How Real-time Messaging Platforms Can Help Data Collection

March 28, 2024 Mihaela Lica Butler

Real-time messaging (RTM) gives businesses unprecedented communication tools - instantaneous delivery of text, audio, and video, plus file sharing - and data monitoring.

RTM can have multiple applications: e-shopping customer support and interactions, multiplayer gaming, telemedicine, e-learning, travel and hospitality, collaborative whiteboards for teams, etc.

Wherever real-time consumer interactions can give businesses a competitive advantage, real-time messaging platforms improve communications, marketing strategies, and the overall customer experience.

Consumers Favor RTM

Real-time messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WeChat, and a host of others are among the most downloaded tools of communication for Millennials and GenZers, who prefer them for calls, chat, texting, facetime, sharing pictures and video, etc.

Statista reports that in January 2023 alone, WhatsApp had two billion active users, followed by WeChat with 1.3 billion users, and Facebook Messenger with some 930 million users worldwide. Besides enabling communication between friends, these tools are also powerful business-to-consumer communication means, allowing companies to interact with their customers in real-time while collecting consumer data that will help improve the customer experience, marketing and promotional strategies, customer support, etc.

Most popular global mobile messenger apps

Here are some relevant statistics that show why RTM tools are essential for B2C communication:

  • 41% of consumers prefer receiving brand updates via SMS versus 21% who prefer email (Thrive);
  • 95% of text messages are read and responded to within 3 minutes of being received (SMS Comparison);
  • More than 40 million firms globally are active on Facebook Messenger (Meta);
  • Businesses and consumers exchange over one billion messages on Facebook Messenger monthly (Messenger);
  • 51% of RTM app users prefer to contact brands via mobile messages (Kenshoo);
  • 66% of consumers feel more confident about purchases when companies use RTM (Meta);
  • 68% of consumers believe RTM improves the customer experience (Meta);
  • 70% of consumers use RTM to message businesses customer experience questions (Meta).

How to Collect Data from RTM Platforms

Most real-time messaging platforms and apps can help businesses collect essential client data. But to do so, they need effective strategies because RTM apps like WhatsApp have built-in end-to-end encryption, meaning that the messages sent between two parties are visible only to the sender and the recipient, and no one else can access them; not even the RTM provider. However, RTM payments are not end-to-end encrypted because financial institutions need access to card and bank account numbers to process payments.

Businesses can collect data by asking customers to share their names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.

The advantage is that most messaging apps also offer business tools with integrated analytics.

  • WhatsApp Business Platform: metrics about messages and conversations, including phone numbers, product types, country codes, metric types (count of conversations, approximative charges), conversation types, and conversation direction (user-initiated or business-initiated).
  • Facebook Messenger Analytics via the Messaging Insights API (provided via the Pages Insights API): engagement sources, message type, messaging channel (Facebook or Instagram), recurring notifications entry point, recurring notifications topic (promotions, deals), etc.
  • Google Business Messages: track key performance metrics through the Business Communications Developer Console or BigQuery. Some metrics include message sender, message type, total messages, who initiated the session, types of representative interactions in the conversation, intent metrics, and so on.

Google Business Messages

More complex real-time messaging platforms like PubNub offer many RTM solutions on a unified dashboard with enhanced functionality, including user metadata management, push notifications (including integration with third-party push services), secure direct or group messaging channels, etc. In addition, such platforms have multiple application fields, like HIPAA-compliant telemedicine, live events, gaming, e-commerce, transportation, travel, call centers, and so on.

A CRO with integrated RTM is even better for helping managers collect customer data. For example, RateParity, Conversion Rate Optimization Platform For Hotels, has an intuitive Messaging Platform which can be used to chat, entice potential guests with personalized special offers, and enhance the user experience with targeted notifications while browsing the hotel's website.

RTM Data Collection Benefits

When done right, data collection can benefit marketers and consumers without infringing on privacy regulations. Real-time messaging platforms are essential business tools:

  • Improve the customer experience: enable a direct conversation between marketers and consumers anytime through instant text, voice calls, or live video.
  • Build brand trust: customers who can directly interact with a business are likelier to trust it. Offering immediate feedback from a real person (instead of a bot) makes a brand more approachable, transparent, and trustworthy. Trust is crucial in maintaining long-term B2C relationships.
  • Grow your customer database: save opt-in customer details for future direct marketing campaigns, either through SMS, email, or other channels.
  • Better marketing strategies: Use data to identify customer behaviors (like purchase and spending patterns) to offer the right products and services they need. Personalize marketing campaigns and deliver your message to the right customer at the right time.
  • Boost direct revenue: by communicating person-to-person with your customers, you can recommend products, services, discounts, and offers, sending them straight to your sales channel. 96% of marketers using RTM reported an increase in revenue, according to 99Firms.

Real-time messaging helps you engage customers meaningfully through the platforms they use the most. Use RTM to offer real-time customer support, deals, advice, or answers to any questions or grievances your clients may have. Analyze your RTM communication to understand and better know your customers. Avoid sending too many texts and be genuine in your message. Then, with real-time messaging data collection in place, you can increase sales, grow your customer database, improve customer satisfaction, and boost brand awareness, among other results.