To say that our digital purchasing behavior has been changing rapidly is something of an understatement. Even as recently as ten years ago, reaching people on the Internet essentially followed a basic pattern: someone would perform a search for a relevant term or see an ad that struck their interest, they would be re-directed to a landing page with a value proposition and would then begin their journey down the sales funnel.
But the world has changed exponentially in a decade – including the very definition of what “the Internet” means to people in the first place. People are no longer working solely with desktop and laptop computers – 77% of Americans not only own a smartphone, but also use it as their primary means of getting online.
This type of massive shift has changed nearly everything about the way we live our lives, including the ways in which we buy. New technology hasn’t empowered concepts like landing pages – it’s essentially made them irrelevant. While this level of disruption will certainly be a burden to some who are still stuck in the “old school” way of doing things, we should all look at it for exactly what it is: an opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Thanks to advancements like iMessage, marketers now have an increasing number of ways to expertly deliver a brand’s message and drive engagement. We’re living in a world where it is now easier than ever to reach people WHEREVER they go, on any screen, across a wide array of physical spaces.
The iMessage Factor
Thanks largely to the prominence of Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad in the United States, iMessage has quickly become one of the dominant communication methods on the planet over the last few years. According to one study, there were 200,000 iMessages sent every second last year, or roughly 63 quadrillion messages from January to December. iMessage may have started as Apple’s own “walled garden” version of an SMS text messaging platform, but it has long since transcended that status in a number of ways that are important to marketers in particular.
Think about what you can do with an iMessage and, by association, the iMessage App Store that debuted with iOS 10. During a discussion with a close friend about where to go to dinner on Friday night, you can easily use an app like OpenTable to see what reservations are available. You can not only book that table and get confirmation, but you can also instantly send that information to your friend (and add it to your respective calendars) so that you’re both on the same page – all without ever leaving the iMessage app at all.
With iOS 11, factors like artificial intelligence and conversation-as-a-platform begin to enter the equation. Now, you don’t even have to book that reservation manually – just mentioning that you’re thinking about getting dinner at X restaurant on Y day at Z time will prompt iMessage to do all the legwork on your behalf. You can even pay in advance with your thumbprint and ApplePay. Whether you’re talking about booking a table for dinner, buying tickets to a movie or shopping for a new pair of tennis shoes doesn’t matter – messaging commerce makes it possible to do all of this and more not by using your technology like a tool, but by talking to your technology like a friend.
With the ability to buy nearly anything you need with a technique as simple as a basic conversation, who needs landing pages anymore?
Having access to this level of technology is one thing, however – utilizing it effectively is something else entirely. While iMessage may be where this revolution began, it won’t stay there for very long. In order to use the advancements of 2017 as a true foundation for the next decade, we must all begin to look at these types of messaging-based brand touchpoints for what they are – part of a single, unified, connected “Customer Experience” ecosystem. Whether you’re talking about iMessage or another messaging commerce platform doesn’t matter. The revolution is coming and you need to be ready.