Usage of consumer messaging apps, such as Facebook's WhatsApp and Messenger, has increased massively during quarantine.
Whatsapp messaging increased by 40%
Research from Kantar highlighted that consumer social media messaging app WhatsApp experienced the greatest gain in usage during lockdown, as people look to stay connected with family and friends.
Their research highlighted a 40% increase in use (compared to 37% for Facebook).
Kantar also found that countries in the late phase of the pandemic saw sustained messaging, with an increase in WhatsApp use of 51%.
But what about professional messaging?
Professional messaging in lockdown
This increase in consumer messaging apps and social media usage has been more than matched by those using messaging to stay connected to colleagues, connections and customers in business.
Guild, the professional messaging app has seen a surge in messaging on the platform.
We looked at platform data for the 3 months ahead of the UK’s lockdown on 23rd March 2020 and compared it to 3 months after 23rd March.
Professional messaging increased by 120% in lockdown
There has been a staggering 120% increase in total messages sent on the platform for 3 months after 23rd March 2020, compared to the 3 months before lockdown.
Interestingly, the first week of lockdown only saw a 7% increase in messaging on the platform from the previous week.
However, by week 4 of lockdown, it had increased to 31% and then continued to increase in a sharp curve on a daily basis.
It suggests that professional users and groups after a month moved from the initial state of crisis and shock to a 'support, collaborate and rebuild mode'?
Is this level of professional messaging sustainable?
So, both consumer and professional messaging has clearly exploded during quarantine, but is this level of contact sustainable?
Digital communications consultant Sharon O'Dea, thinks that it is:
"Covid-19 has been a steep learning curve for all of us. The early weeks saw the ‘Zoom Boom’ as we sought to maintain our office relationships and ways of working. But as the weeks have ticked on people have realised there are easier ways to get work done.
Working asynchronously using messaging is less demanding of time and attention and allows us to work more flexibly. So I’m not surprised to see workers adopt this in the later weeks of lockdown.
As we shift into this new normal we’re all finding what works for us and our colleagues. I see messaging being a key part of that mix for the long term”
Guild founder and CEO Ashley Friedlein thinks that the data could highlight that professional messaging is on even more of a growth trajectory than predicted:
"If pre-pandemic growth of consumer messaging apps is a barometer of the potential for professional messaging, then I'd say that this level of growth is not only sustainable, but the growth curve will be even greater."
"Before the quarantine period, we were already seeing a sharp growth in messaging on Guild from professionals who realised that their professional WhatsApp groups and business communications came with GDPR and governance risks.
"Now, many more professionals are comfortable with messaging being part of their business communications 'tech stack'. There is an increasing realisation that they need to use professional messaging alternatives, so we'd expect many of these to move work related chat off consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp."
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