Who said chatting was dead? The 90’s brought the rise of instant messaging (IM). AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and Skype were the leaders in IM. As social platforms gained popularity such as Myspace and Facebook the decline in IM usage dropped.  Fast forward to 2016 and IM has made a huge comeback, with IM apps surpassing the amount of active users of social networks (BI Intelligence, 2016).

The most popular IM platforms are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.  Even Instagram added chatting features to its platform.  Snapchat has also become extremely popular worldwide for the 18-24 age group (Schafer, 2016).


(Johnson, 2016)

But can chat be the next big thing in advertising?  Some marketers seem to think so and here is why you should too!

  • Year of the Bot. – Beered Sheth, CEO of Gupshup predicts a chat bot explosion is about to be unleashed starting with Facebook (Swant, 2016).  Chatbots will increase brand interaction among consumers.  Chatbots can hail a cab for you or pay your bills all through private IMs.


  • Custom Customer Service.  Sephora is a first adopter in this arena (Honigman, 2016).  Want to know reviews on the new Urban Decay palette just text Sephora and their chat bots will share reviews with you.  Need an idea for holiday makeup and Sephora’s chatbot will share great holiday looks and links to videos for you to watch and learn.  Brands can leverage their marketing and advertising content in a way that is much more organic and the consumer has total control.


  • It is Measurable. As marketers, we have first-hand access understanding consumer behavior.  Using private IM to interact with our consumers allows us to gain insight of an untapped source of consumer data.  Brands can craft communications to be more “immediate, expressive, and intimate” and move away from being content-oriented to person-oriented (Schafer, 2016).  

If used correctly the IM can very well be the best thing to happen to marketers, because after all consumers want personalization, authenticity, and real experiences.

“To me the phone is this seldom used app on my phone” – Gary Gulman, Comedian

Swant, M. (2016). Why brands from barbie to uber are so hot on chatbots. Are automated messaging platforms the new customer service rep. Ad Week. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/why-brands-barbie-uber-are-so-hot-chatbots-170577

Johnson, L. (2016). 7 big trends that are shaping the future of digital advertising. Ad WEEK. Retrieved http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/7-big-trends-are-shaping-future-digital-advertising-171773

Honigaman, B. (2016). The future is here: messaging apps are about to revolutionize marketing. Retrieved from http://www.brianhonigman.com/future-of-chat-apps/

Schafer, M. W. (2016). What marketers need to know about chat apps. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/06/what-marketers-need-to-know-about-chat-apps

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7 Responses to Text-vertising

  1. Dawn says:

    Hi J,

    Chatting is so instant/immediate, convenient, and easy that I don’t see it going away anytime soon. Your post reminds marketers / communicators that chat is another tool to directly reach customers in an efficient and target way.

  2. Yarasette says:

    Hi J,

    Great post! You made a great point as far chatting has not been out of style and companies as Facebook, Instagram and Snapshot have added this feature. I think that people still relating on chatting because it is a way to communicate and interact with others.

    Thank you,


  3. Leyla says:

    Hi J,

    What an interesting concept. I never thought chat boxes would go further than providing customer service for technical issues or answers that could not be found on websites. I have to say though, that I am weary of this type of advertising because of the fear that this could be used as a way to upsell product. I think companies need to be very careful in the implementation if they choose to move forward with this.

    Great post!


  4. Kristin says:

    Really solid post — just nice, clear writing and great graphics. I had no idea chatbots were working out there. Maybe I’ve IM’d with them and had no idea! But this is truly like a new marketing rabbit hole to fall through — it’s nuts to think about some of the possibilities. Thanks for putting this in my head!

  5. Amara says:

    Hi J,

    I did not even equate Facebook Messenger and others mentioned to IM until now, but you are so right! IM is making its comeback, so it is no surprise marketers are taking advantage of this untapped platform. Chatbots are quickly emerging on multiple platforms. My company is utilizing them as well and soon they will be integrated into all levels of our platform. This is a great idea as we all know consumers want quick and easy answers! Great post.


  6. Felicia says:

    I have to admit, when I first saw this article I was so annoyed. I imagined sending a text and an advertisement will be connected to it. Or receiving a text from a friend, followed by some advertisement text based on what she text me. I would be sooooo annoyed to have this space invaded. The one space left.

    But, I guess this would be no different when you sign up to receive text messages for sales from a company. They can now text you whenever, their next sale is happening, or whenever they are doing a campaign. I can definitely see this happening, as I think some companies are already winning at this.

  7. Barbie says:

    As much as I prefer written communication, I hate customer service bots. Granted, they are practical and scalable. However, they can’t provide the true level of customer relations that are needed. It’ll be interesting to see how brands successfully integrate chat bot solutions with their existing ticketing systems, escalating tickets to real human responders as needed.