Over the course of history, we have evolved the way we communicate. In 33,000 BC, it started with cave paintings in the Ardeche region of France. Then, it evolved to homing pigeons and then smoke signals in 150 BC China. We hit a breakthrough in AD 1440 with the Guttenberg press, giving humans the ability to spread written word. However, in the past decade, we have dramatically evolved the way we communicate with each other. From email to Facebook and Twitter, and now the emergence and adoption of messaging apps. Needless to say, we as humans have a plethora of options when it comes to communicating with each other and the world at large.

Consumers always drive the charge in where and how they want to communicate—and communicate we do. Facebook Messenger is one of the top five messaging apps on the market today. Apple’s iMessage has over a billion users daily, the leader today. Four out of 10 of the top 10 apps on both the Android and Apple are messaging apps. Today, we are using messaging apps more than email. This doesn’t just apply to how we communicate with friends and family. Within the workplace, email is taking a back seat to apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams.

As a brand, what does this mean about our strategies for engagement? Twitter and Facebook are effective depending on your audience and a brand’s objective. However, the limitation is that social is a one-to-many communication mode. When we look at messaging apps, they are one-to-one. This presents an opportunity for marketers to have a much more personal and effective tool at their disposal.

Everything that exists in social now will be moving to messaging.

This means ads, video engagement, brand presence, CTAs and more. In addition, messaging is a perfect platform to share stories, offer sales support and post-purchase customer care.

The opportunity to conquest audiences for our brands is real, but we need to have strategic programs in place to be successful. Consumers want friction removed from their lives and from their engagement with brands. When we think of messaging, consumers will have the ability to opt-in so that they can manage who they engage with. Therefore, build programs that are appropriate for a messaging platform and leverage tools to personalize the response. As always, continue to bring consumers joy through engagement with your brand. Apps like Zingle allow for brands to send personalized, scheduled messages to consumers by way of messaging applications, similar to apps used to schedule posts on social channels.

The tools to engage with consumers are growing and evolving, alongside with our strategies. As with any program, we need to understand our audiences and build a strategy that aligns with how our targets want to be communicated with across various channels. We are at a point in time where change is happening at an ever-increasing rate. Ensure that your programs are evolving as well. Now, get back to SnapChat and reply to that text message.