3 Themes Driving the Future of Mobile Messaging



“The ability to communicate remotely, in order to maintain those [personal and professional] relationships, has never been more crucial.” – Travis Montaque, CEO, Holler


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Messaging is a highly efficient, effective, and safe space for people to express true feelings and emotions. We are turning to mobile messages more for conversations and crave the genuine connections they provide in the digital space. With the evolution of technology, the desire for additional ways to achieve self-expression continues to grow but not without adding complexities and introducing new consumer behaviors.

With more than 170 million content recommendations shared each day, Holler‘s mission is to take the nuances out of this important conversation and make it easier for our texts, posts, and DMs to be expressive while easily understood. In partnership Zogby Analytics, the messaging tech company recently conducted an online survey of 1,004 adults in the U.S. to dive into the latest trends surrounding mobile messaging including the what, why, and how of communication in today’s digitally-driven world.

At a glance, key themes unveiled spanned:

  • The opportunities for brands and the evolution of branded content
  • The growing role of chat messaging apps
  • The desire for more visual choices

Here’s a deeper look into these topics:

The problems with public spaces: authenticity and privacy

Social media was built on the foundation from the human need to communicate. As it became more widespread, adoption practices paved the way for greater creativity. Over time, more options for self-expression evolved into a sea of self-promotional updates and attention-seeking exchanges that dominate our feeds.

We’re beginning to see a fundamental reorientation take place in how we communicate that favors privacy and prioritizes authenticity and meaningful interactions based on unfiltered personas and genuine emotions. Per the report, at least 72 percent of Americans say they message more than they email, comment on social media, or make phone calls. In addition, half (50 percent) of the respondents reported privacy as their least favorite aspect of having public conversations on social media. The second least favorite aspect? Being able to feel comfortable enough to engage in personal or private matters in a public forum.

Mobile messaging is fueling genuine interactions

Across all social platforms, 73 percent find that they’re their most authentic selves on chat messaging apps. Interestingly, these aren’t only one-on-one conversations, inner-circle chats are taking hold with 44 percent reporting their chats involve at least four to six other people. Concerning frequency, 43 percent of those 18 to 24 communicate multiple times per day in group chats while 47 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds communicate daily in group chats.

Beyond users, brands are getting in on the action understanding that by taking the time to craft an authentic persona, they have an opportunity to bring humanity to the core of their campaigns and decisions and, in turn, connect with consumers on a deeper level. More specifically, this isn’t just an outlet to push a product or service, but an opportunity to leverage an open communication platform for the purpose of educating customers, informing them, and most importantly, help users express their true selves. This was exemplified by findings including 78 percent of consumers use brands they love to express their personal style. Meanwhile, 70 percent of respondents and 84 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds claim they’d be willing to share brands’ original content if they thought it was funny or cool.

Words vs. visuals

An important question the report addresses is whether visuals like GIFs and emojis are replacing words. In short, the answer is yes. 78 percent of consumers believe visuals allow them to express their emotions more profoundly than when using words alone. This is largely due to the added layers of nuance, complexity, and creativity they offer.

Other top reasons visuals are preferred are due to their ability to bring life to conversations and help clear up misunderstandings. Broken down by demographic, 76 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds use only visuals “all or some of the time” on chat messaging apps while 68 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds report such behavior.

Now more than ever our screen time with our phones is integral to maintaining relationships. We’re immersed in virtual conversations with family, friends, and coworkers in the spirit of practicing social distancing and reliant on platforms to offer new ways to express ourselves and share our experiences with one another sans the heavy self-editing. In the months and years ahead, messaging will continue to dominate over digital communication forms for the authenticity, personalization, sense of safety and connection it lends.

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