Should there be any question regarding the relevance and importance of video, one only has to consider Facebook Messenger’s 2017 stats. This year Facebook Messenger counted 17 billion real-time video chats, 500 billion shared emojis and seven billion daily conversations via the platform.
That’s a lot of smiley faces — but what’s perhaps more profound is what these statistics signal not only to the social media network, but to the retail landscape at large. Despite hand-wringing by older generations, Facebook Messenger users are looking to express themselves, albeit through stickers, frames and filters.
Consumers are seeking emotional connections, and in turn are looking to be trusted by peers, family members and even brands. Individuals responded to the platform’s enhanced camera features. According to a spokesman for the platform, nearly 1.7 billion emojis were shared daily and 18 billion GIFs were shared throughout the year. As individuals continue to become increasingly visual, brands and retailers that play to the preferred form of communication will resonate best with target audiences.
Significantly more time poor than older generations, Millennials have cultivated communities online not only for a sense of connection, but also out of efficiency. Despite reported backlash by pundits on the isolating effects of social media, Facebook Messenger found that 2.5 million new groups were created on the platform every day — the average group included about 10 people.
And with its group video chat features graduating from early adoption to mass acceptance, Facebook Messenger unveiled augmented reality features in June. Users could now heighten emotional expression through the selection of masks, filters and reactions to enhance video chats. “Overall, there were 17 billion real-time video chats on Messenger, marking two times as many video chat sessions in 2017 compared to 2016,” said the spokesman. “People video chatted across each other all around the world — including Antarctica!”
As the market emerges in its latest iteration following the holiday season, brands and retail executives will behoove themselves to consider how their respective companies are emotionally aligning with consumers. Debuting personalized emojis, facilitating in-person gatherings of online communities, and fostering self-expression — all in an authentic approach — will demonstrate to target audiences the willingness to evolve — and survive.
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