Mobile Messaging and Chatbots: How Consumers Want to Interact with Brands

September 18, 2018 Vibes Marketing

Mobile Messaging and Chatbots: How Consumers Want to Interact with Brands

With so many ways to engage customers through mobile marketing, it can be challenging to know where to start. Should you move your loyalty program to mobile wallet? Send text messages with special offers? What about chatbots? Are they your best bet to reach your audience?

The truth is: the mobile marketing channel you use will depend on who your audience is and what they prefer in terms of messages they get from you.

Mobile Messaging and Chatbots: How Consumers Want to Interact with Brands

Each year, we dig into mobile marketing with our annual US Mobile Consumer Report. We survey 1,000 smartphone owners to understand exactly what they’re looking for from brands in terms of mobile messaging and engagement.

In this post, we’ll look at two prevalent mobile marketing tools to understand how you can better engage customers using them: mobile messaging and chatbots.

Mobile Messaging: Tried and True

Mobile messaging — through SMS, MMS, or push notifications — has proven to be highly effective at reaching consumers at the right time with the right offer. Brands have learned that the more value they offer through their communications on mobile devices, the higher the subscription rate. In fact, 61% of consumers subscribe to mobile messaging to get coupons or incentives (55% do so for loyalty rewards points). Consumers are also looking for exclusive content, to get product updates, or to receive store news and events.

Interestingly, there are a few differences in what men versus women are looking for with mobile messaging. Men (31%) want messages from hotels, airlines, or hospitality companies, or are interested in updates from media or entertainment brands (27%). Women, on the other hand, significantly prefer to get messages from retailers and restaurants (59%).

Interestingly, over half of consumers say they aren’t interested in using instant messaging apps to interact with brands yet. That includes Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and WeChat. However, this may change as more brands make instant messaging an established channel to communicate with subscribers.

What Your Brand Needs to Know to Reach Consumers with Messaging

For your brand, it’s important to know where consumers prefer to opt into your mobile messages:

  • 40% prefer an online form where they can input their phone number

  • 36% want to sign up at the point of purchase, online or in the store

  • 32% want to opt in through an email offer

Also, understand why your audience might unsubscribe from your mobile messages. The most common reason is because they feel brands send too many messages. Others feel the information wasn’t relevant to them, they no longer cared about the brand, or the incentives weren’t good enough.

Our survey found that 32% of consumers find that more than two messages from a brand per day is too many, while 27% thought that one per day is overkill.

Chatbots: The New Kid in Town

While chatbots are still finding their footing in mobile marketing, all signs point to a bright future. At this point, only 54% of consumers have interacted with a chatbot, though half of all consumers would be comfortable doing so.

So why should your brand invest in chatbots? So many reasons. Consumers like them because they provide a faster way to get information, it’s easy to find the answers they’re looking for, and they are a natural way to interact with a brand.

We’re just at the start of seeing the potential of chatbots, so expect to see more innovative uses that you can piggyback on top of in the near future. But given the fact that chatbots save brands time and money (enabling them to cut back on customer service staff, since chatbots can automate the bulk of common questions) and provide a powerful mobile marketing tool means they won’t be shy wallflowers for long.

Whether you invest in mobile messaging or chatbots...or both, one thing is certain: today’s consumer is savvy and wants relevant information and value in their mobile marketing.

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