What's next for messaging apps: a trend towards more features and functionality

Viber cristina-constandache
Cristina Constandache
Chief Revenue Officer at Rakuten Viber
What's next for messaging apps: a trend towards more features and functionality

What's next for messaging apps: a trend towards more features and functionality

An expert opinion from Cristina Constandache, Chief Revenue Officer at Rakuten Viber, one of the world’s largest messaging apps with over 1 billion downloads on Android and thousands of businesses that are using Rakuten Viber for Business Solutions every day to connect with their customers.

Messaging and messaging apps have evolved significantly in recent years. They are no longer just a way to send text messages. In fact, they are now full-fledged platforms that offer a variety of services. In this article, we will discuss what’s new and recent in messaging apps in 2022 and what it means not just for end users, but for businesses that are looking for innovative ways to connect with their customers.

1. More Services and Features. More personalization. More innovation.

People always look for ways to streamline their lives. In the digital age, it is no surprise that there is a demand for getting more out of mobile devices. As messaging apps become more popular throughout the world, we can expect them to add more features and functionality to keep users on their platforms.

At Rakuten Viber, we have been more than a messaging app since day one. Today in 2022, the app’s list of features and solutions for a rich user experience includes:

  • Messaging
  • Audio and video private and group calls
  • Channels
  • Stickers
  • GIFs
  • AR Lenses
  • Disappearing messages
  • Payments and money transfers
  • Rakuten Viber Out: an ability to call any mobile or landline number in the world
  • Chatbots and Business Messages to connect with favorite brands
Examples of Chatbots, Stickers, and Lenses on Rakuten Viber

We expect to see other messaging apps follow suit and offer more services and features to their users.

If we look at the data, the trend is obvious. As of Q1 of 2022, chats and messaging are the most popular category of digital property, with 95.6% of adult internet users visiting them monthly, the time users spend with these apps daily keeps increasing, too. Moreover, at least 43.5% use social apps to find information about brands and products.

As messaging apps offer more services and features, we expect to see more personalization. This is good news for businesses looking for both one-on-one communication and being able to reach huge audiences at the same time. For data-driven companies, there is even better news. 

Now you can streamline and supercharge your outreach with personalized marketing. This change will allow businesses to better connect with their audiences and see more engagement and results.

Innovation will continue to play a big role in the messaging app space. The next big thing could be anything from Augmented Reality (AR) to Virtual Reality (VR). Rakuten Viber has already introduced AR with Rakuten Viber Lenses, and it’s been a huge success. More than 52 million Lenses captures were generated within the first three months since launch.

2. Increased Focus on Privacy and Security.

As people become more reliant on messaging apps, everyone is also becoming more aware of the need for privacy and security. Online space is often considered a prime target for hackers and other malicious actors, and over 40% of internet users are concerned that their personal data is being misused. As such, we can expect to see an increased focus on security from messaging app developers. Users are increasingly concerned about their online privacy, and they want to know that their messages are safe from prying eyes.

Is Rakuten Viber secure? Yes. Security is incorporated in the app’s DNA and is a priority not only for private user communications but in business messaging as well. For private and group chats and private calls, Rakuten Viber has end-to-end encryption which is set by default, as well as two-factor authentication and disappearing messages.  For brand-user communication, Rakuten Viber offers encryption in transit, which provides an exceptionally high level of security, so brands and users can rest assured their messages are safe from hackers. Rakuten Viber does not store messages on servers and uses only a secure HTTPS connection. While some of these features were introduced years ago, our security team is always introducing new layers of protection and safety.

3. Integration with Other Apps and Services.

As messaging apps become more popular, we can expect to see them integrate with other apps and services or enable other apps to serve their customers through the Rakuten Viber platform. This may include features such as the ability to book travel or make restaurant reservations directly from the messaging app—or complex API integrations, such as CDP and CRM integration.

At Rakuten Viber, we’ve already integrated with a number of third-party apps and services. Today our users can make utility payments via the app, order taxis and food, pay for parking, book flights, transfer money, and more. 

4. Conversational commerce.

Conversational commerce is a term used to describe the use of messaging apps by brands to sell products and services and provide after-sales customer support. This means supporting, promoting, and facilitating sales at every step of the customer journey: from helping users do their research and answering their questions as they’re making a decision to purchase—to the ability to purchase products and services directly from the messaging app. We expect to see more businesses using messaging apps to encourage and conduct transactions in the near future.

Examples of Conversational Business Messages on Rakuten Viber

5. Instant response.

Messaging apps are designed for instant communication, so it's no surprise that they are being used more and more for customer service. This includes the ability to chat with a customer service representative or to send automated responses to common questions.

All Rakuten Viber for Business solutions, including Rakuten Viber Business Messages and Rakuten Viber Chatbots, have been designed with instant response in mind, for all types of messages: conversational, transactional, and promotional. Rakuten Viber users can interact with your brand quickly and easily, without having to wait for an email response or phone call. Rakuten Viber Business Messages are perfect for marketing and for customer service, as they allow businesses to resolve customer queries as quickly as possible, as well as keep audiences up to date. Rakuten Viber Chatbots are a great way to offload some of the customer service burden, as they can provide quick answers to common questions without the need for human involvement. Chatbots are also programmed for real-time responses. It's no wonder that businesses see results, including increased loyalty and sales.

What does it all mean for businesses? The trend towards more features and functionality in messaging apps presents a great opportunity. When used correctly, messaging apps can be a powerful marketing tool. Send targeted messages to customers, offer customer support, and even conduct transactions. If you're not using messaging apps to connect with your customers, you're missing out. 

Learn more about Rakuten Viber and its solutions for businesses

Users today want their apps to do more for them. People spend over three-quarters of their app time in their select three favorites and almost half of that—in just one app. We are about to witness the rise of superapps: one-stop shops for many of users’ needs, from ordering food to booking travel to paying bills. 

Rakuten Viber has a single long-term strategy for brands and consumers, and it's to become a super-app: to give users maximum utility, so that they can solve many tasks within the comfort of one app—Rakuten Viber—thus creating multiple touchpoints for brands to reach their customers.

Rakuten Viber add-on services

If you would like to learn more about how your business can use Rakuten Viber to connect with your customers, please visit our website or contact us. Rakuten Viber is a subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc., a global leader in e-commerce and financial services. 

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We hope this article has given you some insights into the future of messaging apps, Rakuten Viber's long-term vision, and how the messaging ecosystem will continue to evolve.