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Messenger marketing for restaurants: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or WeChat?

19 September 2019

By: Celine Goh

Opening a restaurant or beefing up on messenger marketing? Use a text messaging app that's right for your diner.

If your restaurant isn’t already on a messaging app, it’s time to start now.

Hubspot revealed that there are five billion active users worldwide on messaging apps, with the combined numbers exceeding those of social networks, according to BI Intelligence.

With such a robust and rich market, it’s a pity that barely 20% of businesses tap into messaging platforms. According to Statista, the top three most popular messaging apps are Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat respectively.

While you’re already using these apps on a daily basis, it’s a different ballgame when it comes to the restaurant business. Find out which messaging app is best suited for your restaurant’s target market.

WhatsApp: Optimise your restaurant’s smaller marketing efforts

WhatsApp is great for audience segmentation and interpersonal communications with your diners. Make every message you send count. With WhatsApp’s Broadcast Lists, you’re able to label your diners into specific categories — students, couples, families, and the like — to send them tailored messages.

A Nielsen study reported that 61% of diners appreciate personalised messages from businesses. You can expect a great degree of closeness with the one-to-one messaging that WhatsApp offers.

You can even add videos or photos to your WhatsApp Status, available for only 24 hours. It’s a great platform to create a sense of urgency by offering time-sensitive promotions.

Ultimately, WhatsApp is better poised for smaller restaurant marketing efforts. Due to the limited number of contacts per list, Broadcast Lists are better used for targeted promotions or campaigns. That said, you’re able to create unlimited lists, so you can still get the best out of your promotions with WhatsApp’s targeted app features.

Facebook Messenger: Deliver content and generate leads globally

Although it comes in second, Facebook Messenger’s 1.4 billion monthly user pool stretches across a more global demographic. Let Facebook’s chatbots be your promotional voice by channelling messages that connect with your diners. These bots can answer your diners’ enquiries, or send them promotions via push notifications. With an open rate of 80%, messenger chatbots outdo traditional email newsletters by 30%, according to TextMagic.

In 2019, we launched an integration with Facebook Messenger that automatically gives diners the option to make reservations from Messenger without ever leaving the app. Request a Demo if you’d like to see Chope’s Facebook Messenger integration in action for yourself! chope's Facebook Messenger Integration

Facebook Messenger even allows for two ad types: Click-to-Messenger ads and Sponsored Messages. While the former leads your diners to chatbots which will answer your diners’ questions, the latter allows you to send relevant content to diners who’ve messaged your Facebook page previously. Success stories are aplenty. Around the world, Facebook highlights some successful restaurants which market with Facebook Messenger.

WeChat: An all-purpose marketing platform in China

Send messages instantly? Check. Reserve tables online? Check. Make dining payments? Check.

China’s dominating messaging app offers a multitude of possibilities for your restaurant. With an Official Account, it’s likely that WeChat users are looking out for your restaurant promotions — Statista reports that promotional news rank second at 41.9%. Content distribution through messaging and newsletters are just one thing. Restaurants can even set up their own mini-programs for real-time online reservations and make instant payments.

Not only that, WeChat’s wide range of services offers great functionality for restaurants. Take WeChat Pay for example. Diners and restaurants can now opt for fuss-free payments through the integrated payment system.

A regional monopoly, WeChat is a must for restaurants operating with a Chinese-centric focus. Restaurants can utilise the all-purpose messaging app according to their needs, as noted by WalktheChat.

Stop at one app, or more?

Although the audiences may overlap across these messaging apps, its features are unique. Every messaging app is a potential marketing channel for your restaurant, so be mindful of your restaurant’s target audience and what you wish to promote.

Want to find out which messaging app works for your restaurant? Learn about our Chope products, and subscribe to Chope For Restaurants to never miss out on tips, updates, and more.


Celine Goh

Celine is a freelance writer, brand marketer, and sports enthusiast. She’s all about stories, healthy living, and chatting up new strangers — oh, she says hi.


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