2014 is the year of mobile social messaging apps

Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp was the breakthrough moment for the new generation of messaging apps. The trend is expertly dissected in Benedict Evans’ seminal blog post.

Ephemeral messaging goes from strength to strength

The trend towards mobile-first, ephemeral forms of messaging shows no signs of abating. Snapchat has just responded to Facebook’s launch of Snapchat-inspired Slingshot with its own public, location-sensitive message sharing.

Even more strikingly, a two-letter mobile messaging app Yo, has been attracting attention, albeit predominantly of the negative kind.

Email is still the king in the land of ecommerce

Despite the rise of new messaging formats, email still holds sway – at least when it comes to driving conversions in ecommerce.

Clearly, the dominance of email as an ecommerce channel will not go unchallenged. Mobile purchasing experience will only improve and sooner or later some of the emerging messaging formats will be co-opted for the needs of commerce.

Email does not stand still

Albeit not developing as fast as the new messaging media, email has also been evolving recently.

For our part, we have noticed three interesting trends in email as an ecommerce channel.

I – Animated GIFs as a creative way to capture attention

Here are two example, first from an Uber newsletter

and another example from a Creative Mornings email event invite.

Both Uber and Creative Mornings deployed animated GIFs to great effect in email newsletters in order to capture attention to increasingly jaded audience.

II – Email newsletters are back in vogue

Prominent bloggers have all been very successful with email newsletter format.

Weekly roundup of interesting links from around the web, particularly when annotated with author’s comments, can be a great compromise between longer blog-posts and somewhat disjointed link-sharing on Twitter. Moreover, sign-up process and inbox delivery feels exclusive yet personal for the subscriber.

As a product manager, aforementioned newsletter by Benedict Evans is a must as is that from online marketeer Andrew Chen or delightfully eclectic Roo Reynolds’ weekly update.

In context of commerce, by far the best example of this trend is [Hiut Denim’s] (http://hiutdenim.co.uk) Scrapbook Chronicles.

The denim manufacturer from Wales gives a masterclass in how even a small team can tap into “commerce and content” trend in a scalable way to amplify their message and project their brand.

All is needed is some authenticity, clarity of mission and an eye for curating content from around the web.

III – Google Rolling out Tiled view in Promotions tab

Although often criticised as increasingly staid, the search giant is doing interesting experiments with one of its most valuable properties – Google Mail.

Having first introduced Promotions tab to Google Mail – a move perceived as damaging to companies relying on email as a channel – Google proceeded to add tiled format for promoted emails.

The move turns Promotions tab into a visual overview of email communication.

Of course, this move also enabled Google to give more prominence to its ads.

The future of commerce communication is bright

While new formats are developing fast, older forms of communication are evolving at their own pace.

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