Friday, 15 April 2016

Our growing obsession with WhatsApp…

Yesterday I got my first MSF WhatsApp message after signing up a week or so ago.

This made me very excited. As any regular reader of this blog will know - I’m a little obsessed by the potential of WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps.

I talk about it a lot at conferences and client meetings - so I will try to explain my obsession without the hand waving and swearing that accompanies me talking in those places.

In the UK, SMS volumes have stabilised at about 150 billion a year. But the use of instant messaging has exploded, with volumes hitting around 300 billion in 2014 – up from about 25 billion in 2010. Source here. So, if the people we want to inspire and communicate with are this obsessed with these messaging services, we should be too.

I have a theory about this mass adoption. It’s a theory, so feel free to disagree with it. It goes like this…

As people become more aware of the privacy concerns of social networks like Facebook, instant messaging is attractive because they can create their own private social networks by using groups. I’ve seen this happen with my family, friends and colleagues – where groups have been set up for specific events, groups of people or work projects. And just like in social media, pictures, video and links are quickly shared and chat ensues…

I’ve seen JustGiving use WhatsApp to drive sharing and it seems to create additional value.

I’ve seen add WhatsApp sharing to the post petition signing experience.

And now we see MSF using it to communicate with their supporter base.

In our opinion the growth and adoption of instant messaging is not ‘happening’ it has ‘happened. And we need to be thinking now about how we use the changing nature of messaging to our and our clients advantage.

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