Is there value, from a brand perspective, in pursuing social chat apps? If one looks at the sheer volume of mentions many get on Twitter, the answer is a resounding YES . . . or is it? Mentions don’t necessarily mean a social chat app is loved – or even liked: 

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But what’s so essential about love when it comes to marketing your brand? Nothing, really. Love isn’t the ‘be all, end all’ in the marketing game – but PASSION is. And when it comes to social apps, they certainly rate on the passion index.

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And they have the audience. Obviously. But do they have the ability to help your brand hit this user base where it counts (right between the eyes)? Some do, some don’t – and you’ll hear ALL about both kinds, no doubt, during the SXSW event happening on March 14 (at 2pm CT), Excuse Me!: Do Marketers and Chat Really Blend?

Beyond that, you’ll hear answers to these questions (from the description):

  • Is this [really] the right environment for marketing?
  • Do chatters really want to be distracted from one another here?
  • And what have advertisers gotten from early partnerships with Kik, Tango, LINE and Snapchat?

And ahead of you tuning in, here’s a summary to warm your thinking:

Whats App is international (and owned by Facebook) so its neutral rating and popularity make sense – but it isn’t something marketers will find much value in . . . yet. We’re guessing Facebook has plans to change that though. 

Tango is similar to Whats App. It offers messaging and calling services (calling is a pretty new Whats App offering, in case you missed it), but unlike its Facebook-owned friend, Tango offers advertising opportunities that may be of interest.

And then we get into the brand (and Gen Y and Z) favorites – Snapchat and Kik.

In contrast to the two listed above, Kik offers promoted chats and other ways for brands to engage – and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about those ways during Austin event as its VP of Marketing, Heather Galt, is one of the panelists.

Snapchat is the best known (and most abused/loved/hated) of the apps, which is apparent by the sheer volume of mentions it garners and the PASSION it produces:

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Note the spike was in response to a January 27 change that made it less stalker-friendly. Yes, really:

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Facebook WISHES it caused that much controversy with its own changes . . . maybe it should have purchased Snapchat instead? Yes, we all know it tried.

Point is, there’s an audience – and there’s a way to advertise on some of these social chat apps. And understanding the PASSION behind what that audience is saying will be worth its weight in gold soon enough. And then some.

NetBase will be at SXSW! Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the event. 

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