Report on Messaging Apps: Comparison from WhatsApp to WeChat

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The popularity of messaging apps is increasing. Whether it is the Facebook Messenger where all companies hope for the latest secret sauce on messenger bot technology or Line and WeChat which already offer company profiles. It becomes very clear that messengers are different in terms of functionality, technology set-up as well as the value for brands and companies. Very often in seminar that we hold these days, messengers get mixed up with social networks, and the functionality is not very much clear to marketers. Understanding the differences and the opportunities for brands has become really challenging for them. And knowing which messenger apps are used in which countries and regions will make the lives of marketers easier.

Therefore, the team at Forrester has created a report called „The Future of Messaging Apps„. The report offers a simple overview of the most important facts around messaging apps, user figures and above all summarizes the opportunities for companies as Marketingland summarizes it. And although the world and marketers get mad around Snapchat, the overview states that seven out of ten leading apps got more users than the „yellow messenger“, and also Viber, Kik and Line get more ground and challenge other platforms like Skype which was leading not so many years ago.

The evolution of messengers for brands is interesting to have a closer look at. Unsurprisingly, Asian messengers are leading. WeChat already has got some 10 Mio. company profiles, and even Line has got 2 Mio. of those already. Although Line is not familiar to many brands, they have turned around 1,1 Mrd. USD already ($ 224 Mio. via Stickers which seems to be a good monetization strategy). The messengers Kik (also offering ad opportunities for brands) and Telegram started their own Messenger Bots. On the other side, we realize that WhatsApp is starting to approach companies these days to elaborate on business requirements. So, it will be interesting to see what kind of brand solutions they are coming up with in the future.

Please find the overview in a graphic as follows…


5% of negative online reviews are deceptive, finds MIT study

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© carlos castilla -

© carlos castilla –

We all know that ratings, reviews and recommendations -the 3 R’s of the social consumer- rule the modern world of shopping and our daily customer journeys. When we are trying to figure out the coolest holiday hotel, the latest gadget or the cheapest flights, people tend to rely on what online reviews tell them before purchasing whatever they are longing for. Online reviews make a big impact on our life and happiness, and turn the customer journey into a big secret. Nielsen and Forrester have shown in their studies how we find trust in brands and products, and reviews play a significant role in the purchase decision-making processs.

But what if reviews are simply wrong, or bought from people that don’t flag these reviews as hidden content marketing derivates? Years ago, we might have asked our friends or close people where to go for dinner, what music tape to buy, or which book to read, we now just go online and read what some foreigner might have said. No matter which mentality this person has, which preferences, which background, which age and gender. The 3 Rs make our decisions easier, we think.

Although we might have all guessed it, the proof of wrong online reviews now comes with a study from the MIT and Northwestern University that examined over 400,000 reviews in 6 months. The study states that many reviews were simply deceptive, untrue or even written by people who never tested or bought the product or service. In 5% of all negative reviews people get paid to hype products. Most of these people are writing bad and often untrue reviews but are actually newcomer to the business they are talking about. 

The good part of this study is that the study offer some advice for us and tells us how to detect deceptive story-telling.

„What is most compelling is most reviews tend to be too detailed. Another easy clue look for is repeated use of exclamation points. Two, three or four for emphasis, is often associated with deception,“ Eric Anderson, Northwestern University Professor and co-author of the study said. „At the end (of the study) we concluded that many of the negative reviews came from customers who were trying to act as self proclaimed appointed brand managers.“ Anderson summed up.

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However, many reviews might be untrue or bought, it is probably a good way to try to understand what negative reviews are basically saying and balance it against positive reviews. Seeing the positive reviews makes us get out of the bad tonality which often is simply based on anger and frustration around bad services and untrue or bought reviews. And the more people are trying to dive deeper into the intention and personality of the reviews, the faster they might detect if the review is deceptive.

„Really what you have to do is read a lot of them. Don’t just read the 2 or 3 negative ones which may or may not be real–read alot of the reviews.“ Ken Bernhardt, former Professor of Marketing, Georgia State University

Gen Z: How these users will find trust in your brand

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It is one of those generations marketers always try to understand and get their heads around as these young people will significantly define the future of brands: Gen-Z (18-23 years) is changing the way marketers have to do their communication around brands and companies. They are closer to and trust more Social Media and mobile than other generations, but they also still like email. At least if we believe in the results of one of the latest Forrester report.

The report author Tracey Stokes stated in blog post last month „Gen-Zers are open to a relationship with brands, as long as those brands are authentic and live up to their high expectations and consistently deliver what they need“.

For the Gen-Z target-group the world means anyone, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. The digital communication world sets no limits for them. Unsurprisingly, according to the Forrester report, this generation will consume more media online than offline. However, there is also a massive challenge for the world to come as distraction is a massive issue in the world of Gen-Z’ers.

The study makes clear that 84% multitask, using an Internet-connected device while watching TV. On average, this target-group is working with 1.5 other Internet-connected devices (e.g., laptops and cell phones) during their TV sessions. While some earlier study from Nielsen tells us that ads and promotions are not so much trusted these days, the Forrester study claims that the Gen-Z target-Group trusts online content -also ads and promos- more than other generations. 

Forrester Study Gen Z 2013

Blogging also adds to the credibility of companies and brands in the Gen-Z generation. The research states tat 22% of the surveyed Gen-Z consumers state they trust somewhat or completely posts by companies or brands on social networking sites. Compared to other generations, this is almost 49% higher. Also, the Gen-Z target-group is 48% more likely than other generations to trust somewhat or completely the content on mobile applications from brands. Even text messages from brands are trusted still. Still, search remains one of the biggest forms to get access to content.

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The Gen-Z target-group is facing many forms of communication, promotions but also a massive variety of brand messages. This makes buying decisions more difficult for them but also turns them into a demanding form of consumers. Getting into conversations becomes the main business approach for companies and brands. The old penetration and persuation way of communication won’t work with the Gen-Z tagret-group. The more brands participate in the brand conversations, the more the target-group will open up to receive the brand messages. However, the fluid transition between online and offline communication is essential in brand communication. Marketers should better prepare their business to deliver a seamless brand experience.

What experiences did you make so far with Gen-Z…?

Social Media budgets included in marketers web-strategy?

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A recent study launched by theAberdeen Group (published yesterday via eMarketer) says that 63% of companies plan to increase social media marketing budgets in 2009. And the study, sponsored by Visible Technologies, lays some more open if we take a closer look at the figures.

We can even see that 21% of those surveyed plan to increase social media spending by (and more than) 25%. Only 3% will be decreasing their their social media budgets (34% will not change their budgets).

Nevertheless, we have to be careful about these figures, although these seem to be showing the rise of importance of social media inside companies marketing budgets. If we think of what happens if there is no powerful measurement and results involved, then all the good news will disappear. And when 59% of the marketers said they found it „difficult“ or „very difficult“ to measure social media marketing, then we probably have to re-evaluate the numbers.

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Although the economy is in a crisis, the spend for social media increases. The question may be raised if we continue talking about Facebook and MySpace as the main driver of ‚social-media-vangelism‘, or if companies will start considering what else there might be: Twitter starting to find their ad model, blogs still trying to create an appropriate measurement policy or wikis not even in a real development phase of monetization as it seems.
There is a lot to speculation around how to spend money in the social media industry. BUT … aren’t social media budgets as a whole budget still below old-school media spending like print or TV ads and so on (not more than 100K USD according to a Forrester report). And another question: ad revenue or general social media money for setting up a strategy? However critical we might evaluate the numbers, the market for social media seems to become a start-up industry.