In its initial stages, viral marketing was restricted to internet and social media. The cap placed by TRAI on the number of messages that can be sent has led to the growth in demand for chat messengers for mobile. This in turn has seen rising interest in chat applications by viral marketing teams. Nevertheless, the initial players – WhatsApp and BBM – have not seen too much enthusiasm from marketers.
Applications such as WeChat and Line are changing the game drastically by creating tools of convenience for marketers.
Internationally, a number of small and large brands have been leveraging chat applications to reach out to their TG from yet another touch point.
For instance, a well-known chain of coffee shops in Israel recently executed a marketing campaign using WhatsApp. The campaign was to hunt for the most popular chat group on the messenger. To participate, users had to sign up through a mobile site and enter their WhatsApp group. Campaign analytics would then check for the group’s funny levels, among other things. There was also a fictional character, a café waitress, who created engagement among the groups and users. According to the brand, around 2,500 groups entered the contest.
Despite being under intense scrutiny in China, brands have been using WeChat among other messengers. Nike recently launched its ‘We Own the Night’ campaign on WeChat. The campaign was initially launched on Facebook and on its official site and offered participants an opportunity to gather in group runs and basketball or football games at night. On WeChat, the campaign received the perfect mobile extension and engagement.
While Indian marketers might not have been as outgoing with messengers, certain initiatives are seen in small pockets. A leading brand ran a Twitter contest, wherein users were urged to share the name of their chat gangs and the quirkiest name would win goodies.
This apart, Twitter recently had #WhatsAppTalks trending, which was leveraged by a number of brands, including Comedy Central and Mad Over Doughnuts.
The growing fervour regarding chatting messengers offers a huge potential for marketers. While privacy issues of these messengers are a constant concern, brands can always look at leveraging the space in a model where no private information is required to be shared on the applications. If used in an integrated and permission-based manner, campaigns on such formats will see growing traction.