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Why you can’t afford to ignore messaging platforms

January 26, 2017

Facebook owns three of the four most-downloaded apps of 2016. The top four most-downloaded apps are all social networks: Messenger, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram. Throw in a smattering of music and video streaming sites and a couple of addictive games and that’s pretty much the entire top 30 downloaded apps in the first half of this year.

Today, we are mainly downloading and using communication apps. The most used mobile apps in the USA are Facebook, YouTube and Messenger. The way we use both the internet and our smartphones is changing. Less time is spent ‘surfing the internet’, hunting for fun sites to wile away our boredom instead, we know exactly where we’re heading. 23% of total time spent online in the US across both desktop and mobile devices is on social platforms and the number of minutes we spend each day on these platforms continues to increase, year on year.

Time spent on social infographic

Social networks, of which Facebook is still the leading platform, are providing us with more and more of our internet needs. They are our one stop shop for communicating with friends, catching up on the news or gaining inspiration for our next purchase. There are three key reasons why social media appeals to us: It’s visual, mobile and private.

Visual: With our attention span reportedly reducing from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds, the way we engage with content is paramount. The human brain can process an image in just a few milliseconds. So share an image on social media, where we spend 20% of our time and 90% of young adults are engaged. It’s a no brainer.

Last year, more than three billion photos were shared everyday on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. This number has more than doubled in the last two years.

Mobile: The number of mobile social media users has risen by 17% in the last year. Average commute times are rising and we are travelling more, this all leads to a need for mobile entertainment. Social media networks are tailored to the mobile generation. We can access our Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Snapchat accounts directly on our phones when we’re out and about.

Private: I’ll take if I may, an anecdote I have used far too often:

I like Katy Perry. Would I like her publicly on Facebook or tell my friends how much I like her? No. Would I send her a private message to get a ❤️ back from her? Of course I would. 😍

Millennials have constantly been made aware of the importance of internet safety AND the very real concept that what you post on social media is visible and available to everyone. Private messaging, although, yes, still available to internet whizz kids and the police, is much more private. Allowing us the confidence to ask or say anything.

As a brand, these are key things to consider. 88% of Millennials report that they prefer chatting over the web or social media to talk to businesses, rather than over the phone and with 80% of teenagers using Facebook Messenger as their 1st or 2nd means of communication, it is an ideal platform for brands to reach out to their customers.

At the recent Kurogo Conference in California, Morley Winograd, a USC Fellow and author stated:

“If you’re trying to talk to them*, market to them, or engage them in any way, and you’re not on social media, then you don’t have a chance. And if you are on social media, it is essential to address the generation’s interest in the visual, while also acknowledging their desire for privacy and customization.

*millennials and plurals

He’s basically saying, use messaging platforms!

Messaging stats infographic

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