IMterview: Facebook and WhatsApp - what should agencies do with IM?

Paul and Darika, the 'Trinny and Susannah' of digital marketing, ponder what Facebook's acquisition of instant messaging service Whatsapp means agencies should do in the space.

Whatsapp: Facebook acquired the IM app for $19bn
Whatsapp: Facebook acquired the IM app for $19bn

So Facebook has spent $19 billion on buying IM app What'sApp. What's up with IM apps right now?

Darika, 41 mins

Viber and others are also cashing in. Facebook's acquisition is raising a lot of eyebrows / exciting people because it's the 2nd largest purchase in history. IM and email (or "Dark Social" as some call it) never really went away - Facebook acquired WhatsApp to really gain better footing in places where its products have failed to gain a strong position.

Paul, 40 mins

Ooo "Dark Social"? I've never heard that, what does it mean?

Darika, 38 mins

Dark social is a term coined by Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, to refer to the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by Web analytics programs. This mostly occurs when a link is sent via online chat or email, rather than shared over a social media platform, from which referrals can be measured. What is interesting is the speed and the questions behind why people are using IM apps again. Are they tired of lack of privacy? Are we less social than we are led to believe...

Paul, 37 mins

Blackberry's IM app, BBM, is now available on iOS, Android, and soon Windows Smartphone. Blackberry's new CEO says BBM will be a key revenue generator for them in the future. But right now which, if any, IM apps are selling anything for brands?
For example why can't I buy ads in What's App? Microsoft was doing this years ago with Messenger

Darika, 36 mins

Yes - WhatsApp are pretty anti ads (it's in big letters on their homepage). Right now, the options are limited to small activities unless there is big money involved. Snapchat has sort of opened up to brands but it's pretty organic still. The only one I can think of that does pretty good stuff / has massive potential for brands is often the last IM client that people underestimate for activity. Skype.

Paul, 34 mins

Ah, Microsoft again. So what should brands ask their agency to do for them around IM

Darika, 33 mins

I think a refreshing look at REAL influence online would be the ideal. Who is moving information and causing real change. Now that is something I and brands would pay for. Correctly identifying and influencing the influencers. However, this is unlikely to happen quickly and without a lot of hard work which leads me to believe we'll see the usual rash of brash sponsorships and short-term strategies.

Paul, 31 mins

It’s a cool idea. Sounds like it would cause a massive data privacy headache too

Darika, 29 mins

That is a great point. People are private beasts and brands need to respect that. IM clients may simply be the natural progression and perhaps even more invasive than say emailing etc.

Paul, 27 mins

In essence, WhatsApp seems like rich territory for that right now - certainly a busy one. This is the interesting part. My IM strategy would be to get this button on my website stat!

Paul, 21 mins

Paul runs Digital Orange Consulting, helping brands and agencies gain fresh perspectives in their busy worlds about emerging technologies, platforms and the future. Darika Ahrens runs branding and marketing consultancy Grapevine Consulting.

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