AOL Instant Messenger Memories for Marketers
On the eve of its death, AOL Instant Messenger sent out a tweet announcing its funeral. Wait, what? It wasn’t already dead? No, marketers, it wasn’t. But it will be on Dec. 15 and, despite its disuse in recent years, it did provide valuable marketing lessons during its lifespan.
“Where Instant Messaging began in 1997,” reads AIM’s Twitter bio. Yes, those reporting on the chat service’s demise noticed the chat services tweet on another platform.
— AIM (@aim) October 6, 2017
Ad-Blocking Happens on Social
AIM users figured out how to block advertisements on the application, perhaps before many of them did so on the Web. From wikiHow to Gary's Hood, tips popped up for consumers not interested in seeing marketing messages as they talked to their friends. (As a Nerdist article notes, most consumers chatting on AIM weren't talking to their parents.)
So this may have been one of the first times marketers had to know how to be relevant to social network users in order to not be blocked.
Direct Mail-to-Web Conversions
Marketers learned this cross-channel commerce was possible by watching what Michael Walsh notes on Nerdist on Oct. 6:
In the mid ’90s, when the internet really became a thing everyone knew and cared about using, most people connected to it through America Online. (They wore us down by sending everyone a free CD. Every day. For years. A scheme that was incredibly effective.) But this was before everyone had cellphones, let alone smartphones, or they could connect to the Web from just a browser, so the only other ways to talk to people was to either call them on the phone, or go walk to their house like some kind of athlete.
No Competition During Outages
AIM users were generally stuck without a messenger app when it had the monopoly.
Now, consumers can not only switch apps immediately, they can create memes about it. It means marketers need to be present on more than one network. On Wednesday, Facebook was down for about an hour in some places.
Here's what happened on Twitter:
— KelevRa (@spyke181) October 11, 2017
What do you think, marketers? What other ways did AIM benefit marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.