The Art of Mobile Messaging: 3 Quick Tips From Our Work With Kik

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Has the explosive growth of messaging apps positioned this space as the next frontier for mobile advertising? According to a recent report from Business Insider, the messaging app market expanded by 148% between March 2013 and March 2014, adding 900 million users. So it’s no surprise that brands and media owners are pressed to figure out the best ways to engage in this space.

This new medium, just like any digital initiative, requires a different strategy than mobile advertising in general, and many of the app platforms are still developing their solutions for advertisers.

As you consider trying out messaging apps, here’s a look at a successful example that outlines the basic rules to consider when designing campaigns for messaging services.

Brand Campaign

Last year, in partnership with The Weinstein Company, we brought on Kik as a strategic partner to promote the theatrical launch of “The Giver.” Based on a young adult novel by Lois Lowry, “The Giver” tells the story of a boy living in a dystopian future where suffering and diversity have been eradicated.

Using Kik’s “Cards” platform and their built in browser (which lets users play games with friends, watch videos, share picture albums, and more), Weinstein’s campaign centered on virtual stickers that Kik users could use to decorate their photos and then share on social media. In addition to the stickers, the brand ran a trivia contest around film-related content on the app to entice sharing and encourage word-of-mouth.

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  • Determine where you join the existing conversation

Before jumping into the messaging ecosystem, determine where and how your brand can add to the dialogue. As true in any type of marketing effort, you’re no longer going to make it by interrupting as many prospects as possible – you’re going to make it by becoming part of their communities, delivering personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them, and by connecting with people.

Weinstein chose social messaging application Kik to promote the film because of the app’s photo-sharing capabilities and emerging presence. In a similar fashion, brands need to test the waters of messaging apps by rooting their efforts in clear strategies that harmonize business needs and user interests for each specific messaging app.

 

  • Provide truly shareable, relevant content

Consumers are looking for content that improves their mobile experience, which is why when you are thinking about messaging apps, it’s essential the interest of your audience be at the center of everything you do. Ask countless times throughout the day “How can I interact with people in a way that leaves them better than I found them?” This approach will ensure that you’re creating the type of content and creative to make an effective connection.

Weinstein’s use of virtual stickers– a technique that, through a nice blend of both branded and user generated content, let users express themselves in conversational scenarios.

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  • Design experiences that allow interaction

In addition to the sticker component, Weinstein used Kik’s Promoted Chats to run a trivia contest from the film-related content on the app, an initiative that asked users to answer film related questions and then to share them rapidly in one-to-one conversations. This tactic is noteworthy because it illustrates one of the most fundamental marketing principles of any initiative – you must create unique experiences where both your brand and consumers have an opportunity to invent, create, and connect.

Trivia content works especially well for an entertainment brand, but with the right creativity, it can lift any industry segment because you’ll be able to not only engage existing fans, but also reach new audiences.

Most importantly, brands should remember that they must find a way to merge a stream of many small efforts, into a much larger strategy that harnesses the unique power of multiple marketing channels into one united effort. Messaging apps, like all digital properties, aren’t siloed channels. Brands must think of messaging apps as an integral, high-engagement component of a larger, mass-media marketing program, supported with and by other initiatives across other digital platforms.