Marketing in the Messaging Space for Publishers and Marketers in the U.S.

Marketing in the Messaging Space for Publishers and Marketers in the U.S.

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From pure-play messaging apps to hybrid apps with messaging functionality, IAB explores this exciting new marketing medium.

IAB Definition of Messaging

Messaging enables and empowers real-time connection and communication with other contacts in a permission-based, predominantly mobile environment.

  • Compared to traditional social media platforms, messaging is typically on a more one-to-one or one-to-few basis, a narrowcast versus a broadcast.
  • Compared to traditional email or SMS text messages, messaging can afford interaction with rich media in a more instantaneous way due to the real-time push notification nature of apps.

The industry has typically defined “messaging apps” to mean primarily pure-play messaging apps, not taking into account many hybrid apps where there is messaging functionality, but where messaging may not play the primary role. IAB suggests that focusing solely on pure-play messaging apps is a limited view, from both consumer and advertiser standpoints. The IAB definition of the messaging includes:

  • Pure-play messaging apps such as Facebook’s Messenger, Kik, and Viber
  • Other hybrid messaging apps where there is messaging functionality, but where messaging may not necessarily be the primary function, such as Instagram, Tinder, Tumblr, etc.

These messaging apps are all primarily—though not exclusively—mobile-focused.

The number of messaging options in the U.S. are increasing at a rapid pace, with numerous functions beyond chat being offered to enhance the consumer experience, including chatbots, music, stickers, games, and more. According to David Kalmar, Ph.D., Vice President of Consumer Science at Emogi, “This can be seen in the explosion in the use of emoji in messaging: This year, over two trillion emoji will be used in the U.S. alone.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Messaging Apps and Hybrid Apps with Chat Functions

We surveyed a number of leading players in the U.S. messaging space to determine the most common questions they receive from both publishers and advertisers/marketers. With a few exceptions, publisher and brand/agency questions generally focus on the same areas.

The questions being asked from the buy-side strongly suggest the need for broad “Messaging 101” education and case studies to help the U.S. market navigate this rapidly evolving space.

Messaging Takes Place Between People, Not Bewteen Bots. So Where do Chatbots Fit in the Messaging Space?

Chatbots as a component of messaging are important and will become increasingly more so as technology evolves and bot capabilities expand.

Bots offer to publishers and brands a personal way to engage with consumers through a channel they already likely use—messaging. While much of the industry conversation about chatbots has focused on e-commerce and customer service, chatbots offer functionality to forge increasingly personal connections with consumers on multiple levels. Bots can run the gamut from “conversational” to “experiential,” leveraging other forms of interaction that consumers are accustomed to from the app world. Convincing consumers to use a chatbot within the messaging space is a win-win-win: The app gains desired stickiness, the brand benefits from enhanced communication with the user, and the consumer benefits from real-time interactions in a space where they are already active.

As a starting point for understanding chatbots on messaging platforms, IAB identified the top five chatbot capabilities most likely to be found within messaging apps:

What’s Next for IAB in the Messaging Space?

IAB is grateful to the following individuals representing companies in the messaging space for generously taking the time to share their invaluable insights in this survey.

Asher Rapkin

Product Marketing Communications Lead, Messenger


Matt Hibberd

Senior Partnership Manager

Kik Interactive

Lee Hoffman

Head of Global Sales

Match Media Group

Don Steele

Head of Audience Development


Scott Nelson

Head of North America


This paper was prepared by the IAB Messaging Working Group, listed below, that was Co-Chaired by David Kalmar of Emogi, Mickey Mantas of LinkedIn, and Yinon Horwitz of StartApp, and under the lead of IAB’s Susan Borst.

Greg Cypes


SVP, Product Management

Satish Polisetti


Co-Founder & CEO

Greg Taylor

Alliance for Audited Media (AAM)

Manager, Digital Auditing Services

Kevin Englert


Manager Social Distribution

Marvin Renaud


Sr. Director, Product

Mike Lupo

The Atlanta Journal-Consitution/Cox Media Group

Senior Director/Digital Products

Todd S Richards

Discovery Communications

VP Account Management

Saar Paamoni


VP Product Management

Vinay Jain


Sr. Product Manager

Cathy Boyle


Principle Analyst, Mobile

David Kalmar


VP of Consumer Science

Asher Rapkin


Product Marketing Communications Lead

Ann Marinovich

Forbes Media

VP Advertising Strategy

Arvind Jayaram

IGN Entertainment

Director, Ad Product

Bob Bahramipour



Michelina Mantas


LMS Media

Carine Roman


Head of Global Advertising Operations

Rachel Pasqua

MEC Global

Practice Lead, Connected Life

David Dennis

Microsoft Advertising


Vladimir Levantovsky


Senior Technology Strategist at Monotype Imaging

Debby Krenek


SVP, Digital & Editorial Director

Justin Cauli


Senior Sales Executive

Eddie de Guia

PubNative GmbH

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Kristina Pakalniskyte

PubNative GmbH

Senior Marketing Manager

Ionut Ciobotaru

PubNative GmbH


Ekaterina Rabe

PubNative GmbH

Head of Business Development EMEA

Dinesh Mishra


Product Manager

Rhett Frandsen

Rubicon Project

Sr. Director, R&D Business Strategy

Kathy Aaronson

Sales Athlete Media Network

Chief Executive

Joe Webster


Director of Marketing

Yinon Horwitz


Director of Business Development

Damian Fraimorice


Head of Product Marketing

Sandra Grodensky


Business Development Manager

Evan Wray

Swyft Media

VP and Co-Founder

Lingzhi Zhang

Tremor Video

Director of Mobile Development

Ari Lewine


Chief Strategy Officer

Don Steele


Head of Audience Development

Lori Lewis

Westwood One

VP, Social Media

For any questions about the IAB Messaging App Working Group, please email Susan Borst, Deputy Director – Mobile, [email protected]