iMessage App Store – What Does It Mean for a Marketer?

By Neha Baluni
App Store

Every year, when Apple presents a new version of their iPhone, they also present the newest version of their operating system, iOS, and this year is no different. While people may agree or disagree with the removal of the audio jack, no one has anything bad to say about the iOS 10. True, it may have bricked some phones, as some people have reported, but it is a risk worth taking when you consider all the improvement the iOS 10 is bringing.

Apple’s redesigned iPhones Control Center, extended the support for 3D Touch and included a new Raise to Wake option that allows you to take a quick glance at the lock screen, simply by picking your phone off the table.

Siri has also been improved, and it now allows developers to build custom Siri support in their own apps, so it won’t be long before Siri is able to do much, much more via voice command, even without having to open the app itself.

The Overhaul iMessage Received is a Game-Changer!

The greatest overhaul received the iMessages app. New features have been added, like background animations, new effects, rich links when you share something, and even a new sketching feature that has been transferred over from Apple Watch.

The iOS 10 upgrade is free, it’s worldwide, and it is exciting – everything a mobile user loves. Not only has Apple reinvented how you unlock your phone, the notification system, but it has also reworked iMessages, and let’s all agree – it was about time. Not only that you can now send secret messages that you need to scratch to reveal, or a proper birthday message with confetti, but it has also implemented a separate iMessage store, where you can find apps designed especially for this chat app.

So, What Exactly is the iMessage App Store?

What is that you might wonder, and besides being another great way for Apple to earn some extra cash, it also adds a lot of fun utility to the app itself, something that will certainly change the way people communicate, work and have fun – especially when you take into consideration the billions of Apple devices that exist around the world, where iMessages come pre-installed.

Stickers, Here They Come!

You like stickers from Viber? Great, now iMessages have them too! Want to share the song you are listening; even that is possible. Big brands, celebrities and other companies will create their own unique mini-app for iMessages before your know it; some for free, some – not so much. This screams commercial potential. While the ability to add stickers to your messages might seem simple to you, have in mind the amount of money present in the advertising business, and why it is important for brands to have their presence in every aspect of your life.

Big brands, celebrities and other companies will create their own unique mini-app for iMessages before your know it; some for free, some – not so much.

The store itself looks exactly like the ordinary App Store, as it shares the Apple design, where you can see what is popular, what is on sale, and you are always just a click away from managing your downloaded add-ons. You can disable everything that you do not use, probably to improve performance and declutter your space for writing. I’ve disabled the music sharing device, as I do not want to share with other people the fact that I still listen to Lady Gaga’s Just Dance.

How Will People Use It?

There are already apps that will allow you to share your expenses via a simple message, which is especially handy when you want to split the bill. You can even send gifts, play games, or reserve a table at a nearby restaurant. It is all convenient, but here is the fact: it removes the need for you to physically switch apps, open Google Chrome or Safari and visit a website. This creates an integrated experience, and turns an iMessage into a kind of browser, where you can share, listen to music, and most importantly – buy stuff. This fact alone will force, well, everyone to build their own services and compete with others in order to draw focus and customers.

You can even send gifts, play games, or reserve a table at a nearby restaurant. It is all convenient, but here is the fact: it removes the need for you to physically switch apps, open Google Chrome or Safari and visit a website.

How Will Marketers Use It?

The truth is: nobody knows. We are currently being a part of a small history in the making, as no one is sure how the evolution of this particular app store will develop. Except that it will be a great success, as it is bound to make loads of money for Apple. Big brands will have another unique way to interact with their customers, which is certain to bring changes to shopping, gaming, and even dating. All this is possible due to the fact that iMessages are everywhere. There was a rumor that iMessages will also be available for Android users, but it was quickly dismissed, however, the future is yet to happen, and you never know what might come our way.

What Can We Conclude from This?

One thing is for sure, iMessage is in the best position to compete with other chat apps, and it can present a direct competition for other big companies such as Facebook. True, Facebook is so much more than its (mandatory) chat app, so if Apple could monetize their iMessage in the same way Facebook monetizes their Messenger, they could earn between $6 and $32 billion annually.

This naturally leaves a lot of place for advertising even for smaller business. It is unusual for Apple to open up its services to third party developers, but now, everyone can engage with their customers with specially developed apps. This emphasizes the change that is happening now – marketers trying to find the best way of interacting with their customers as individuals, not as a wider audience.

This also represents a great way for brands to offer real, valuable content to customers in an area that wasn’t open before. Naturally, most of this will be converted into simple stickers, but other companies will find ingenious ways of incorporating their services into the messages themselves, where you will be able to do almost anything you want, without ever having to leave the app.

Whatever app that you use, your friends will receive a friendly reminder that they too can download the app via the iMessage App Store, something which is done in an Apple way – elegantly. This can increase the virality of apps, and genuinely help users achieve what they want.

What Can We Expect?

Expect that now people will spam you with stickers instead of actually typing. Developers are yet to discover the true depth of the integration that can be reached over iMessages, and for now, the basics are covered; like I already mentioned, you can split the tab, or reserve a restaurant; you can play a game or send a .gif, or a weather prediction, and over time, newer and newer services will come into existence.

Ordinary Apps Will Expand to iMessage!

Apps that you normally install and use every day, for example Giphy, will now be able to offer a simple addon for iMessages, without actually installing anything. We are yet to see how the competition will use this, for example WhatsApp, or the Facebook Messenger, but I can already imagine that normal games will add their own special stickers for you to use. For example, stickers from Super Mario Run are already available, and this is a part of their campaign for the official launch of the game in December 2016.

Disney has over 10 stickers packets developed and ready for people to use, which is not surprising for such a big company, and in the few days, we will see what will follow. The Yelp app allows you to send the location and profile of nearby businesses, and it is advertised in the “Decide as a Group” category, among other apps that are aimed towards group messages.

In the End

There aren’t many apps available yet – bear in mind that iOS 10 brought us this version of iMessages on September 13th around 18h CET, and when we take into consideration that Apple needs to approve all of its apps, we might need to wait a few more days.

On the other hand, it sure looks promising, both for a casual user and a professional marketer. This opens up a new front for new ways of delicate advertising on one of the most widely used devices in the world, something that Apple rarely does. The future has great things in store; we just need to wait a bit and see, or be innovative enough and come up with an exceptional idea that will quickly bring you to the top downloaded iMessages apps.

Finoit Technologies is a renowned mobile application development company providing Web and Mobile app development services. We have developed over 450 mobile apps, and have assisted many solopreneurs in their journey of startups by functioning as a tech partner and rolling out their product ideas. For questions/queries, you may write to us at [email protected]

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