Our latest mobile messaging research defines OTT business messaging as:
‘The use of third-party messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and WeChat, for enterprise communications.’
The use of OTT messaging applications has continued to see rapid expansion over the past five years, and Juniper Research believes that this will continue through the next five. However, most traffic remains within the P2P space.
While there are several reasons for migrating A2P communications to OTT messaging apps, Juniper Research believes that the biggest motivator is the reduction of cost compared to SMS and RCS, while for end users, OTT provides a no cost alternative to SMS and RCS.
The adoption of omnichannel communication strategies, rich communication methods, conversational commerce and CPaaS is driving the OTT market.
OTT faces competition from both SMS and RCS but the rise in demand for conversational commerce and the desire to close the loop by adding payments to the mobile messaging functionality is making OTT particularly appealing to enterprises’ intent on customer engagement.
However, Juniper Research notes that building on the success of OTT messaging will take more than a reliance of omnichannel and cost savings. OTT and communications platforms must also add value via other services including chatbots, payment functionality and additional security.
Conversational commerce is a key trend in mobile messaging for enterprises working to engage their customers. Customers want to engage with brands and complete service interactions using a single chat interface, or messaging app.
Verticals utilising conversational commerce include travel, entertainment and healthcare benefitting from demonstrable increased conversion rates and customer satisfaction.
To ensure that conversational commerce vendors are able to maximise the revenue generated through omnichannel communications, vendors must ensure that they provide support for a large number of channels including messaging, voice and video, either through their platform directly or via open APIs.
There are regions that are more established than others, for example, Far East & China, which will continue its dominance for OTT and chatbot conversational commerce, due to its well-established message app ecosystem. Opportunities outside of these regions are to be expected. For example, North America, West Europe and the Indian Subcontinent must be considered as rising opportunities. This is not only due to a strong addressable user base but also the established infrastructure needed to facilitate business messaging.
However, in order for these entrant regions to capitalise on opportunities within the conversational commerce market, vendors must look to partner with established financial institutions including credit card providers, financial institutions and PSPs, such as Apple Pay and Google.
Furthermore, whilst these channels, devices and end users will be capable of conversational commerce, the availability of conversational services will vary greatly across geographies. For example, the prevalence of WeChat in China and the high provision of services from retailers, make conversational commerce popular amongst many end users in the region.
Juniper Research notes the increasing demand for payment functionality to be available to complete the conversational commerce suite. When considering the use of conversational commerce across OTT messaging apps, the availability and capabilities of commerce services vary across geographies, which will impact development.
Outside of these regions, Juniper Research recommends that OTT apps and CPaaS operators ensure seamless integration with third-party commerce and payment providers in order to meet the increasing demand for the payment journey via the messaging service.
OTT platforms, such as WhatsApp, continue to refine and expand their offerings to include voice and video features apps into their ecosystem. As the demand for conversational commerce, in-app payments and demand for omnichannel communications continues, the rising relevance of super apps is inevitable.
Recent moves from the likes of WhatsApp have demonstrated OTT operators’ ambition to evolve their apps into rich media platforms that offer social networks and other rich media services.
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"Juniper Research’s latest Mobile Messaging research provides a comprehensive analysis of the messaging ecosystem. It includes an assessment of the challenges facing the market and in-depth strategic recommendations for key stakeholders, including mobile operators, messaging platform providers and OTT (Over-the-Top) messaging application players. In addition, the report assesses 20 leading mobile messaging vendors in the latest iteration of the Juniper Research Competitor Leaderboard. The research provides critical reading for stakeholders; offering in-depth evaluation of key technologies such as chatbots, email, mobile social media messaging, RCS, and SMS."