“These applications have revolutionised the messaging market, as it allows enterprises to send messages, images, graphics, links and advertisements over wireless networks,” said the market research firm in its whitepaper on how Over the Top (OTT) business messaging is evolving conversations between businesses and customers.
Juniper notes that businesses have increased their use of OTT applications in the past five years.
“Juniper Research has found that global OTT business messaging traffic will rise from 93 billion in 2023, to 254 billion by 2027.”
That 172% growth is expected to be driven by the increased popularity and availability of open OTT.
OTT business messaging is “the use of third-party messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and WeChat, for enterprise communications”. As opposed to SMSes, which use cellular networks, OTT messages are sent over the internet “thus travelling ‘over the top’ of the network,” notes Juniper.
More brands are expected to increase their use of messaging platforms to better connect with customers through their preferred platforms.
“This has caused a proliferation in the Application-to-Person messaging market through the adoption of omnichannel communication strategies, rich communication methods, conversational commerce and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) to drive two-way, innovative communications.”
Businesses that want to hop onto the bandwagon need to consider a few critical issues. Not all messaging apps work at optimal levels in all parts of the world. Businesses will need to ensure that the particular OTT messaging platform they use is downloaded and used by its customers and that the customer has enabled the specific permissions necessary for the business to get the message across.
“OTT messaging channels will be an ideal avenue for brands for outbound communications, as they are a significantly cheaper alternative compared to other channels, such as SMS, RCS or more traditional marketing methods,” notes Juniper.
Though WhatsApp is mainly used in South Africa, businesses are advised not to completely drop SMS services as they may be an adequate fallback.
“Whilst the popularity of OTT messaging apps has increased dramatically worldwide, most OTT apps vary in functionality, popularity, and region. To ensure the consistency of services, value-added services such as payment support, chatbots, and advanced security features must be offered for A2P communications.”
Businesses will also need to invest in advanced scam-prevention technology when increasing reliance on OTT messaging platforms as a method of communication.
Source: Juniper Research