Category Archives: messaging

New Short Course: Mastering Messaging Apps

As the mobile phone becomes the dominant communications mechanism, more and more consumers are turning away from mainstream social networks and instead connecting with each other through one or more specialist mobile messaging applications.

It’s now becoming more and more essential for you to understand how the messaging apps work and how they can be used effectively for business. Otherwise, because so many young Kiwis are spending their time on apps like WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat, if you don’t learn all about messaging apps you could be missing half your audience.
And that’s why we’ve put together this short course, to bring you up to speed with the Messaging Apps before it’s too late.

The course covers:


Lesson One: The Rise of Dark Social

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 such as the messaging apps to share the juicy stuff with their friends — they’ve learned the lessons from myriad well-publicised social fails and don’t wish to repeat others’ mistakes.

As a result of this migration to more private communications, the top four messaging apps now attract more eyeballs than the top four social networking apps.

In this lesson, we explore the rise of the messaging apps and review:

  • the performances of the various apps and the current state of the messaging app wars
  • which demographics are most likely to use the apps
  • the revenue opportunities with messaging apps, now and in the near future — and the potential usages which are the most relevant for New Zealand organisations


Lesson Two: International Inspiration

Much of the cutting-edge development in messaging apps comes from Asian networks, a direct side-effect of the early adoption of mobile technology in Asian markets.

This lesson looks at what we can learn from services like WeChat, the messaging service that dominates communications in China, such as:

  • how Chinese consumers are actually using the app
  • unexpected services bundled into WeChat
  • how Western brands are plugged into WeChat
  • which WeChat-like offerings we can expect to see on WhatsApp and Messenger, sooner rather than later


Lesson Three: WhatsApp

In February 2014 Facebook paid a staggering 19 Billion US Dollars (in a mix of cash and stock) to acquire the leading mobile messaging app WhatsApp.

In Lesson Three, we explore:

  • what Facebook got for their money
  • what functionality WhatsApp offers for marketers and brands
  • how you can best use WhatsApp for your organisation
  • WhatsApp marketing campaign case studies
  • what you should include in your WhatsApp marketing strategies
  • how you should measure success on WhatsApp
  • how to using WhatsApp and similar messaging apps for CRM


Lesson Four: Facebook Messenger

Okay, by now you will have gotten a good grasp on messaging apps and how marketers can use them effectively. As we turn our attention to Facebook Messenger, what we really need to know is what’s unique and what’s different about this app.

We look at the numbers. We explore what marketers need to know about Facebook Messenger.

We look at some of the ways that brands have already been using Messenger.

We review the future of Messenger.

And we look at a dozen guidelines to help you take full advantage of what has now become the leading messaging app.


Lesson Five: Google Allo & Duo

Given the importance of mobile to Google, it was inevitable that the search engine giant would introduce its own entry into the messaging space.

In fact, in mid-May 2016, at its I/O Conference, Google announced the upcoming launch of two offerings: Allo & Duo.

In this lesson, we explore the two new services, show you what each can do and give you a heads up on what to look for.


Lesson Six: Snapchat

Snapchat was born when its founders realised that there was an opportunity for an app whose messages were ephemeral, disappearing as they were being viewed.

Although that offering has been diluted somewhat by the recent introduction of Snapchat Stories, it’s still an attractive proposition for the privacy-sensitive.

In this lesson, we review Snapchat and what it can offer to marketers, including:

  • how Snapchat works
  • who marketers should follow on the platform
  • the many ways that brands can use Snapchat
  • Snapchat filters, lenses and snapcodes
  • the best types of content to share on Snapchat
  • ten brands that are doing Snapchat right
  • NZ brands already using SnapChat effectively


Lesson Seven: Telegram

The Telegram messaging app is one of those products that happens to be hot but, as we’ll see, is of limited appeal to marketers because the app’s founders are avidly anti-commercial.

Still, Telegram is hardly a niche product (with 100 million monthly users) so let’s find out more about it.

In Lesson Seven, we review the 9 top reasons why any marketer should add Telegram to their arsenal (despite that determinedly anti-commercial attitude).


Lesson Eight: Yammer, Slack and Facebook At Work

In this lesson we review closed messaging apps such as Yammer, Slack and Facebook At Work and consider how these private social networks (PSNs) can be useful for business.

We explore:

  • some of the tasks you can do better and more efficiently with PSNs
  • how businesses are currently using PSNs
  • the seven golden rules of PSNs


Lesson Nine: Chatbots & Digital Assistants

Chatbots and Digital Assistants (eg Siri, Cortana, Google Now & Facebook M) are proving a valuable addition to messaging apps, helping businesses to respond more effectively to commonly-asked questions and interact more efficiently with consumers.

In this lesson we review what’s currently available in these two categories (including Google’s new Assistant, launched in conjunction with its latest mobile phone, the Pixel).

We explore:

  • how organisations are currently using chatbots
  • where businesses and brands should begin to employ chatbots
  • the promises and perils of digital assistants


Lesson Ten: Privacy & Regulation

If you’re going to start playing in the messaging space, then you need to take into account both NZ’s Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act and our Harmful Digital Communications Act (and, perhaps, Australia’s privacy legislation, the US’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act and/or relevant European privacy legislation, depending on where your target audience lives).

In this final lesson we talk about the implications of the various Acts and regulations and what you need to do to ensure that you stay within both the spirit and the letter of the law.



This course begins on Wednesday 05 April, 2017.



This online training short course is available for $397 +GST. However we offer an Early Bird Discount of $100 +GSTpay just $297+GST when you book by Wednesday 29 March, 2017.

Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.

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

If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice, please send an email to [email protected] with your requirements.



You’ll receive our emailed confirmation of your booking. Then on the first day of the course we’ll follow up with details of your Login and Password, along with an Enrolment Key for your online training course.

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please email us at [email protected]

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


What is Dark Social?
The term “Dark Social” was coined in 2012 by Alexis C. Madrigal, tech editor at, 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.


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.


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:


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.


Is OTT Messaging The New Social?

We’ve all become increasingly familiar with the tragic tales of people going for a job, standing for a public position or simply claiming to be off sick, only to be outed by their Facebook posts which reveal their failings, sins and indiscretions to the world.

We live in increasingly glass houses, where our lives are (in the finest tradition of The Truman Show) broadcast live to the world. Even if we avoid posting selfies in flagrante delicto, we can still end up tagged in photos that unflatter us. In the process of sharing stuff with our friends, we’re more and more likely to end up sharing with Google and its few billion acquaintances as well.

We’ve tended to view this is as an inevitable social transition, as the archaic notion of privacy is abandoned in favour of an always-connected “what happens in Vegas … now stays online forever” transparency paradigm. Yes, today’s employers may tut-tut and refuse to hire those whose indiscretions are blatantly displayed online; but tomorrow’s employers, their own failings similarly emblazoned across social networks, are likely to be more tolerant (or so we hope).

What we’re now seeing, however, is a move away from open social networks to the closed user spaces of OTT* messaging applications, especially amongst teens and young adults who are tired of leaving a digital trail which can be seen by parents and employers and by which they can be judged.

* These messaging applications are called OTT (Over The Top), to indicate that they sit on top of the mobile infrastructure, using internet data connectivity rather than the cellular messaging facility, usually at a much lower pricepoint

The move to OTT messaging is problematic for marketers, however, for several reasons:

1. No Clear Leaders

As ReadWrite notes:

“The messaging landscape is fragmented. Teenagers are ditching social media to chat on services like WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and KakaoTalk. Apps like Kik, Line and Tango are other popular SMS replacements, [along with] Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe and Skype.”

2. Advertising May Not Be Welcome

It doesn’t help that service providers such as WhatsApp are saying they don’t want to include advertising:

The people at WhatsApp say explicitly that they “are not fans of advertising.” Because of this, “WhatsApp is currently ad-free and we hope to keep it that way forever.” Are you listening, every other company? Because this is what users want.

Mainstream OTT messaging providers such as Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts will be more sympathetic to marketers’ needs — but first they need to capture a significant market share.

3. Messaging Platforms Are Aiming To Keep Those Eyeballs Engaged

As always in the mobile space, the Asian markets demonstrate the future of OTT messaging platforms. According to BGR:

Mobile apps linked to messaging services are taking over the two most important Asian app markets, Japan and Korea. Today, nine out of the ten biggest revenue generators on South Korea’s Google Play app chart are Kakao apps. It is effectively becoming impossible to launch a major hit in the Korean app market unless you use Kakao’s messaging app as your platform. This in turn means that everyone interested in mobile apps is using Kakao. The messaging app has turned into the dominant platform for game distribution. LINE’s role in Japan is not quite as strong, but games for this messaging app regularly hold about half of the positions in Japan’s top-10 iPhone and Android app revenue charts.

… Time spent on messaging apps is exploding even in markets where games linked to these platforms have not yet taken off. According to The Hindu, people in India now spend 27 minutes per day on chat apps, up from 7 minutes just two years earlier. Many of the most populous countries in the world — China, India, Japan, Korea — have now fallen in thrall of the messaging apps. Their share of the daily leisure time of consumers is rapidly expanding. This will inevitably give messaging app vendors a golden chance to turn into content delivery companies. And to stage a serious offensive against Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Second, revenue growth generated by games linked to messaging apps is unearthly. LINE is now generating 67% revenue growth — between quarters, not annually. China’s WeChat is already on a big, global marketing binge, which has helped it boost its presence dramatically from Italy to Nigeria over the past summer.

Finally, one of the hottest app industry topics in Tokyo [at the Japan Game Show in September 2013] was the expansion of content services that we are about to witness. Over the next year, a rapidly expanding selection of comics, videos and music will start flowing to users of WeChat, LINE and Kakao.

4. OTT Messaging Is Taking Over from SMS

OTT Messaging isn’t only competing with Social Media, of course — it’s also taking on good old SMS text messaging, and (according to an April 2013 study by Informa) it’s already won. Business Insider reports that 41 billion OTT messages are now exchanged every day, compared with 19.5 billion SMS messages.

A late-2012 white paper by McKinsey highlights the key drivers of OTT adoption:

  • Technology Readiness, in the form of 3G or 4G networks; and penetration of smartphones
  • Cost Incentives, with SMS too expensive relative to data charges
  • Social Propensity, particularly driven by smartphone adoption amongst teens and young adults
  • Market share of specific OTT messaging applications

Here’s how those triggers drove adoption in South Korea and the Netherlands, according to McKinsey :


Do most of these triggers apply in New Zealand? Indeed they do.

5. Blink And You’ll Miss It

As if the proliferation of messaging platforms was not enough to worry about in itself, we’re now seeing the development of content that, like SnapChat, self-destructs. Forbes reports:

[Ephemeral apps, such as, in this example, Frankly, work like this:] send a message, and your recipient will initially see a box of blurred text. Once they tap it, a set timer counts down the seconds till the message has been deleted; sent to the digital afterlife. Chat windows, for the most part, thus stand empty at all times. Each time someone sends a text, they can also tap a black “x” afterwards to take it back, in case they change their mind. The idea is that the sender is always in control.

“Maybe, just as the rise of big data and government surveillance and privacy concerns and the over-curated self images on Facebook, people are saying, ‘I miss the days when I could have a private conversation,’” says Frankly founder Steve Chung. “‘Maybe I’m not saying anything bad, but you and I sit down in a coffee shop and we remember what we remember. When we leave, we don’t have reams of paper that recorded it all.’”

The question then isn’t if people want their messages deleted — plenty seem perfectly happy to keep reams of recorded texts — but whether they want more control over what is recorded.

Other ephemeral messaging services include such little-known names as Wickr, Blink, Gryphn, Ansa, SecretInk and Tiger Text. They’re fighting for market share in a still-developing arena, responding to consumer demand for a little more privacy.

Your messages probably still aren’t safe from the likes of the GCSB, Julian Assange or Edward Snowdon, but at least your boss shouldn’t be able to read them without your permission.

PS We cover OTT Messaging in detail in our new Mobile Marketing course