Why Messaging Will Be Much Bigger Than Social Media

I’d like to take this opportunity to shed a little light on something the entire creative advertising industry is absolutely not spending enough time talking about: messaging.

There is SO much this space is bringing with it. It feels like the entire industry is blind to how big of a wave is right behind us and how it’s going to crash on our shores. We in the industry sit here and ask ourselves, “How did we miss social?” when a big opportunity is sitting right in front of us again and we’re all missing it when it comes to messaging.

So, I sat down with the Founder of Snaps, Vivian Rosenthal, to talk about all things messaging. Snaps makes iOS keyboards, chatbots, emojis, GIFs & stickers for brands, and we got into all of that and more.

Emojis As A Way In

As the self-professed “emoji queen,” I wasn’t surprised to hear Vivian say that emojis played a huge part in how Snaps has grown. She pointed to them as the way in, because they were something simple that everyone — consumers and brands alike — could understand.

“Emoji was actually the Oxford dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’ in 2015,” she said. More from her, here (emphasis mine):

“Emojis opened the way for stickers, GIFs, and short form video content, all living inside of messaging, and that was the big shift from social. Social is ultimately still a broadcast model of one to many, and with messaging it’s peer to peer. There’s an immediacy that just isn’t there in social.”

What’s interesting to me about emojis is that they’re providing an entirely new spectrum for emotional connection and language. They’re expanding language for us in a way we’ve never seen before.

But can an emoji convey an emotional connection between a brand and consumer?

The answer is yes, and I think that’s why branded emojis exploded, because people wanted to send them to each other. Traditional ads like pop-ups and banner ads are annoying. They get in the way of something else you want to do. You’re actually choosing to send an emoji or a sticker to your friend. That presents a seismic shift for advertising in terms of opt-in behavior.

What’s interesting is that we sometimes forget that brands are really a part of and help shape culture. So, if you feel affinity for a brand, you’ll use something they created. If you don’t, you won’t.

“They’re not pushing it on you, they’re just saying, ‘It exists. It’s here. Send it to a friend.’ That element of having agency over what advertising or brands you interact with, I think, is the big paradigm shift and what messaging introduces that we hadn’t seen so much in social.”

The Shiny Thing That is Chatbots

I think chatbots are going to be a massive part of this industry. However, I think they’re only going to be about one quarter of the industry.

The biggest challenge I have right now is how much hype there is around them. They’re so over-hyped. The problem is this industry gets sucked into whatever the new, shiny thing is, but when I step back and I look at the world, I see a bigger picture.

When it comes to functionality (like changing my flight, for instance), chatbots are going to be huge. But when it comes to consumer engagement, they’re only going to be a small piece of the overall messaging pie.

But as Vivian pointed out, they will still play a massive role:

“If you’re a brand, people aren’t going to your dot-com the way they used to, so you have to think about how you take that content and deliver it or publish it in a new way. A chatbot is incredibly useful for that.”

Whatever existed in email, is going to (sadly) exist in messaging. If a brand is sending me an email, that brand is going to one day send me a message.

And so that means that every single media company now becomes a messaging company.

More On Messaging

Whether it’s messaging technology, the growth of messaging, or the fact that the industry hasn’t spent enough time focusing their efforts there yet, let’s talk about it! As always, you can TXT ME here: (646) 759–1837

My full interview with Vivian (along with tips for brands) can be found here: