Viber Business Messages vs. SMS: Which is better for you?

Viber noa-bar-shay
Noa Bar Shay
Senior Director, Partnerships & Sales at Rakuten Viber
Viber Business Messages vs. SMS: Which is better for you?

According to Mobile eCommerce statistics, more than three quarters of mobile phone users have bought products through their phones in 2021. The numbers clearly show that businesses need to upscale their mobile marketing strategies and communicate with customers through their mobile devices. 

Trends in messenger and SMS marketing 

Every business has to send information to their clients from time to time. From notifying them about deliveries, changes in the status of an order, providing special offers or informing about upcoming appointments. Simultaneously, businesses face the challenge of building a mutually beneficial communication with their clients - informative for the customer and effective for the business. Traditional formats, including emails and SMS, may simply go unnoticed. In order to elevate communication with a client base, businesses can turn to a channel that their clients use most often – messaging apps.

One of the main tendencies of recent years is being closer to your customers and communicating with them at their convenience. Users prefer to keep all the correspondence in a single app where they spend most of their time. According a study by Accenture, 81% of people are more loyal to brands that communicate with them through their preferred communication channels.

The demand for personalised, non-intrusive communication is something that companies should keep in mind. Users want to have control over their interactions with businesses: to have an opportunity to start and end the conversation, solve their issues in a chat with a brand and receive relevant information that targets their specific interests.

Business messaging is a relatively new solution for brands to share important information with their customers - a natural evolution of SMS with an extended set of features. At the outset of SMS marketing, bulk messaging was a more appealing solution for user engagement, however with changes of consumption of technology and information they have become  more selective. From all the brands they interact with, customers tend to choose the ones that can build mutual communication with them and accept their feedback. Gradually, messenger marketing has developed from a one-way communication channel (where only brands can send information to clients without an option for clients to send a response), to two-way conversations (dialogues) with clients - an even more beneficial solution for businesses.

Why you need an official Viber business account 

Brands around the world see the advantages of personalised messaging and prefer to communicate with their clients through messaging apps. Banks, retailers, delivery services and many businesses of different industries, regions and sizes can use business messages in their mobile marketing strategies.

It is important to show your customers that they can trust your business messages. For this reason, Viber Business Messages are sent only to those people who are part of the company's client base and have given their consent to receive notifications from the brand, for example, when filling out a loyalty program form or when making an online order. At the same time, users can easily check whether the brand is verified – official business accounts have a "blue tick" near their name.

The "Blue tick" shows that the account has been verified by the Viber team and guarantees authenticity. In addition, an official Viber business account may include information about the brand, logo, address and phone number. In the first message from the brand, customers can see the reason why they were sent a message, the sender's name and the message context even before they open it, thanks to the Overlay feature - a pop-up window on top of the business message. This means users can decide whether they want to interact or refuse receive notifications from the brand. There is the option to adjust these settings at any point during the conversation.

Apart from convenient brand verification, Viber also provides businesses and users secure communication enabled by end-to-end encryption of private chats and calls, as well as encryption in transit for Business Messages. Viber does not store messages on servers and uses only a secure HTTPS connection - all designed for safe and secure communication between brands and users.

Benefits of Viber Business Messages

Business Messages are not only a native, secure and bilateral way of brand communication, but unlike regular SMS, they are also an efficient and cost-effective channel with a wide set of analytical tools.

Interactive Viber marketing

While an SMS is a short text of up to 160 characters and, sometimes, a link, Viber Business Messages are a format that significantly expands the possibilities of interaction with customers. They can contain text of up to 1000 characters, images, a link, and various types of files including instructions, warranty cards, etc. For example, brands can send invoices to customers, discuss the terms of the order, and solve customer queries, including receiving photos or videos from them, all in one chat.

Fair Viber business pricing

Apart from being convenient for customers, Business Messages are also cost-effective for businesses: brands only pay for Business Messages that have been delivered rather than just sent ones. In addition, brands can save their budget and deliver time-sensitive messages by setting TTL (Time To Live) – the maximum period of time to deliver a message before it is canceled or redirected to another channel. For example, if a sender sets TTL for 1 hour, the messages that are not consumed within this time frame will expire. With TTL on Viber, a company won’t pay for a message that doesn’t reach a user in a limited time frame and ultimately save money.

SMS fallback for important messages

If a brand’s customers don't have internet access or the Viber app installed, they can still receive important and urgent messages with SMS fallback (using SMS as a backup option - delivering a message via SMS if delivery on Viber has failed). Brands can be confident that, if needed, all of their customers will get key notifications, for example, a one-time password or about financial transaction information via SMS.

Real-time analytics for your messenger marketing strategy

Companies can access a report on customer interaction with Business Messages in real time. They can see the status of the message: whether it was delivered, received, or failed. They also have access to detailed statistics, including open and click rates, which can be taken into account while adjusting mobile marketing strategy, segmenting the audience and personalizing communication with customers.

Integration with CRM

Brands can easily integrate their CRM system with Viber Business Messages to save customer interaction history, analyze behavior and send useful and relevant personalized messages.

The different types of Viber Business Messages

How to maximize effectiveness of your business messages 

Of course, not every business message sent through a messaging app will have the same impact. Here are some tips that will help you to effectively interact with your users, achieve your business goals and retain customers:

  • Personalize your messages. According to SmarterHQ's "Privacy & Personalization" study, 72% of users want to receive individual offers from businesses, and messenger marketing allows that. You can do bulk messaging hoping it will resonate with your audience (aka "Spray and Pray" marketing), or you can use a messaging app connected to your CRM system to target specific audiences. The second approach will help you to communicate with your audience in a more meaningful way, as well as to achieve higher conversion rates and excellent marketing results.
  • Speak your customers’ language - adopt a communication style that matches your customers’ needs. Messaging apps are a space for personal communication, therefore you can afford to be more informal in your conversations with customers. You can not only adjust your tone of voice depending on your customer’s age or interests, but also change it based on their mood during the real-time communication. This approach will make your conversations with customers more engaging and elevate your messenger marketing.
  • Endorse conversations and stay in touch after the purchase. According to Salesforce, 71% of users want to communicate with companies in real time. Chatting with the customers in a messaging app allows businesses to instantly respond to requests and increase so-called CLV (“customer lifetime value”). Furthermore, such communication makes it easier for companies to provide services and helps consumers to receive a better service. With real-time customer support you can get instant feedback and show your customers that they are valued. Just because people aren't in a physical store, it doesn't mean they should miss out on the experience that only a sales assistant can offer.
  • Integrate with your CRM and keep your customer database updated. You can access your customer’s history by integrating Viber Business Messages with your CRM. This way you will have the opportunity to follow your customer’s journey, see what parts of your business they are most interested in and modify your marketing efforts accordingly. With the ability to track real interests of your customers, you can send truly personalised messages and create a natural end-to-end user experience.

Business messaging allows you to start communication with users on a platform where they spend most of their time, maintain an informal tone of conversation and solve all important issues in a single conversation. Detailed analytics, interactivity of business messages and easy integration with CRM help brands to segment their audiences and personalize their messages. Companies around the world are already benefiting from the rich set of features, security and cost efficiency of business messages. If you want to keep your brand relevant and interesting to your clients, you can integrate Viber for Business solutions into your marketing strategy and enjoy advantages you can get from two-way conversation with customers.

Do not hesitate to contact us to learn how to use Viber for Business services to benefit your business.