How Apple will monetize conversations with Business Chat
Apple’s new Business Chat sees messaging and commerce as two sides of the same coin—the real value is communication with the customer. Only then do you know when you can best support their experience, or provide them with what they need.
As a channel, Business Chat has the power to help marketers unlock new experiences. With connections to core Apple services like Maps, Safari, and Siri, there are a number of ways developers can potentially monetize Business Chat using location, voice commands, and users’ other anonymized data to create compelling in-app moments.
In conjunction with other evolving technologies such as chatbots and the ability to make mobile payments via Apple Pay right within Business Chat, this may be the precursor to a WeChat-like experience in North America.
But first things first: let’s discuss some new Business Chat features and low-hanging use cases for unlocking their marketing value.
Updates and opportunities
The release of Business Chat is a fluid process. Developers can simply add a message button to their apps, website, or email and they’re off and running. The integration with Maps means location data is available, so marketers can create a chat conversation with a particular store nearby that has a special offer.
iMessage also added new screen effects and background animations to allow users to be more visual and creative in chat experiences. Additionally, there are new marketing tools, like Spotlights, which can create a sense prominence or urgency for your message, and Echos, which are little bubble clusters of messages left for a user.
Chatbots will let brands market specific offers to targeted users with confidence in returns. As more people use chatbots, we’ll see iMessage-specific audience cohorts assigned value as a source of fresh, device-hashed, behavioral data.
The biggest change is mobile payments being added to the messaging experience. This will open up the floodgates for in-app commerce and make mobile shopping easier for Americans to adopt, just as peer-to-peer commerce is also on the rise.
Impacts for Monetization
The US market is adopting mobile payments slowly, but it’s well-acquainted with messaging apps. With Apple Pay poised to be among the most popular methods of mobile payments in North America, and the familiar iMessage platform fostering quicker mobile payment adoption, marketers and developers now find themselves with a number of tools for monetizing chat.
For peer-to-peer transactions, Apple Pay Cash provides an easy way for friends to send and receive small amounts of money which is instantly credited to their wallet app or transferred to a bank account.
Because Business Chat supports images and video, it’s a sandbox for creatives. Each of these formats offers a range of possible formats, experiences, and calls to action. An easy mobile payments experience being made available inside a trusted chat window is huge.
With this evolution happening at the same time as chatbots, location-based marketing and mobile attribution tech maturing may signal the future of North America’s next wave of mobile commerce.
WeChat’ed about this before
When it comes to the integration of messaging and mobile payments, there is WeChat and then there’s everyone else. As the must-have app in most of APAC, WeChat sets the standard for performance at a time when purchasing via mobile messaging apps is a key economic driver for the region.
For the uninitiated, WeChat is a messaging app that’s really a platform within an interconnected ecosystem that monetizes in a number of ways (ads, direct transactions, P2P payments, etc.) In May 2017, WeChat reported 938 million monthly active users (MAU), up 23% from just the previous quarter, and did $21.9 billion in Q1 of 2017.
The utility of Business Chat and its connectivity to Apple’s core mobile services may make for a strong foundation to build next-gen transactional opportunity. It’s expected that app publishers will focus on using data connected across these services to optimize the frequency, duration, and format of in-app messaging interactions.
US markets for Business Chat, Apple Pay, and mobile payments will grow based on app developers and marketers’ ability to invite users to conversation, offer them value, and make payments easy. From here on out, a series of unified messaging and transactional experiences will come at us in waves.