We are about to witness a massive leap in message apps for both consumers and the enterprise. 2015 will be the Year of the Message App. The sheer scale and reach of apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, Kik and even FB Messenger is huge and not to be ignored. Message apps are often called "SMS+" and it's the + that's intriguing.
2014 proved to be a tipping point in what I call -- SMAC Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. Each of these elements stands on it's own in providing value to both the enterprise and to consumers and together they've brought radical changes in how we communicate and work.
- Social is pretty much fully integrated into the business and consumer mindset.
- Everyone's on mobile and brands are figuring out how to market to mobile-first and mobile-only consumers as the shift speeds ahead.
- Analytics (including big data) is finally earning its keep and truly providing relevant insight to businesses and brands in a way that is meaningful and profitable.
- The cloud provides the infrastructure to make it all happen.
But something has been missing. The ability to communicate one-to-one privately has been lost in the world of social applications. Many-to-many has a place and is relevant much of the time.
Message app appeal to the healthcare industry is interesting and something to watch. Tiger Text, the business messaging app that lets you delete messages after a set period of time, works with doctors and is now going after other industries in a big way.
From both a personal and a business standpoint, users want the ability to segment and choose who receives what message, when they receive it and how long it lives. Of course security is always a concern online. Look for 2015 to be a year in big innovations in this areas as providers and developers shore up the holes in a bid for wider adoption.
Brands and their agencies, along with enterprises are wise to keep their eye on these new apps to understand strengths and weaknesses. For instance, message apps pick up very little in the way of user profiles - that's one of the appeals, but a potential downside to marketers. Knowing more can help your organization plan for the future.
Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC, a strategic advisory firm located in Beverly Hills. She also teaches at UCLA Anderson School of Management and is the author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing.