The way consumers want to engage with brands is rapidly changing. Running ad campaigns you hope your audience will see, using third-party data to target potential customers, or shooting out emails may have worked once. Those days are over. Not only are your ads impersonal static and noise to those you’re trying to reach, but reaching the right people at the right time is getting harder and harder as digital privacy changes are locking marketers out of third party audiences and limiting the signals they can share to improve their marketing efficiency.
But what do consumers engage with all day, every day? Their phones. And what are they doing on their phones? They’re messaging with friends, families, and coworkers. Why shouldn’t they be messaging with brands, too?
Conversational commerce has been growing in popularity for a few years, but many brands are limiting their conversations only to chatbots on their websites — meaning that most brands are waiting for customers to visit their website before they engage in a conversation with them.
At Spectrm, we believe this is the wrong way to think about conversational commerce. Consumers don’t want to have to visit your website at all. Instead, they want to engage with your brand in the same way they’re already communicating with their friends: through private messaging on Messenger, Instagram DMs, or WhatsApp. They want in app messaging experiences that are highly engaging, assistive, interactive, and relevant. Not text-only customer service chatbots just asking “How can I help?”
While many forward-looking brands have already jumped on this emerging channel, we wanted to learn more from consumers about their experiences messaging with brands today, and put some data behind the trend. In January 2022, we surveyed 1726 consumers — 780 from the EU and 946 from the US — about their experiences messaging with brands, if messaging led to them purchasing a product, their thoughts on privacy and data collection, and more. What we found is that messaging has more of an impact on brand affinity and sales than most marketers may be aware of.
We hope you find these findings helpful as you build your marketing strategy for 2022.
Messaging is the primary way they want to communicate with a brand. 60% of EU respondents and 51% of US respondents prefer messaging over email or phone calls. Top reasons they want to message with a brand are because it’s faster and it’s convenient.
67% of EU respondents and 52% of US respondents have messaged with a company on Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp. They’re mostly messaging about pre-purchase issues, like with product or service questions and shipping and delivery questions.
53% of EU respondents and 43% of US respondents have clicked on a Click to Messenger ad. After clicking on the ad, over half of respondents made a purchase.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents have had a positive experience while messaging with a brand. Additionally, 67% of EU respondents and 54% of US respondents say they are more likely to buy from a brand that offers the option to engage via messaging, and 54% of EU respondents say they’re likely to spend more if a company offers messaging.
Those who had a negative experience messaging say it was because of a slow response, or no response at all. Over half said their negative experience in messaging disinclined them from making a purchase with that company. Additionally, half of respondents overall have abandoned purchases because a company was too slow to respond.
Consumers want their needs met while messaging — bot or not. As long as they’re able to get what they need, both EU respondents (48%) and US respondents (51.7%) don’t care if they message with a bot or a human. Of those who said they don’t want to talk to a bot, about half said they would change their mind and feel comfortable speaking with a bot if they know they can get instant, useful responses.
Over three-quarters would be comfortable giving preferences to a brand. 81% of EU respondents and 78% of US respondents said they would be comfortable giving preferences to a brand in a private and safe way, in order to receive a more personalized experience. Additionally, 39% of EU respondents and 34% of US respondents said they would be fine with having a company collect their information to use for personalized experiences, as long as they give permission to use it.
Even with brands just beginning to use messaging to interact with their customers, we’re already seeing a massive amount of engagement amongst consumers. 67% of EU respondents and 52% of US respondents said they have messaged with a company through the native messaging features on Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
We also traced their journey from seeing a Click to Messenger ad to purchase. For EU respondents, out of 414 respondents reached by the Click to Messenger ad, 221 clicked on the ad — a CTR of 53%. Out of those who clicked, 135 made a purchase — a 61% conversion rate. For US respondents, out of 454 respondents reached by the Click to Messenger ad, 194 clicked on the ad — a CTR of 43%. Out of those who clicked, 102 made a purchase — a 53% conversion rate. Considering that typical conversion rates for ad campaigns are less than 10%, messaging offers a much more impactful and attributable channel for sales.
Overall, considering that many made a purchase as a result of the interaction, it seems that their experience messaging was positive. That’s what 73% of EU respondents and 72% of US respondents said: They had a positive experience in their messaging exchange that led them to a product that fit their needs.
However, for the 27% of EU respondents and 28% of US respondents who had a negative experience, it was due to too slow of a response, or no reply at all — meaning that those brands failed at the fundamental function of messaging: fast, convenient exchanges. That negative experience also impacted purchasing decisions, in that respondents said they’d be less inclined to want to be a customer of that brand.
Already, we’ve learned a lot about how consumers feel about interacting with a brand via messaging: Many consumers are doing so already, and their interactions have been very positive, resulting in purchasing from that brand. However, those who have entered into a message exchange with a brand and were let down by response times and the experience took their money elsewhere.