Consider these statistics:
The world’s top four messaging apps — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber — now have a combined total of nearly 4 billion monthly active users.
FYI: That’s more than the combined total for the top four social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn).
It’s predicted that by the end of this year, more than three-quarters (76.3%) of the world’s smartphone users will be regularly using messaging apps.
Ten billion videos are now being watched on Snapchat every single day.
And 100 million hours of video are being watched on Facebook per day.
It’s predicted that by 2021, video traffic will account for 82% of all internet traffic.
These are just a few of the reasons why, at Drift, we consider messaging and video to be megatrends.
They’re not just popular marketing channels, they’re gateways for reaching billions of potential customers all around the world.
And that’s why we devoted an entire section of our Cloud 100 report (see below) to analyzing how today’s top 100 SaaS companies are incorporating messaging and video into their marketing strategies.
Megatrend #1: Messaging
After analyzing the marketing tools being used by all 100 companies on Forbes’ Cloud 100 list, we discovered that 15% of them are using messaging on their websites.
Of the 15 companies with messaging on their sites, nine display it on every page of their site, while the other six target specific pages or types of pages.
Of those 15 companies using messaging, 10 use welcome messages to greet visitors.
And of those 10 companies using welcome messages, two are using a virtual assistant (chatbot) to engage with leads.
A virtual assistant can ask all of the same qualifying questions a sales rep or business development rep (BDR) would ask. But unlike an actual BDR, it can qualify leads and book sales meetings 24/7, 365, since it never has to take a day oﬀ or go to sleep.
Here’s a peek at how Looker’s chatbot — Looker Bot — engages with visitors on their website:
Ultimately, the approach these companies take with messaging depends on how much traﬃc they’re getting, and how they want to balance the quantity and quality of the conversations they’re having with visitors.
For example, it makes sense that Dropbox, which has the 86th most-visited website in the world, would only display messaging on their business sub-site.
That way, they can filter out some of the “noise” of website visitors who have no intention of paying for a business plan.
One last messaging finding to share before we move onto video:
Overall, we found that 69% of Cloud 100 companies have a call-to-action (CTA) on their website that prompts people to get in touch with sales. However, only two of those companies give you the opportunity to chat with someone live after clicking that CTA.
At Drift, we see this as a huge missed opportunity for generating a new type of lead: The conversation-qualified lead, or CQL.
A CQL is someone who has expressed intent to buy during a one-to-one conversation with either A) an employee at your company, or B) an intelligent sales assistant (bot).
Unlike marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), sales-qualified leads (SQLs), and product-qualified leads (PQLs), CQLs match how people actually prefer to buy today (in real-time), and they make it it easier for you, as a marketing and sales organization, to sell faster.
By replacing your “Contact Us” form with messaging — or simply by adding messaging as a “second net” on your site — you can generate more CQLs and, ultimately, shorten your sales cycle.
Megatrend #2: Video
During our research for the Cloud 100 report, we found that 34% of Cloud 100 companies are producing video content on a regular basis.
(We defined “regular basis” as having uploaded fresh video content at least once per month over the past few months.)
Of those 34 companies producing videos regularly, all of them upload their videos to YouTube, 20 upload their videos to Facebook, and five upload their videos to Vimeo.
Overall, adoption of video is more widespread among the Cloud 100 compared to messaging adoption, with just over one-third of companies producing video content on a regular basis.
And while YouTube is clearly the most popular channel for uploading video content, it’s noteworthy that one-fifth of Cloud 100 companies are regularly uploading video directly to Facebook (and not just sharing links to video content uploaded to YouTube).
This aligns with something Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said earlier this year: “Consumer video is exploding on our platform.”
Remember that stat from earlier? 100 million hours of video are now being watched on Facebook per day.
One quick note about Vimeo: While just five Cloud 100 companies have uploaded video content there in the past month, 17 companies use the service overall. And that makes it one of the top 25 most used tools by the Cloud 100.
The difference is that instead of using Vimeo as a social network for sharing new videos regularly, most use it as a way to host their “evergreen” videos (like product walkthrough videos) on their websites.
Final Thought: The Relationship Between Messaging & Video
While at first glance they might seem like completely unrelated technologies, messaging and video both deliver on that on-demand, personalized experience that buyers have come to expect these days.
And while messaging lets you engage with visitors in real-time on your site, video can help you drive those visitors there in the first place.
To quote from our pals over at Vidyard:
What messaging does for personalized, one-to-one outreach on your website, video can do for your outbound emails. Successful BDRs are using personalized video instead of voicemails, and driving higher engagement and click-throughs on their emails because of it. What messaging can do for your website, video can do for your outreach. And the combo of the two is unstoppable.