Ultimate Guide

Ultimate Guide to Viber for Business (Nov 2020)

By February 1, 2019October 27th, 2020No Comments
Ultimate Guide to Viber for Business (Nov 2020)

If Viber is popular with your customers, you've probably been wondering how to use Viber for business. You're probably asking yourself questions like how do I get a Viber Business Account? What is the difference between Viber Business Messages & a Viber Business Account? And how do I get started with Viber marketing? This guide will explain Viber Business Account and the best ways to use Viber for Business.

Already have a Viber Business Account and want to start messaging customers now? Head over to our documentation for a step by step guide to connecting your Viber Business Account with respond.io.

What is Viber?

Viber for Business: Accounts

Viber for Business: Best Practices

Viber for Business: Infographic

What is Viber?

One of the first messaging apps, Viber launched in 2010 even before Line and Messenger. It is free to use and focuses more on calling compared to others. The VoIP feature called Viber Out, allows users to call mobile and landline numbers.

In 2014, Rakuten acquired Viber for $900 million. At the time Viber had 300 million users compared with 1 billion today. Although only 260 million are active monthly. Viber's popularity is concentrated in Eastern Europe and Asia.

There are three main panels in the Viber app. The Chats panel contains conversations with contacts, Viber Business Accounts, and Viber Communities. Like Facebook Messenger, ads will occasionally be shown in the chats list.

There are three main panels in the Viber app. The Chats panel contains conversations with contacts, Viber Bots, and Viber Communities. Like Facebook Messenger, ads will occasionally be shown in the chats list.
The Viber App Interface

The Calls panel shows contacts and recent calls. Here users can add new contacts or invite friends to Viber. Using Viber Out the apps key feature, users can make calls to contacts through Viber or place calls to a contact phone number using credits.

The More panel contains everything else like settings. It is also used to promote the Sticker Market. Although the Sticker Market is not as large as stickers on Line, the price for sticker packs is rather expensive. And of course to promote Viber Out.

Viber Public Accounts and Viber Communities

Longtime users of Viber will be familiar with Viber Communities and their predecessor Viber Public Chats. Viber Public Chats used to be attached to Viber Public Accounts. Viber Public accounts were created for brands to be able to use Viber for Business.

Viber Public Accounts were created so that companies could use Viber for Business.
Viber Public Account

Users could follow a Viber Public Accounts or have 1-to-1 chat with Public Accounts. Since Viber Public Accounts have been replaced with Viber Business Accounts, Public Chats have been replaced with Viber Communities.

Viber Communities are an outsized chatroom commonly used as fan pages by celebrities and businesses. They work similarly to a Public Chat, but have additional features like polls, which is a great way for brands to interact with their audience.

Viber communities are like large group chats, they are a way for companies and celebrities to use Viber for Business.
Viber Communities of Brands and Public Figures

Viber Communities are found in the main chat list, right next to all the private and group chats. In a way, it makes brands and public figures feel more reachable. Viber claims communities are driving growth, but it seems like Viber Out is the feature making gains.

Viber Out

Viber Out is a VoIP feature that allows calls to mobile and landline numbers. It works similar to Skype, where users buy credits or monthly subscriptions for calls. Viber’s user base continues to expand by attracting users that use Skype for calling.

Viber Out is a VoIP feature that allows calls to mobile and landline numbers. It works similar to Skype, where users buy credits or monthly subscriptions for calls. Vibers' user base continues to expand by attracting users that use Skype for calling.
Viber Out

Viber has chipped away at Skype's market lead by targeting users calling home to places like the Philippines and Tajikistan with cheaper prices. A Viber subscription plan for the Philippines gives users 180 calling minutes, compared to 120 minutes with Skype.

The Viber Out feature is driving user growth in Eastern Europe and Asia. With over 2.3 million Filipinos abroad and over a million Tajiks that use apps like Viber to call home the company is just getting started in attracting this user niche.

Where is Viber Popular?

From 2011 to 2019, the number of Viber registered users rose from 19 million to over 1.17 billion. However, this includes all users who have ever downloaded Viber. To get a better look at Viber’s popularity let’s take a look at Monthly Active Users (MAUs).

Viber doesn’t regularly release MAU numbers. From the sources we found, the picture doesn’t look bright. Tech Crunch reported 300 MAUs upon Vibers’ acquisition in 2014 and 99 Firms reported 260 MAUs in January 2019.

Now, it isn’t all bad news. Viber is the fastest growing messaging app in European countries like Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovakia, Cyprus and Albania. They are getting more downloads this year than competitors.

Viber User growth is happening largely in eastern europe and asia. This is important to know if you are planning to use Viber for Business.
Viber User Growth

In the Philippines, Myanmar and Mongolia, Viber is growing faster than local competitors like WeChat and LINE, but Messenger continues to grow faster. Viber claims the majority of smartphone users in Myanmar are on Viber, but we can’t verify that.

Viber has launched several initiatives to grow these markets. In Myanmar, the company is incorporating payments and e-commerce. In the Philippines, it’s developing a COVID-19 chatbot. In Hungary and Ukraine, Viber has a money transfer service called Moneytou.

Meanwhile, Viber's growth has slowed in Switzerland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Estonia, Latvia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Last year Viber was one of the top 3 fastest growing messaging apps in each country.

If your customers are in Ukraine or Hungary where the app is dominant, southern Europe where the app is a true contender, or in areas of Asia where Viber is pushing hard to grown, you should consider getting a Viber Business Account.

Viber for Business: Accounts

The Viber Business section of the Viber website can be quite confusing, they show many different products for business. For Viber messaging customers, there are two types of accounts Viber Business Messages and Viber Business Accounts.

Viber for Business: Viber Business Messages

Viber Business Messages allows businesses to message customers using their phone numbers. It is usually used by large companies to send a large number of transactional messages, like user authentications and status alerts.

Viber Business Messages is a product Viber created to enable large companies to use Viber for Business. Check out our blog to find out viber business messages pricing
Viber Business Messages

The great thing about Viber Business Messages is they without an internet connection, by using SMS as a fallback. The only drawback? It’s designed for large businesses and costs about €300 to start. For smaller businesses, we suggest using Viber Business Accounts.

Viber for Business: Viber Business Accounts

Viber Business Accounts can be used as business accounts to allow customers to interact with your brand. As the name implies, Viber Business Accounts can use automated messaging, they can also connect to a customer support platform to message customers manually.

Viber Public accounts used to be able to brand in order to be able to message their customer, since Viber Public Accounts no longer exist, companies need to get a Viber Bot instead.
Viber Business Accounts for Business

Viber Business Accounts are relatively similar to other messaging app business accounts, but have one feature we haven’t seen anywhere else – a customizable keyboard! You can customize the keyboard a user sees when they interact with your bot, how insane.

Unlike Viber Business Messages, creating a Viber Business Account is completely free and there are no limitations on messaging or amount of contacts. All you need to do to get started using Viber for companies is to create a Viber Business Account.

How To Create A Viber Business Account

You’re probably wondering how to make a Viber Business Account. The only thing you’ll need to create a Viber Business Account is a personal Viber account. To start the Viber Business Account creation process head to the Viber Admin Panel.

1. Login to the Viber Admin Panel. Enter the phone number registered to the personal Viber account here.

The first step to creating a Viber Bot is to navigate to the Viber Admin Panel.
Viber Admin Panel

Once done, you’ll be prompted to enter the verification code sent to your Viber account.

2. Add Your Business Details. Add a picture and some basic information about your business. Don’t worry too much as this information can be changed later from the app.

When creating a Viber Bot Account you are basically setting up your Viber Business Profile.
Creating a Viber Business Account

A few things to keep in mind. There is a Map to select your business country, but the search bar does not work. Just move the pin on the map to the business location and the country will change accordingly.

In addition, there is an adult content checkbox, if you check this box your Viber Business Account cannot be accessed by users who are not adults.

3. Press Create. Hit Create at the bottom of the form. When your Viber Business Account is ready, you’ll get your token.

Once your done create a Viber Bot you will receive the Viber Bot token, which you can then use to connect to a Messaging CRM.
Viber Business Account Token

You’ll notice there is no place here to answer messages sent to the Viber Business Account, which is by design. Viber does not offer a platform for answering messages. To start answering messages right away, create a free respond.io account, and connect your Viber Business Account.

Viber for Business: Best Practices

You’re probably used to communicating with customers using email, phone, or SMS. Chating over messages apps is a bit different. In this section, we’ll go over some best practices for finding your customers on Viber and messaging them.

Viber for Business: Finding Your Customers on Viber

Although Viber uses phone numbers for User IDs, you can’t just import them into a CRM. To get your customers as Viber Contacts, you’ll need to get them to message you first. This is a limitation created by Viber to avoid spam marketing.

To chat with you customers using a Viber Bot you'll need to get them to message you first. You can send chat links and QR codes to your existing customers so they send the first message. Or you can attract new customers with Viber advertising.
Starting a Chat With Customers

There are a few helpful tools to get your customers to message you first. You can send chat links and QR codes to your existing customers so they send the first message. Or you can attract new customers with Viber advertising.

It used to be that Viber users could also search for your bot inside the Viber App, however, since Viber took away bot publishing. There is no way to make a Viber Business Account searchable inside the app anymore.

Viber for Business: Chat Links & QR Codes

In the Viber Admin Panel, there is a QR Code you can scan to start a conversation with your Viber Business Account. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to start chatting unless you actually connect your Viber Business Account to a CRM using the token.

Scan This QR Code With The Viber App To Start a Chat with our Viber Bot
Scan This QR Code With The Viber App To Start a Chat

QR codes work like Messenger Codes, converting offline traffic like foot traffic in a store to Viber Contacts. You can also add the QR Code to your website or emails. Keep in mind that the QR Code only works if users have the Viber app installed on their phones.

Although the Viber Admin Panel doesn’t provide chat links. They can be created in the respond.io platform. They can be easier to add to a website, but just like QR Codes chat links will only work if the Viber app is installed.

Viber for Business: Advertising

Another way to promote a Viber Business Account is through Viber advertising. There are several ad formats including desktop ads, post-call ads, ad banners, and promotional stickers. Each of these will take the user to the Viber Business Account Profile.

The most interesting advertising format is Viber stickers. When users download branded sticker packs, they’ll be subscribed to the Viber Bot automatically.
Viber Sticker Post-Download Ad

The most interesting advertising format is Viber stickers. When users download branded sticker packs, they’ll be subscribed to the Viber Business Account automatically. However, Viber advertising is intended for larger companies, to apply fill in this form.

Messaging Customers Using A Viber Business Account

Now that you know how to find your customers on Viber, time to start messaging them. Compared with other messaging apps, messaging customers on Viber is simple. In this section, we’ll discuss 1:1 messaging, broadcast messaging, and group messaging.

Viber Business Account: 1-to-1 Messaging

Most messaging app business accounts block replies after some time using a messaging window and don’t provide read receipts. In this way, Viber Business Accounts are more business-friendly. There is no messaging window and read receipts are provided for sent messages.

Messaging windows are becoming popular for messaging app business accounts, they block businesses from responding after 24 hours or so to reduce spammy marketing messages. Viber Business Accounts have no messaging window so you can message customers anytime, even after weeks.

Viber Bots are more business-friendly. There is no messaging window and read receipts are provided for sent messages.
1:1 Messaging Using a Telegram Bot

When you do message your customers, you expect to know when they’ve read your message right? Unfortunately, many messaging app business accounts do not provide this data. So business users are left wondering about the status of their message.

Luckily, Viber sends the message status over the Viber API. This means whichever business messaging platform you connect your Viber Business Account to can show sent message status. Allowing you to see if a message has been delivered, read, or failed to send.

In addition, some messaging app business accounts will mark the messages sent by customers as read automatically. You can imagine, this will infuriate some customers. Thankfully messages send to your Viber Business Account will be marked as delivered but not seen.

Viber Business Account: Broadcast Messaging

Once you’ve got 1-1 messaging figured out, you can start exploring mass messaging with Viber. Remember that since Viber Contacts cannot be imported, you’ll need to get your customers to message your first before you can send them a broadcast.

Like 1:1 messaging, Viber doesn’t place on limitations on the content or number of broadcasts you can send. However, you’ll need to make sure that the business messaging platform you connect your Viber Bot to has broadcast functionality.

Like 1:1 messaging, Viber doesn’t place on limitations on the content or number of broadcasts you can send. However, you’ll need to make sure that the business messaging platform you connect your Viber Business Account to has broadcast functionality.

Although Viber doesn’t place any limitations of broadcasts you want to be careful with broadcasts as Viber Contacts can block you. If your Viber Business Account gets blocks you’ll see an error message like: failed to send the message the user is not subscribed anymore.

Viber Business Account: Group Messaging

Many companies are using messaging apps for sales by creating groups with salespeople and customers. Although effective, these chats pose a problem for companies as there is no record on them in company CRMs.

Viber Bots Cannot Join Group Chats
Viber Business Accounts Cannot Join Group Chats

One way to deal with this would be to add a Viber Business Account into the group chat, so the conversation could be recorded in your messaging CRM. We’ve tested this out, but unfortunately, Viber Business Accounts cannot be added to group chats.

Is That Everything You Can Do With Viber for Business?

We’ve discussed all the most important issues in using Viber for business. Here are some additional articles that will be useful for using other business messaging apps:

Viber for Business: Infographic

Viber for Business

Ultimate Guide to Viber for Business (Nov 2020)
Jaro

Jaro

Iaroslav is the Chief Operating Officer at Respond.io overseeing growth and operations. He is a graduate of the MBA program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his previous roles include positions at Kodak Alaris, Xaxis & Light Reaction.

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