Nearly a year and a half ago, messaging application monthly active users surpassed social media monthly active users. The number of messaging application users has been growing ever since, and it is not showing any sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Consumers from all over the world are spending hours every day on multiple messaging applications, chatting with friends and family, exchanging photos, videos, audio and other media across continents at incredible speed.

Business owners and marketers are slowly realising this enormous market is an incredible opportunity. Interactions between businesses and consumers will be revolutionised by this new way of communicating.

Just how much of an impact will messaging applications have on B2C interactions? Are consumers ready for this revolution? That will be the focus of this article.

An overview of messaging applications usage worldwide

At the moment of writing this article, it is reported that over 4.4 billion non-unique users are spread across the top 10 messaging applications.

WhatsApp alone passed 1 billion users in February this year, and in July, Facebook Messenger caught up quickly.

It is safe to say, although crowded by numerous new applications popping up every day, the mobile messaging application industry is doing well. A company willing to give this new market a chance and leverage their user base will most likely profit.

Are consumers ready?

The market is huge. The opportunities are plenty. However, are the people ready?

A big reason why these messaging applications initially took off was the appeal of being able to talk freely, for free, with friends and family.

It is, therefore, a legitimate concern on the businesses’ front to know whether consumers want that privacy and intimacy disturbed by promotional messaging.

Research completed, surveys sent, and are results are in.

The consumers are ready.

In this 2016 mobile messaging report, 69.9% of consumers said they would rather interact with a company via messaging applications than e-mail.

In the same report, over 63% of consumers agreed with the statement that “businesses should be available and contactable via messaging applications”.

ubisend mobile messaging report

It is clear that people are ready for this shift in B2C communication.

They want to interact with businesses via the messaging applications they are already using on a daily basis.

A viable long-term strategy

Adopting a new way of interacting with your customers may seem daunting. Logistically, it involves learning a new channel, implementing a new process, and maybe even hiring a specialised team to handle it.

It is, therefore, important for any business to make sure that communicating with its customers via messaging applications is a viable strategy in the long run. Implementing an entirely new strategy for a quick win just won’t cut it.

Thankfully, we have some statistics for this too.

The guys over at Facebook IQ have run a survey. They have asked a whole lot of questions to 12,500 people all over the world to ascertain their views on messaging applications.

A few of the results that came out of that report hit the nail on the head.

63% of the people surveyed said they message more with businesses today than they did two years ago.

67% of the people surveyed said they expect to message with businesses more in two years than they do today.

These two statistics show an upwards trend in consumer habits towards messaging businesses. It is an encouraging trend, again, for any business willing to take the step towards mobile messaging.

Leveraging the mobile messaging trend

Mobile messaging is going to become part of our lives. The conversational marketing, or “conversational commerce”, trend predicted by Chris Messina is most likely to happen over the next few years.

Very soon, talking with a business through messaging applications will become incredibly obvious. We will forget there was even a time when we had to use a search engine to figure out a shop’s opening times instead of just asking them it.

Until then, though, it is up to the businesses to take the first step and adopt mobile messaging as part of their digital strategy.

The numbers do not lie. Consumers are ready to interact with your business.

Are you?