Consumers Prefer Private Messaging with Brands: Report

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Around sixty per cent of EU customers and 51% of US customers prefer messaging over email or phone calls as they believe it is faster and more convenient.

This is according to a study by Spectrm, a marketing platform businesses use to automate one-to-one conversations with consumers on messaging channels.

The State of Social Conversational Commerce report surveyed 1,726 consumers: 780 from the EU and 946 from the US with the purpose of better understanding their experiences messaging with brands, if messaging led to them purchasing a product, their thoughts on privacy and data collection, and more.

Max Koziolek, CEO of Spectrm, said, “We found private messaging has a profound impact on brand affinity and sales, more than most marketers may be aware. While conversational commerce has been growing in popularity for a few years, many brands limit their conversations only to chatbots on their websites. Our report’s findings shed light on why this is the wrong way to think about conversational commerce. Instead, consumers 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.”

Other key findings include:

  • 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, to receive a more personalized experience.
  • 67% of EU respondents and 52% of US respondents have messaged with a company on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. Over half of respondents replied that they have messaged with a company through Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp, with over two-thirds (67.1%) of EU respondents saying they have. However, US respondents were less likely to have, with 52.3% saying yes.
  • 53% of EU respondents and 43% of US respondents have clicked on a Click to Messenger ad.
  • 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 abandoned purchases because a company was too slow
  • to respond. Those particular experiences — whether due to faulty technology, live chat agents unavailability, or simply not having built a robust messaging system — left customers frustrated and feeling ignored. This made them less likely to buy from that company in the future, and respondents said they’ve abandoned purchases from companies who took too long to respond. A poor messaging experience directly led to a loss of sales for the company

For those who did click on the Click to Messenger ad, did they eventually make a purchase after doing so? The majority of respondents said yes, they did, with EU respondents being more inclined to have made a purchase (61.1%) than US respondents (52.6%).

For marketers looking to increase their conversion rate, this finding demonstrates that messaging with consumers is a much more successful channel than other marketing channels, especially since conversion rates for traditional ads are often under 10%.

Online privacy is a topic that concerns consumers more and more. The report found that over the past year, respondents’ concerns about data privacy have mostly increased, with 42.8% of EU respondents and 53.7% of US respondents saying they’re more concerned about their data privacy than ever before — and the increased concern from US respondents is likely due to seeing stories about companies tracking personal information without permission and sharing that data with third parties frequent the news cycle. For 36.3% of EU respondents and for 34% of US respondents, their view around data privacy hasn’t changed in the past year.

When it comes to preferred platforms, both groups of respondents said they prefer Facebook Messenger, though US respondents prefer it much more (54.8%) than EU respondents (35.8%). The second most preferred platform for US respondents is Instagram direct messaging (18.5%), while for EU respondents, it’s WhatsApp (33%). US respondents also had a higher “Other” response, meaning that they have more options for messaging, possibly diluting their responses above.

The report also highlighted that the future of marketing is conversational, and the future of conversational marketing is automated one-to-one messaging in private channels.