ORC #9: Engagement or Conversion
Marketers have thus far thought of engagement and conversion as two distinctive activities: engagement is done via messaging on push channels (SMS, email, notifications – largely via promotional communications) and conversion happening on the brand’s properties once the customer is persuaded to clickthrough. The problem has been that customers are not particularly fond of the incoming messages and tend to ignore them. This creates a problem for marketers: how then do they get the customers to their properties for the eventual transaction? This dichotomy is now ready to be solved – thanks to innovations on two of the push channels.
WhatsApp is very popular in some countries, especially in Asia and Latin America. India is one of WhatsApp’s largest markets. A year ago, WhatsApp (owned by Meta) opened up its channels for brand messages and interactions. The flow below shows the capabilities of how WhatsApp can drive engagement and lead to conversion. Combined with chatbots and WhatsApp Pay, it can become an end-to-end engagement and conversion channel.
The second push channel that is being transformed is Email. With Email 2.0 (combining interactivity via AMP and micro-incentives via Atomic Rewards), it too is bringing the full funnel closer to the customer and blurring the distinction between engagement and conversion. AMP is software in email, enabling the creation of a new type of app which can do almost everything in the inbox that a mobile app can do. It is simpler to create, and it relies on push – rather than waiting for a pull from the customer. I wrote in AMP’s Magic: Coming Soon to Your Email Inbox: “AMP in Email accelerates the conversion funnel. In fact, it does better: it brings the conversion funnel into email. Currently, for brands to convert customers, they need to bring them to their website or app. That is where all the interactions happen. The interactivity of AMP ensures that brands can work towards closure right inside the email by coding mini-apps. These actions do not need a clickthrough to a landing page. An item can be added to cart with a single click. An interactive calculator can show results right inside the email. In fact, with search and payments integration, a transaction could even be completed without the need to go to the brand’s properties. From early campaigns that Netcore has done, the uplift from the elimination of the clickthrough to the landing page can result in 3-10 times more actions. Less friction means more engagement. AMP does exactly that.”
WhatsApp and Email 2.0 are beginning to bring in frictionless conversion into the push channels. For a decade, the push channels remained static. And then, in the past year, a flurry of innovations now hold the promise of new end-to-end experiences in the customer’s inbox. These hotlines are the next new properties and assets for marketers.
Conundrum: how to bridge the chasm between engagement in push channels and conversions on the brand’s website and app
Insight: interactivity being enabled by WhatsApp and Email 2.0
Solution: think frictionless hotlines and move the conversion funnel closer to the customer – right inside the inbox