Empowering Brands: Viber's 2023 Global Events Spotlight SuperApp Strategies and Solutions
April 7, 2023
We opened 2023 with a series of events presenting Viber for Business solutions, sharing recent updates, and discussing upcoming plans for further strengthening Viber’s SuperApp status. During the offline and online events in Greece, Bulgaria, Philippines, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, and at MWC Barcelona, our senior team discussed the newly released products and our long-term strategy in these markets and the world.
Today, we offer businesses solutions for each step of the customer journey: branded Stickers and Lenses, Viber Ads, Business Messages, and Chatbots – everything to help brands build awareness, influence consideration, drive conversion, and nurture loyalty. The benefits of Viber for brands are endless, with Viber Messaging and Viber Advertising playing a significant role in connecting businesses with their target audience.
Recently, two major launches have brought us a step closer to fulfilling our SuperApp strategy. Business Inbox is a dedicated space for brand-user interactions, accessible directly from the regular Chats screen. It enables users to store and organize all business messages from official brand accounts in one folder. The new Business Account is a single business entity that allows users to proactively search and discover all business info and channels of communication – in one place.
Here are the most important insights from our recent events, broken down by market, that will help inform your marketing strategy on Viber in 2023.
Viber in Greece
Kicking off our country-by-country analysis, Greece stands out as a prime example of why Viber is an essential marketing channel for businesses. Viber’s Chief Revenue Officer, Cristina Constandache, shared key statistics from the Greek market at our recent event, highlighting the importance of Viber for brands in the country:
Almost 92% of users in Greece access the Internet via smartphone.
56% of local businesses use some kind of social network or messaging app.
7.4M Greeks use social media and messaging apps, signifying the importance of social and chat apps in brand-user interactions.
Viber is a leading messaging app in the country with 91% smartphone penetration, making it a perfect place for brands to reach their customers.
It is supported by the internal Viber data from last year: the volume of delivered Business Messages grew by 38%, with particular growth in Promotional (+34%) and Transactional (+41%) Business Messages. Moreover, we saw a steady demand for Viber Chatbots: over 180M messages were exchanged in chatbots.
And users in Greece are ready to further communicate with brands on Viber. An internal survey conducted before the launch of the Business Inbox revealed that users were anticipating the feature and had positive expectations from it. The absolute majority (71.2%) considered Business Inbox convenient, and most respondents (63.1%) said they would prefer to receive business messages in Business Inbox*.
In summary, the high smartphone penetration, widespread use of messaging apps, and the growing popularity of Viber among Greek users make it a crucial marketing channel in the country. By leveraging Viber for Business solutions, brands can effectively reach, engage, and build lasting relationships with their customers in this thriving market.
Viber in Bulgaria
In Bulgaria, the adoption of messaging apps for communication between users and brands is on the rise, too, making Viber an ideal platform for businesses to connect with their target audience. Key trends in the Bulgarian market include:
Almost 40% of businesses in Bulgaria use messaging apps and social networks, and 4.45M Bulgarians use social media and messaging apps.
Viber has a 94% smartphone penetration rate in Bulgaria. Businesses would benefit from tapping into the Viber audience not only because it's broad overall, but also because it's financially active and payable: 53% of Viber users in the country are 25-50 years old. 52% of Bulgarian users are women, and 48% are men. Out of them, the large majority (88%) use Viber on their mobile devices and 12% – on their desktop. 93% are Android users, and 11% use IOS.
Brands in Bulgaria are already making great use of our solutions. Last year 158% more brands opened Business Messaging accounts compared to the number of newcomers in 2021.
There was an overall 61% increase in Business Messages delivered; the number of Transactional messages (order confirmations, delivery trackings, appointment reminders) grew by 53%, Promotional (special offers, discounts) – by 68%, and Conversational (2-way conversations, such as live agent support) – by 79%.
Brands and users in the country also actively used Viber Chatbots: the number of exchanged messages in bots was over 200M.
At the same time, the number of average monthly Ads impressions equaled almost 286M.
Notably, last year Bulgaria became one of the first countries where Business Inbox was launched. Since its launch, Business Inbox in Bulgaria has shown over 85K unique users on average per day.
Among examples of how brands in Bulgaria use Viber for Business is a success story from Management Financial Group (MFG) achieved together with Infobip. They needed to build a systematic communication strategy and improve customer experience throughout the user journey. Now, by implementing Viber as the primary communication channel, with SMS fallback enabled, MFG is launching campaigns and sending out promotional messages to reach more customers and promptly update clients about new services. Current results are telling: MFG sees a 20% better open rate in welcome message campaigns using Viber and SMS fallback compared to SMS only and a 15% higher response rate compared to their targeted KPIs for the Viber campaign.
Viber in Hungary
In Hungary, the use of messaging and social media apps continues to grow among both users and brands, making it the right time for businesses to leverage Viber for effective communication. Key trends and statistics in the Hungarian market include:
7.3M Hungarians actively access messaging and social media apps. Brands seek to seize this opportunity: 48% of businesses in Hungary already use messaging apps and social networks – a 10% increase since 2019. This trend will likely continue to grow.
Both users and brands in Hungary make great use of Viber to communicate with each other, which was proven last year by the 433% growth in delivered Business Messages, a 21% increase in Conversational messages, a 218% – in Promotional messages, and an incredible 729% – in Transactional.A spike in Transactional messages can signify the importance placed on customer experience and a growing trend for sharing important notifications in the app users prefer. The trend on conversations is growing steadily, following other countries in the region. Brands and users are also using Viber Chatbots to automate conversations, with 100M+ messages exchanged in bots.
With a growing trend in business messaging communication, users in Hungary welcomed the introduction of Business Inbox. Based on an internal Viber survey conducted before the launch, more than 71% of users in Hungary viewed it favorably and found it convenient. More than 58% of users said they would read messages in Business Inbox the same day after receipt*.
The expanding role of Viber as a go-to platform for communication among Hungarian users and businesses underscores its value as a vital marketing channel. By leveraging multiple Viber for Business solutions, brands can effectively engage with their target audience, enhance customer interactions, and engage users like no other channel can.
Viber in Serbia
In Serbia, the platform's balanced user demographics, the high penetration rate in the country, and alignment with the mobile-centric eCommerce spending trends present a prime opportunity for businesses to engage with their audience through the power of one-on-one connections of the mobile screens.
In Serbia, Viber remains popular: with a payable audience (over 52% of the audience is 25–50 y.o.), it’s used almost equally by women (49%) and men (51%). Notably, its user base favors mobile heavily over desktop: 93% use mobile, of which the absolute majority (94%) use Android and 6% – IOS.
The prevalence of mobile connections among Viber users is in line with the country's general trend: 41.6% of consumer goods eCommerce spend is attributed to purchases made via mobile. Moreover, with 4.99M social media and messaging app users in Serbia, brands are eager to be where their customers are: 46.4% of enterprises already use at least some kind of social media, and the number is likely to continue its growth.
One of the advantages of Viber is high penetration rates not only in Serbia (94%), but across the region: 96% in Bosnia & Herzegovina, 85% in Macedonia, 80% in Albania, and 96% – in Montenegro.
Viber in Serbia is beloved not only by users but also by brands seeking to connect with their audience. This interest is reflected in 176% growth in the number of new Business Accounts opened during 2022 versus 2021, as well as the steady popularity of Viber chatbots, which saw a total of 170M messages exchanged.
Brands also recognize Viber as a great advertising platform, thanks, in part, to 601M monthly Ad impressions on average. There was particularly robust growth in usage by brands that deal in Legal Services (+450%), Finance (+433%), Retail loyalty programs (+272%), Entertainment (+215%), and Travel (+141%).
As for Viber Business Messages, there’s been massive growth in traffic across the board: +57% in the number of delivered Business Messages. Transactional saw the highest growth of +126%, followed by Conversational, at +91%, and Promotional – up by 46%.
In view of the growing business messaging traffic, a solid majority of users in CEE (69%) welcomed the arrival of Business Inbox as a convenient feature, with most preferring to receive business messages in Business Inbox*.
Viber was proud to present an insightful case study, achieved in cooperation with NTH. A1 Serbia added Viber into its portfolio of communication channels, integrating it into Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Used in synergy with other channels, Viber Business Messages became a key channel within the customers’ renewal lifecycle. By communicating with customers at the right time, via the right channel, A1 Serbia was able to provide the best E2E customer experience and achieve higher rates of customer satisfaction. 76% of messages delivered on Viber were seen, and Viber’s share in each customer journey reached 20%.
Brand-user communications have proven resilient and bounced back after the shock at the beginning of the invasion. With an increase in the volume of Viber Business Messages sent at the end of 2022, Ukrainian businesses have demonstrated their flexibility and grit.
Viber is installed on 98% of smartphones in the country and is considered Ukraine’s #1 messaging app as it boasts tens of millions of users monthly and consistently ranks as one of the top three mobile apps. The app is popular with many age segments: 46% of the audience is younger than 35 y.o., and over half – are 25–50 y.o.
As the importance of information and community grew, Viber Channels saw a growth of 70.5% in the number of Channel messages being read.
Users have been using Viber Stickers and Lenses, too, with assets in Ukrainian enjoying particular popularity: over 1.3M users have tried on the Lens featuring Ukraine’s Eurovision candidate, Kalush, and 700M stickers in Ukrainian were exchanged in 2022.
Compared to March, there’s been robust growth of 138% in the volume of Viber Business Messages sent in December 2022.
Given the challenges faced by Ukrainian businesses, Viber’s team focused on the specific goals that Viber for Business solutions could help with, such as creating the perfect flow for online sales, cuttings costs without compromising quality and scale, maintaining the connection with the audience, as well as catching and keeping the customer attention in an oversaturated info space. Viber Advertising Solutions (including Lenses, Ads, and Stickers), Chatbots, and Business Messages were among the introduced solutions, and the team was happy to answer many questions from the audience during an almost doubled-length Q&A session. Special thanks to Vector for organizing this event!
Viber in The Philippines
The Philippines continues experiencing an ongoing surge in Viber usage, with YoY growth in user numbers and the notable increase in group chat activity. Marketers continue embracing Viber as the key platform for customer engagement and for providing customer service.
Last year Viber saw a 22% increase in the number of Viber users; people also increasingly send messages in group chats, achieving 19% growth.
It encourages brands in the country to turn to Viber to reach and strengthen communication with their customers. Last year there was a 16% growthin the number of Business Messaging accounts, and a 13% increase in Business Messages delivered.
As brands embrace conversational commerce, Viber saw an 83% spike in Conversational messages, while the drive to improve customer experience was reflected in an astounding 603% increase in Transactional messages, and an 11% growthin the number of Promotional messages.
Brands also actively leverage bots which is revealed by a 34% increase in the number of Chatbots.
Viber has emerged as the right choice for businesses in the Philippines for several reasons, making it a powerful marketing platform that caters to the evolving needs of the local market:
Expanding user base
Active chat usage
Emphasis on e-commerce and conversational commerce
Viber at MWC Barcelona
Finally, an important milestone in our recent event schedule was, of course, MWC Barcelona. Held in Barcelona, Spain, the Mobile World Congress is the world’s biggest annual gathering for the mobile industry, with 88,500 attendees in 2023. This year’s edition was focused on 5G, Fintech, OpenNet, Reality+, and Digital Everything and the ever-evolving mobile landscape.
Aside from excellent networking, our team has enjoyed a few major highlights:
Viber’s Partnerships Account Director Limor Bailey took part in an engaging panel discussion, organized by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum. This was a great opportunity to discuss the challenges that brands face in communication with customers, as well as how superapps can help to overcome them.
Viber’s Senior Director for Partnerships & Sales Noa Bar Shay also had an engaging conversation with MEF about our superapp strategy, global presence, and business solutions for each step of the customer journey.