Higher Engagement: Since many chat apps provide publishers with push notifications or chatbot experiences (programmable robots that converse with users—see glossary), they can deliver significantly higher engagement rates than Facebook and Twitter. For example, LINE's Euro-Americas CEO Jeanie Han claims that 55.8 percent of push notifications sent to followers of official accounts are read.6 This advantage may erode from its current levels as new publishers compete for attention on each platform, but message open rates are still likely to supersede social network news feeds.
Audience Development: With billions of active users across multiple major chat apps, publishers have been successful in building large audiences fairly quickly on several platforms.
A Chance to Connect With Users in a New Way: Messaging apps offer a host of features not unavailable on social networks or other platforms. Publishers can creatively leverage these tools to tell stories in new ways. For example, Snapchat lets users write and draw on top of content from publishers before sharing with friends. Companies like BuzzFeed are also experimenting with publisher-branded emojis that followers use to enhance personal conversations on apps like LINE.
Building Community: Chat apps offer an opportunity for readers and viewers to easily connect, share, collaborate, and discuss a range of topics. Platforms like Kik and Tango, for example, let companies host their own chat rooms where readers and viewers can meet and discuss topics of interest. And Snapchat's Live Stories allows people in a specific geolocation to contribute eyewitness media to a crowdsourced video piece the entire Snapchat community can view.