Slack and Messenger: adapting to the next inbox

In recent months there have been some large scale updates to key social media platforms, from WhatsApp status updates to Facebook Messenger Day. Despite this, a recent survey conducted by Mailjet unveiled 35% of UK respondents haven’t noticed a single one of the recent innovations.

The most noticed change was Facebook inbox swapping to Messenger (28%), highlighting the attention people pay when a more traditional inbox format is altered. The adaptability of today’s users, teamed with a growing dependency on social media, means we’re not far from seeing the traditional inbox transformed by the likes of Messenger and Slack. As more brands and apps push email content directly to Slack and Facebook Messenger, what does this move mean for marketers?

Hyper relevant content

First and foremost, messaging platforms serve users as an interface to communicate with colleagues, friends or family. Email campaigns transcribed into non-inbox platforms will need to match the conversations natively taking place there.

>See also: LinkedIn and Snapchat ‘will be short-lived’ – according to survey

Equally, the structure and tone of communications will need to be shorter, more casual and include strong calls to action. For instance, the Mailjet Slack App uses a more conversational tone when feeding users their most important email statistics.

The movement to instant messaging channels will therefore require a shift on the part of brands to being acutely relevant and timely. This means drawing on data from Facebook profile information and geo-localisation as standard.

From Maijet’s recent report findings, brands are now expected to use real-time and location-based emails (36%) as well as emails tailored to the products consumers have researched or purchased (32%) so that they are relevant.

Permission based marketing

Another important consideration for brands will be the changed environment they find themselves in after GDPR takes effect. Opt-in, rather than opt-out, will be the norm in the post-GDPR world.

Email content received in platforms like Slack or Messenger sets a welcome precedent through ‘pull’ bots. Best practice emails in Slack, for example, start in the form of a native conversation: “Hey, we’ve got new news about our summer line-up – anything you want to hear about?” It is then up to the user to respond back with the info they want to view more on the subject.

>See also: Seasonal spam: the unwanted email gift that gives and takes

Post-GDPR, marketers will need consent from each and every prospect they want to engage, agreeing that they are willing to be marketed to. Slack and Messenger are a step ahead in this respect.

Sending messages via Messenger or Slack requires opt-in – often done using OAuth 2.0 (industry standard enabling platforms to have access to user’s data). This consent rule means a significant reduction in unsolicited SPAM being received through these platforms.

However, once the opt-in has been granted, there aren’t the sophisticated filters that you would find with traditional inboxes such as Gmail and Hotmail to protect against misuse. This leaves consumers more vulnerable and requires them to manually filter and report unwanted messages.

A new era for metrics

Consuming email in non-inbox platforms is enticing, and starting to gain traction, but will it convert? Earlier this year, studies showed that conversion is still nearly three times higher on desktop than smartphone. With recent research by digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb revealing that smartphone users spend nearly half an hour a day on messaging apps, the question about conversion from these platforms stands.

>See also: Email is defying Facebook and other millennial messengers to survive

Since the start of the year, brands in the UK and France have been able to use third-party measurement firm Moat to analyse the effectiveness of their video campaigns on Snapchat. In much the same way, Slack and Messenger must tackle the increasingly important issue of measuring the success for email campaigns pushed to their platforms.

As brand interactions become far more two-way and conversational, clicks and open rates will no longer be the key metrics. Instead, brands will need insights from these external platforms that qualify a meaningful interaction. Pull requests, where customers initiate getting information, or link clicks, will bring companies a step closer to these insights.

With the ability to track exactly which campaigns are driving effective interactions and conversions, Slack and Messenger will help establish the new inbox. Those that succeed in this new communications landscape will note the new standards for hyper-personalisation, compliance and measurement and make the jump.


Sourced by Michyl Culos, head of marketing communications, Mailjet


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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