don’t really see inside of most software.

4. Microsoft could turn LinkedIn into the Windows-default publishing platform.
If you want to write a blog post or share some thoughts with Microsoft where do you even go in 2016? I have no idea. Yammer? Windows Live Server? XBox? LinkedIn, for its part, obviously believes that it should be the publisher of record for every horrible list of “inspirational strategies” and mutual ass-kissing glurge that content marketers exhaustedly produce for lazy Fortune 10,000 CIOs. Anyway, there’s a huge opportunity here—become the communications platform of record for the entire global business world! However this is an opportunity that both parties have a proven ability to squander over and over again. We’ll see!

5. Microsoft could mine LinkedIn’s data in order to inform product strategy.
This is the sort of mega-opportunity, and also highly sketchy. Microsoft is a software company, sure, but it’s also a bit of a nation-state with an enormously broad mandate. LinkedIn is an unbelievable data-mining platform; it has the ground truth about the global economy, especially around the technology industry, and it has a lock on that data. Microsoft will know what’s going on with Facebook before Zuckerberg does; it’ll know what skills are being added to Googlers’ resumes; it’ll know what kind of searches HR departments are doing across the world, and it can use that information to start marketing its own services to those companies. It can use LinkedIn as a global knowledge base to make more informed, long-term decisions about its own role in the global economy, and it can combine that information with what it learns from other platforms like Windows, Office 365, Bing, XBox, and so forth. It can answer questions like, “are employees of Google playing more XBox or less compared to last year?” It’s…terrifying. And we’ll never really know what’s going on. Which makes it kind of brilliant. But still terrifying.

6. Microsoft could use LinkedIn’s data to create new advertising products.
Given the above, Microsoft now has an absolutely amazing advertising platform. I can’t bring myself to write much about this because it will make Amazon chasing you around the web trying to sell you another toaster seem like a fun game played by little babies. I mean you’re talking about one company that knows how often you open Microsoft Excel per day, and another that knows how long you’ve been in your current position and if your boss just got promoted. And now they are one beautiful blue company. And the world’s largest advertising agencies and media buyers are just sitting there with their mouths open trying to figure out what to do now. I bet someone will tell them!

7. Microsoft could improve LinkedIn.
Microsoft is Microsoft and will always be Microsoft. But if you look at the recent design work in its applications, it’s capable of first-class, consumer-grade interface design and product thinking.

Microsoft designs for people who have to do boring things with computers in order to make money. It’s the 9–5 software vendor. LinkedIn is the social network of 9–5, too. It’s also a tire fire of failed UX patterns; it looks like robot poop. That’ll be the part we see: When Microsoft slowly starts applying pressure, fixing the long-standing, painful bugs, improving the overall product experience, bringing everything up to code until LinkedIn looks like a fully modern, business-focussed social network. The part we won’t see, though, that’ll be amazing.

Our View
This acquisition is one of those “so big, we can’t afford to let it fail” deals which will define the success or failure of current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Sure, as unkindly noted above by several of the industry observers, the deal comes with a number of pitfalls. But, as others have pointed out, there’s plenty of potential as well.

Without an acquisition such as LinkedIn, how else can Microsoft grow and prosper in today’s cloud-based, AI-enabled world, where:

  • Google follows us from desktop to tablet to mobile phone to smartwatch and senses what we want to know almost before we do, thanks to a combination of search queries, browsing behaviour and GPS-derived location awareness
  • Facebook knows who we know, what our interests are, what we like and what we talk about
  • Amazon knows what we want to buy, what we actually buy, how much we spend and what else we look at
  • Netflix knows what we watch, how long we spend watching, when and where
  • Digital assistants like Siri and Google Now are becoming more and more important in their users’ lives as the data gets richer, behavioural patterns are analysed and harnessed and intent and purpose are more effectively tracked

Microsoft, with much of its clients’ data locked in legacy PC-based systems rather than in the cloud, has been in danger of missing out on the 21st century’s most important innovation – effortlessly harnessing big data to meet users’ needs, with minimal user prompting.

Such data is at its most useful and powerful when it’s available at our fingertips when and where we need it — whether via Cortana, Microsoft Office, Dynamics CRM or otherwise. Let’s hope that the more positive future is the one that comes true.

PS If you’ve yet to discover the full potential of LinkedIn for yourself and/or your organisation (or still think “what’s the big deal about LinkedIn, isn’t just for listing your CV?”), you should check out our How To Use LinkedIn Effectively online training course.

We also delve into these latest LinkedIn developments in more detail in our new Social Media Refresher 2016 course, currently being rolled out.

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Social Media Refresher: Online Video Now Essential

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Early Bird Booking Deadline tomorrow – SAVE $100 on our new SOCIAL MEDIA REFRESHER 2016 online training course. http://bit.ly/socialmediarefresher.
 
Social media is an ever-changing environment and unless you’re involved on a day to day basis you’re unlikely to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the medium. So we’ve devised this social media refresher course to capture the latest developments across the expanding world of social media marketing.

WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS ONLINE TRAINING COURSE?

Any marketer, business owner or executive who is already familiar with the principles and practice of Social Media Marketing but needs an update on the latest developments in the medium.

WHAT’S IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA REFRESHER COURSE?

The course covers:

Lesson One: Latest Social Media Updates: Facebook

Lesson Two: WhatsApp, Messenger and other Messaging Apps

Lesson Three: Streaming Video: Facebook Live, Periscope, Meerkat

Lesson Four: Pictures: Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest

Lesson Five: Social Media Advertising

Lesson Six: Community Management and Influencer Marketing

Lesson Seven: Tools & Tips, Twitter & LinkedIn

MORE INFORMATION

Full course details are available from http://bit.ly/socialmediarefresher

Marketing Insights publication – Download Free

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Marketing Insights is a new publication collecting advice and opinion from leading NZ marketing professionals, supplemented by information drawn from elsewhere and interpreted from a Kiwi business perspective.

This is a content marketing project, featuring sponsored contributions covering key topics that will have a continuing impact on NZ marketers, today and tomorrow.

Our content ranges from statistics to creativity, from strategic planning to effective briefing. You’ll note a strong focus on matters digital, an inevitability as online achieves new dominance.

We haven’t abandoned off-line marketing however—our topics also include Trade Shows, Sponsorships and of course timeless marketing principles and practices that are relevant whatever the environment.

Grab your free copy NOW – just click here.

5 Key Facts You Should Know About Messaging Apps

You’ve probably noticed that more and more people are using messaging apps on their mobile devices. You may even have signed up for one or two yourself, especially since Facebook split its messaging capabilities off from its main Facebook app and pointed its members to Facebook Messenger instead.

As it turns out, however, mobile messaging apps are far more important than you might have realized.

Here are five key facts that you really should know about messaging apps:

1. Messaging Apps (combined with other Dark Social sources) dominate social sharing

dark-social

What is Dark Social?
The term “Dark Social” was coined in 2012 by Alexis C. Madrigal, tech editor at Atlantic.com, to refer to web traffic that comes from outside sources that web analytics are not able to track. Dark Social sources include messaging apps, email and other private digital communications.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that, as traditional social media networks such as Facebook have gone mainstream, consumers have been less inclined to share their personal lives through such public channels. Instead, they have become much more likely to use Dark Social tools to share the juicy stuff with their friends.

In fact, Facebook has, according to a recent report from The Informant, been struggling to reverse a 21% decline in “original” sharing (personal updates) across its 1.6 billion monthly active users.

As the Guardian newspaper notes:

After more than a decade of picking up “friends” – everyone from your BFF to your grandmother to that guy who lived down the hall in your dorm way back in your first year of college (what’s his name again?) – we’ve decided that maybe we’re not 100% comfortable sharing intimate details of our lives with such random and disparate groups of people. Or, maybe we’re just all on Snapchat now – another major anxiety of Facebook’s.

Facebook employees are blaming something called “context collapse”: where people, information or expectations from one context invade or encroach upon another. Despite its elegance as a term, it’s a complicated and nuanced phenomenon – one that evokes norms of behavior, communication, sharing and privacy all at once.

For users confronting collapsed contexts on Facebook, the withholding of personal anecdotes and information isn’t a problem – it is a solution.

For years, Facebook’s strategy has caused regular controversies around user privacy and ethics – blunders that got people exposed, outed and emotionally manipulated along the way. Users seem to have combated the problem by taking Facebook’s own advice, as shared by Facebook’s president of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage, in 2010: “If you’re not comfortable sharing, don’t.”

As messaging apps have gained traction, they’ve become the first choice of many for sharing information on a much more personal level.

2. Messaging Apps are now more popular than Social Networks

By the beginning of 2015, the top four Messaging Apps collectively had more users than the top four Social Networking Apps, according to BI Intelligence.

messaging-apps-big-4

Most of that growth has taken place since the beginning of 2014 — it’s an impressive ‘hockey stick’ pattern by any measure.

From those figures, you’d get the impression that nearly three billion people are now using messaging apps. No so much — there’s a lot of duplication.

3. Messaging App adoption is spread across multiple apps

Messaging App usage is far more splintered than social network usage, for a very obvious reason: if you’re connecting one-to-one, you need to use the app that your friend/family member uses. Because it’s trivial (and free) to download a messaging app, when you need to connect to a friend who uses a different app, you simply add that app to your phone.

messagingapps-individual

In the old days, people migrated from mySpace to Bebo to Facebook because that’s where their friends were clustering — but that was pre-smartphone. Nowadays, with messaging apps free and happily co-existing on the same device, those who use messaging apps typically have several different apps, with different clusters of friends connected through each app.

4. Young Adults are (currently) more likely to use Messaging Apps

Half (49%) of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use messaging apps, while 41% use apps that automatically delete sent messages, according to a 2015 Pew Internet study.

That’s not surprising — as Facebook went mainstream, younger web users were amongst the first to realize that it wasn’t a good idea to post content publicly that they didn’t want their parents to see.

Of course, the desire for privacy isn’t confined to the young, and the messaging apps have plenty of growth in them yet, as consumers of all ages graduate, not just from Facebook but also from limited-functionality SMS texting, to more powerful messaging apps that allow them to share multimedia in realtime, for free (in wifi zones) or nearly free (as part of smartphone pricing bundles).

5. Artificial Intelligence is taking over messaging

“I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.” Those chilling words, spoken by the HAL 9000 computer in Arthur C. Clarke’s legendary “2001 A Space Odyssey“, sum up both our hopes and fears when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. We want computers smart enough to understand us and take appropriate action — whilst at the same time we worry about what might happen if they are that smart.

We’ve already seen Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Facebook’s own ‘M’ at work, taking simple steps in response to our instructions. Now Facebook thinks that “chatbots” — AI programs that strike up a conversation with us — represent the best opportunity for corporates to involve themselves in messaging apps. We should note that competitors like Kik, Line and Telegram have had their own bot platforms running for some time, so the concept isn’t exactly new. What’s important about Facebook’s announcement is that the leading player in messaging has now put its weight behind the technology.

At April 2016’s f8 Developers’ conference, Facebook announced that (after running various pilot programs with select businesses) it was opening up its Messenger platform broadly, in beta, to let chatbots into the app on a large scale.

So far, the results from Facebook trials have been somewhat underwhelming:

poncho

So will chatbots actually be beneficial for businesses?

Yes, according to data collected by Daden Limited (based on chatbot usage on websites in the past):

  • “the use of avatars on Dell’s site found that users who interacted with them were twice as likely to give personal information than those who didn’t”.
  • “online campaign featuring avatars for V Graham Norton and Celebrity Big Brother…. generated clickthrough rates of 30%“.
  • “when avatars are used for e-learning content, use of the online courses increases by 400%
  • “Revenues increased by £6,000 a month
  • “Sales increased by 35%
  • “Click-through rates increased by 250%
  • 62% of visitors converted to registrants”
  • “Site traffic lifted and sustained by 200%

In other words, it’s good for the bottom line. So off you go, start building your Cyberdyne Systems bot.

In Summary

Messaging Apps are now an essential component of the digital marketing world. You owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can about messaging and how you can it in your business.

If you’d like to know a whole lot more about Messaging Apps, we cover the topic in detail in Lesson Two of our new Social Media Refresher online training course. For more details, click here.

 

Are You a NZ Marketing Thought Leader?

An Invitation to New Zealand’s Leading Marketers

Join us in this sponsored thought leadership project, featuring insights from many of NZ’s leading marketers and communications professionals. It’s an opportunity to reinforce your position as a thought-leader in your category.

Marketing Insights 2016

MARKETING INSIGHTS
from New Zealand’s Leading Marketers

As the title suggests, MARKETING INSIGHTS is a new book collecting advice and opinion from leading NZ marketing professionals, enabling them to demonstrate Thought Leadership in their category. This is a content marketing project featuring sponsored contributions from many of New Zealand’s leading marketers.

The first edition will be published in late January 2016 and will be distributed free of charge in electronic form to a wide range of New Zealand marketing decision-makers, from small, medium and large organisations. The book will also be available to purchase in printed form a short time later.

Topics which marketers are invited to contribute include:

Marketing Trends, Challenges & Opportunities in 2016

Marketing Insight topics

 

CONTENT PARTICIPATION

This is a sponsored Content Marketing project. Marketers are invited to sponsor an article on one of the above topics and provide 500-1000 words on the agreed topic. All topic selection is subject to availability at time of booking. Relevant images are welcomed (high-resolution please).

A fee of $1295+GST applies for each sponsored contribution, due January 31 2016. However this fee reduces to $995+GST for payment in full received by December 31 2015.

All sponsored articles will include:

  • Author Credit
  • A sponsorship box at the end of the article, featuring the name & logo of your organisation, along with phone, email and website details.

The article can be written on your behalf, based on the topic you choose and featuring any key copy points that you wish to specify. Writing fees are $400+GST for 500 words, $750+GST for 1000 words.

Limited advertising may also be available in the publication.

Topics shown above are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other topics may be proposed by sponsors and will be considered by the publishers.

Our booking deadline is December 21 (although you are advised to BOOK EARLY to secure your choice of topic) and our deadlines are December 31 (if you wish us to write the copy) or January 12 if you are providing complete copy.

DISTRIBUTION

This book will be distributed initially as an ebook, offered free of charge via email, to New Zealand marketing decision-makers on our 1600-strong marketing database, to 3000+ current and former participants in our online marketing courses, and also via marketing blogs and social media and through participating industry associations and trade media. It will also be made available to members of at least a dozen NZ LinkedIn business and marketing groups with a combined membership of more than 50,000 Kiwi business people.

The ebook will also, of course, be available for contributing sponsors to distribute freely to clients and prospects.

The book will also be available in printed form on an on-demand basis. The book will also be available for purchase via Amazon.com.

To participate, email us at michael (AT) netmarketingservices.co.nz