Social Messaging Leading the Way

Social media has become a major marketing tool over the last decade. However, one strange phenomenon has been noticed that there seems to be more efforts being put on social networks than social networking (Rohampton, 2017). This issue has been brought up due to the millennials’ preferred communication form on over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps.

Thanks to the $200 billion in annual buying power and tremendous peer influence, the Millennials are considered as the ultimate consumers in today’s market (Bragg, 2017). Studies show that social messaging apps (Whatsapp, Wechat, Snapchat, Viber, Facebook Messenger, etc.) in general have more active users than social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram) (Rohampton, 2017). And the OTT messaging is millennials’ most preferred communication tool since it allows one-on-one personal touch, transparency and collaboration that are highly valued by the millennials (Bragg, 2017). There is an estimated 2 billion users of OTT apps by 2018 (Read, 2016).

Realizing this social media trend, more and more brands have jumped into the pool of social messaging marketing. Study indicates that 62% of Millennials are more loyal to brands that actively engage audience through OTT messaging (Read, 2016). Such marketing method provides audience the personal connection experience and increases the brands’ authenticity. In return, consumers may become more committed to the brands.

To engage with millennial consumers, brands have to learn how the millennials want to be engaged. It is not too late for brands to realize that social messaging marketing is leading the way.


Rohampton, J. (January 3, 2017). 5 social media trends that will dominate 2017. Retrieved from

Bragg, G. (February 14, 2017). Messaging: The key to cracking millennial customers. Retrieved from

Read, A. (April 12, 2016). The biggest Internet phenomenon since the app store. Retrieved from

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3 Responses to Social Messaging Leading the Way

  1. davidmer says:

    It’s interesting that many millennials are using messaging apps more than the social networks themselves. From personal experience, I too engage more in the messaging apps as this allows for more of a conversation with someone or a group of people. Many brands may want to seriously consider devoting more effort and resources to these social messaging platforms as so many millennials are using them. Whatsapp is a great example because users can communicate with groups of people and have a personalized experience. The evolution of marketing efforts on these platforms will be interesting to see over the next few years.

  2. pfistere says:

    I agree that it will be interesting to see how this trend progresses moving forward. In addition to Whatsapp group communication as mentioned above, Facebook also bought Whatsapp in 2014. I’m wondering how much merging will take place moving forward. I’ve personally found mediums like Whatsapp to be helpful in a professional sense as well; to communicate with international students overseas. Especially in the college application process for high school students, messaging feels much more personal and comforting in many ways. It will also be interesting to see how use of these messengers varies across generations. For example, millennials typically need more feedback and “hand holding,” while Gen Z are more likely to research independently. I’m also curious to see if ads will start to pop up on the messenger. Only time will tell!

  3. anamrodr says:

    I think this is a great opportunity for marketers to extend their communications or adapt their strategies onto these forms. I can quickly recall SNL which recently launched a line of emojis for IMessage featuring some of their iconic characters. Social messaging marketing also provides audiences a different way to interact with the brand, so it should be memorable and not a repetition of another execution. I also think that marketing must be interactive, as the example above, because otherwise audiences will be upset at getting more ads that interrupt their instant messaging conversations.