As actual because it will get: Why dialog media advertising and marketing is ready to rework the digital advertising and marketing playbook

As real as it gets: Why conversation media marketing is set to transform the digital marketing playbook

CMM differs as being completely unobtrusive, but adding value.

From Ankit Prasad

The Covid-19 pandemic has permanently changed the way we live, work and, above all, how we communicate. Even when we were confined to our silos, the conversations got deeper and more engaging, and the need for greater personal connections was at an all-time high.

Interesting and unprecedented communication trends emerged. As we have adapted to remote working and multitasking, communicating via chat has surpassed audio calling as the most common form of communication. It’s hardly surprising that seven out of ten respondents in a Bobble AI study conducted by Nielsen in early 2021 said that their chat activity had increased in the six months leading up to the survey and will remain the same or will continue to increase over the next six months . GenZies and Millennials in particular have found new, innovative and fun ways to express themselves. Chats are now ruled by visual elements – emojis, stickers, and GIFs – as most agree, and I surely agree that they add a personal touch and allow people to be their true, whimsical selves. And that’s a global trend. In a 2020 report by Holler of major US cities, 78 percent of respondents said they can use pictures to express emotions that words can’t, and 81 percent said pictures make any conversation more fun.

The transition also meant that the way businesses interact with their consumers must change in order to adapt to the “new normal”. Brands need to redefine their marketing strategies with a more focused “humanized” approach that relies on feelings and connections. You need to go where consumers are most active right now – in their conversations. This has given way to a revolutionary new approach to marketing, Conversation Media Marketing (CMM), which is helping brands immerse themselves in the daily lives of their consumers in the visual formats that they now most identify with. CMM helps brands achieve targeted, cross-platform reach through fun visuals such as GIFs, stickers, and emojis that can be strategically delivered in real-time conversations based on the user’s intent in a relatable everyday language. It also takes into account the mood of the users based on their mood. Brands around the world are already enjoying success with these interventions becoming a part of consumers’ daily conversations. Snapchat enables its users to have their own personalized avatars, and luxury giant Ralph Lauren was quick on the bandwagon, giving users the opportunity to dress their digital personalities in its haute couture. Others like Nike and Disney have also spiced up their direct mail initiatives with CMM innovations. Closer to home, Bobble AI helped Cadbury India use conversational media to get their messages across as part of their Valentine’s Day campaign. From chocolates with romantic, cute text accompanied by users’ own facial expressions to larger branded emojis (BigMojis), it gave users a more personal and fun way to communicate their love. The campaign achieved over 126 million brand impressions in conversations and a 20 percent increase in purchase intent.

What does CMM offer that other means of digital marketing do not, one could argue. The digital marketing industry is faced with changing privacy regulations, changes in social media policies, multi-channel digital advertising overload for users, and fraudulent traffic due to deaf news. In addition, brands with a shrinking user attention spans and a discerning customer have to deal with an aversion to intruders and quick blocking of digital advertisements. CMM differs as being completely unobtrusive, but adding value. The brands are already present in personal conversations, CMM is increasing its presence and giving users freedom of choice and enabling them to be the brand attorney and thus to build trust and credibility. Consumers are always ready to incorporate these real, innovative visuals, and they also tend to identify with brand communication. Three out of four likely use a branded sticker versus an unbranded sticker in their chats, says a study by Nielsen. Additionally, consumers love it when brands show personality and keep using brands they already love to express their personal style.

According to a report by Dentsu, the digital advertising industry is expected to grow 20 percent to an industry of 18,938 billion in 2021. CMM is expected to have a significant share of that growth as the reasons behind the advertising budget shift from traditional mass media to targeted digital media are well captured in it. The increase in smartphone usage, which is estimated to have risen by 25 percent from around five hours a day in 2019 to seven hours in 2020, will only give chat-based apps and thus CMM opportunities for brands a boost.

In order for brands to keep up with evolving consumer trends, reinventing the digital marketing mix will change the rules of the game. Brands need to get in touch with consumers in real time, be more engaging without being intrusive. A people-centered approach with CMM will successfully drive higher engagement, provide users with a personalized experience, and give brands better visibility along with a community of loyal, real ambassadors.

The author is founder and CEO, Bobble AI. Views expressed are personal.

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