A recent report by the Gartner group indicated that mobile instant messaging (MIM) is poised for massive global growth and could eventually replace SMS as the primary peer to peer tool of choice on mobile.
Should marketers care?
SMS has been the killer application for mobile marketing in Canada to date – but peer to peer messaging has been off-limits in terms of mobile advertising.
Now that the iPhone 2.0 (or 3G iPhone) is confirmed and coming to Canada on July 11th, Canadians are far more likely to engage in MIM as one of the 8 applications the average iPhone owner currently uses.
The opportunity for marketers will be access to the advertising inventory that will be made available when these applications become widely distributed and used on the iPhone and other smartphone devices – like the new Blackberry Bold and Thunder. Really smart marketers should consider taking a white-label version of an MIM aggregator and brand it for their industry or brand and extend the customer experience to this channel.
The future of MIM?
Location-aware or location-based services attached to messaging is how MIM will differentiate and enhance the current desktop IM experience. Increasingly we’ll see mobile social media incorporate MIM as part of the experience too.
The new iPhone, for example, comes with a “social compass” application called loopt – which is essentially a mobile social networking tool with messaging and location built in. It’s also available for Blackberry users as a separate download. Alcatel offers a similar downloadable application called geopepper.
Want to try a mobile IM client? Check out the following video blog I posted on YouTube earlier this year on ebuddy – a MIM client that is mobile web based and works like a charm.