How could the popularity of the newest apps affect your marketing strategy?
Facebook announced that it is purchasing the mobile messaging application WhatsApp for $12 billion in Facebook shares, $4 billion in cash and an additional $3 billion in RSUs for employee retention (source). Morning news reporters’ jaws dropped as they realized the gargantuan status of this simple application. We all know Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds and even Candy Crush but what the heck is WhatsApp and why is it worth $19 billion!? What else is out there that we don’t know about?
Here’s the lowdown on the top applications you’ve probably never heard of…
but better put on your radar ASAP.
Users: 400 million
Cost: First year free, 99 cents/year after that
This handy little app is the sleeping giant behind the demise of data bundles, minutes and texting plans – it’s the new SMS (short media messaging). It’s biggest appeal? There are no advertisements. Beloved by international users, this “cross-platform messaging app” allows people to “text” each other regardless of device or country. Users can create groups and send unlimited text, video and audio messages.
Users: No Data Yet (Launched Jan. 2014)
Founded by Biz Stone, a co-founder of Twitter, this app already has a little star power to boost its popularity. You know those weird questions you type into Google? “Why do people have mullets?” “Why is the Syracuse mascot and a piece of fruit?” Well, Jelly crowd sources your questions and a whole community gets you an answer. The most popular questions are simply taking a photo on your phone and asking, “What is this?” Point. Shoot. Ask.
Users: 9 Million
How do you become one of the fastest-growing apps on the iPhone without spending a penny on marketing? Give people ownership and a title. We all want to be “king” or “queen” of something, don’t we? Who doesn’t love a good conquest? QuizUp is a trivia game application. Users challenge each other to a quick round of questions on a favorite topic whether it’s Mean Girls, Civil War Battles or Impressionist Painters. The best part? With each challenge you cross you get a new title or “crown.” I’m not ashamed to admit I’m currently “Terrific Terrier,” also known as the reigning expert on dog breeds. Challenge your mom, your boyfriend or a stranger in South Africa and be the champion of your favorite topic.
Now, this is the only brand app on the list and it’s had mixed reviews so far. However, when I downloaded it I had one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that!” moments and that’s why you need to know about it. Negative reviews seem to stem from those that aren’t the tech savviest while those who love it are closer to the Millennial generation. Either way, this app gets me. I’m going to shop at Target anyways. I’m going to buy necessities like Advil, toothpaste or garbage bags. Target makes me happy by giving me 5-25% off these items. In return, I’m a loyal Target shopper. Coupons aren’t new and mobile coupons aren’t groundbreaking but something about this one feels big…
Snapchat, in a nutshell, is the ability to snap photos (mostly selfies) and send them to friends. At most, the receiver can only view the photo for 10 seconds before it disappears. The app had a rough start when its main audience was using it for sexting, screenshotting and blackmailing. However, Snapchat soon responded by adding an update for users to receive a notification if their image was saved. Since then, brands like Taco Bell, 16 Handles, Acura, GrubHub, the New Orleans Saints and MTV have started accounts to provide backstage, insider information (think VIP pass). A recent study even found that 77% of college students use this app at least once a day. Will it last? Who knows? It’s certainly something to keep on our radar.
Why should you care?
These apps have already bypassed the user data of Facebook and Twitter and they aren’t stopping. Do I recommend starting a Snapchat or Jelly account for your company? A coupon app like Cartwheel? No. Sit back and watch as they test the waters and see if they continue to make waves. These apps may not be appropriate for your brand’s message but their niche offerings have tapped into something powerful that our 2014 psyches are absolutely loving. Stay curious as you see them all get gobbled up by Facebook, Google, and other companies looking to control of the quickly changing mobile messaging landscape.