THE CHAT APP EXPERTS
AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT - CREATIVE SERVICES - MEDIA BUYING - CHANNEL MANAGEMENT - PARTNERSHIPS
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IHEARTRADIO, TANGO, AND BLOCK PARTY INTRODUCE AN ENTIRELY NEW WAY TO USE EMOJIS ON CHAT APPS
We're incredibly excited to have worked with iHeartRadio and messaging app Tango to launch a first-of-its kind emoji / sticker campaign. Each of the sixteen iHeartRadio emojis (four of which you can see to the right) is clickable and leads to a unique radio station within the iHeart radio app.
For example, if you share the coffee emoji with a friend in a conversation and they click on the image, it will start playing Coffee Shop radio on iHeartRadio. Users that don't have the iHeart app will be brought to the iTunes or Google Play app install page. Once the app is installed, users can then listen to music while they continue to chat on Tango.
Until now, native stickers / emojis on chat apps like Tango have never brought people directly to branded experiences outside the chat app. To our knowledge, this is also the first chat app campaign where each emoji in a pack leads to a specific custom destination when clicked. We hope to see more campaigns like this in the future!
READ THE NEW "GUIDE TO CHAT APPS" FROM COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL'S TOW CENTER FOR DIGITAL JOURNALISM
Download the new "Guide To Chat Apps," written by Block Party CEO Eytan Oren, Trushar Barot of BBC News, and published by Columbia Journalism School's Tow Center For Digital Journalism. This 50+ page digital booklet provides the most comprehensive overview to date of opportunities for news organizations on messaging apps, and includes case studies and interviews with executives at numerous major publishers and apps. Conde Naste's Chief Digital Officer Wolfgang Blau was kind enough to recommend the guide as "essential reading" for "anyone interested in digital publishing."
The research covers campaigns from early adopters like CNN, The Washington Post, New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post on apps like Snapchat, Kik, LINE, Viber, WeChat, and Telegram. It also delves into new developments in artificial intelligence and chat bot technology that are likely to change the messaging landscape in the coming year and beyond.
FACEBOOK, SNAPCHAT, & THE END OF THE SOCIAL NETWORKING ERA
We created and co-published this infographic with our friends at Percolate along with a guest blog post on their site.
For the first time in its history, Facebook Inc. now has more active accounts on messaging app properties than it does on its social network. After a series of bold moves, including a $22B purchase of WhatsApp and decoupling Messenger from the Facebook app, Facebook’s portfolio boasts 1.5 billion monthly chat app users—800 million on WhatsApp and 700 million on Facebook Messenger—compared to 1.49 billion on Facebook itself. In June, Facebook cut the cord completely, allowing people to join Messenger without joining Facebook.
Elsewhere on the chat landscape, Snapchat has overtly distanced itself from the “social networking” monicker while building an audience of 100 million daily active users. In the official blog post for its “Discover” launch, the company didn’t mince words: “This is not social media. Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently.”
Even Twitter, with its decelerating user growth, has taken a two-pronged approach to getting a foothold in the messaging game: it lifted the 140 character limit on direct messages, and launched standalone video messaging product Periscope.
This sea change has undoubtedly been years in the making, but 2015 marks the tipping point. It’s the end of the social networking era, and the beginning of the social messaging era.
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
With all the stateside media attention for Snapchat and Facebook, it’s easy to overlook that much of the world’s messaging innovation originates in Asia on apps like WeChat and LINE. When it comes to brand opportunities and e-commerce integrations, those platforms often act as de facto testing grounds—allowing western apps to pluck the most successful ideas and make them their own.
On WeChat, which dominates the Chinese market and has over 549 million global monthly users, there is almost nothing you can’t do on the app. Users can book car service, order food, receive and redeem coupons from companies like McDonald’s, make payments, join loyalty programs, and interact with official accounts from their favorite brands. In a “City Services” pilot launched in three cities this March, WeChatters can even book doctor appointments, pay electricity and parking bills, monitor air quality, view traffic cam feeds, and report incidents to the police.
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WHAT IMPACTS DO MESSAGING APPS HAVE ON JOURNALISM?
Block Party was honored by the invitation to speak at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism on the opportunity for publishers on messaging apps. For the full recap of the event, check out this great blog post on the university's site: "How and Why Media Organizations Are Increasingly Using Messaging Apps."
There's been increasing attention paid to Snapchat's recent launch of "Discover"-- giving companies like Vice, CNN, and National Geographic a new voice on the app-- and we applaud Snapchat's strong stance for journalistic integrity on the web: "We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what's important."
There are a number of other great case studies from major media organizations finding innovative ways to utilize WhatsApp, LINE, Kik, Tango, WeChat, Viber, and other messaging services. We highly recommend that you read the BBC's own blog post about its experimentation with messaging apps.
OK GO LAUNCHES A STICKER PACK FOR LINE IN JAPAN!
When it comes to messaging apps, designing stickers and emojis is pretty much as fun as it gets! For the band's recent Japanese tour, Block Party launched a sticker pack designed by artist Taku Sakaguchi-- which the band promoted during a live stream event held at LINE's Tokyo office. Read LINE's official blog post (in Japanese) about the sticker pack here.
I'll admit that two or three years ago I didn't quite "get" stickers and I never would have imagined myself using them, but at this point they've become a regular part of my messaging habits. Many of the stickers on the messaging app market have a decidedly cute aesthetic, so it was cool to experiment with a more abstract approach. As an art form stickers are ripe for all sorts of innovation, and you can always count on OK Go to try something creative and unexpected.
... AND NOW HAS OVER 1 MILLION FOLLOWERS ON TANGO
When we tell people that OK Go now has over 1.2 million subscribers on the messaging app Tango, we often get a very simple response: "Wow!"
OK Go was excited to be the first band to connect with the 300 million people across the globe that have registered on Tango-- via the app's new Channels program, the group built a bigger fan base than on Facebook in just a few months. Engagement for posts on Tango is also high-- when the same album promo message was recently posted to both platforms, it had 2,153 likes and and 418 comments in two days on Tango compared to 1,304 likes and 15 comments on Facebook in the same timeframe.
There are a variety of other great brands and celebrities on Channels, including Spotify, Sports Illustrated, Hulu, TMZ, Charli XCX, Sofia Vergara, and Dwayne Wade.
GLOBAL CITIZEN LAUNCHES FIRST EVER LIVE STREAM CONCERT ON A MESSAGING APP
There's nothing better than great music in support of doing good for the world. Block Party was honored to work with Global Citizen Festival on its fight to end extreme poverty, and to develop the messaging app strategy for the 2014 Central Park concert starring Jay-Z, Beyonce, Sting, No Doubt, Fun., The Roots, Carrie Underwood, and Tiesto.
Block Party brought in messaging app Kik as the festival's Official Mobile Partner, and helped launch a Global Citizen Kik "promoted chat" account. Within one month, Kik became Global Citizen's largest social outlet with 250,000 subscribers (over 4X its total Facebook followers, and 8X its Twitter followers). Global Citizen also saw a 69% open rate for messages it sent to users during the campaign-- over 11X the typical organic reach brands receive on Facebook. The concert was also available for live streaming on Kik, making it the first ever concert live stream on a messaging app.
Kik recently passed 200M users globally, with 40% of US teens reportedly registered as app users. Some of the other great brands on the platform include Vice, Funny or Die, MTV, Vans, and 16 Handles.