While this may not sound like a big deal, it is, considering Apple has paid almost $50 billion to developers since the launch of the iTunes App Store. Applications in both the App Store and in iMessage will offer the same revenue split (70-30) between developers and Apple.
Marketers and developers need to be thoughtful and strategic in how they concept, build and market consumer experiences for iMessage. iOS 10 is now, more than ever, its own ecosystem that requires its own strategy.
The good news for developers, brands and consumers alike is that unlike the App Store, the iMessage Store will provide a much more seamless process of installing apps, reducing the hurdles that brands have previously faced of introducing a new app into the market.
There are already 1 billion active iOS devices worldwide, which gives apps in the iMessage store 100 times the distribution footprint compared with the App Store when it launched in 2008 across the 10 million iPhones that Apple sold that year.
Nine years later, we are about to witness the launch of Apple’s next big market. Brands, gaming companies and celebrities are poised to monetize their intellectual property and products inside of the iMessage Store, which allows for sticker packs and iMessage apps, both of which can be offered for free or for purchase. Commerce opportunities abound. The ability to add stickers inside of iMessage reinforces the global shift to a visually based communication medium.
With iMessage positioned to be the new browser, the services we are accustomed to using on the web will now be able to live inside of iMessage. Existing companies will need to build these services and compete with startups that will be created to focus exclusively on services inside of iMessage.
The opportunity for revenue-generating businesses is endless. We have only begun to imagine how people will communicate, shop, date and work.
To take advantage of iMessage, startups and the brands that use their software need to put content and utility first. Depending on the type of brand, consumers will either want utility (such as the ability to pay for a pizza) or visually and emotionally rich content to share with friends.
With a store being added directly into iMessage, an inherently social app, consumers will be able to buy and share where they spend the most time on their phone. What’s more, apps in iMessage will be lightweight, relatively easy to build, quick to spread and easy to monetize (because of their distribution point).
By adding a sticker store to iMessage, Apple is going head-to-head with Facebook Messenger, which has supported stickers since 2013. What remains to be seen is whether Apple will also introduce a bot store to compete with Messenger.
iMessage is weaving together communication, creativity and collaboration by giving brands the ability to build truly interactive visually driven apps that let friends create content and experiences together in real time. Social shopping, dating and gaming will all be possible inside of iMessage.
The dream of marketers of frictionless commerce is coming, quickly. With shoppable stickers that allow you to make a purchase, we are moving from conversation to commerce at an exponential rate.
With the advent of iMessage opening up, we are witnessing the next wave of brand communication and branded content in the mobile messaging space. For the first time, brands can offer visually rich native content for consumers within iMessage.
Vivian Rosenthal is the founder of mobile messaging platform Snaps.