Rakuten Viber, one of the world’s leaders in voice-based communication and instant messaging services, shares the main trends that defined how Filipino users and brands have been using the app in 2022. The communication app, owned by the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, has over 1B Android downloads worldwide and is being widely used both by users and brands.
More users chatting and calling on the app
Rakuten Viber reveals an overall increase in Viber’s app users across Asia Pacific (APAC) this year, with the Philippines recording a robust 22% increase. Locally in the Philippines, 19% more users sent one-to-one messages compared to last year. Also, 19% more users in the country sent messages in group chats this year, revealing a strong preference for texting. Filipinos have shown a great interest in My Notes – 37% more Filipinos used Notes to sync to-do lists and media across all their devices in 2022.
Unleashing creativity with lenses and stickers
Viral and interactive, Viber Stickers and Lenses allow users to express themselves creatively while chatting. Viber introduced Lenses on its platform more than a year ago and since then they have been used almost 1 Billion times. Realizing the growing trend for augmented reality and visual content, Viber lets brands and organizations create their own Lenses and Stickers on the app to strengthen their image and increase brand awareness.
Advancing brand-user interactions
71% of consumers want to have convenient access to communication with a business. Seeing this shift in consumer expectations, more and more global and Filipino brands turn to Viber to keep in touch with the audience, create seamless brand-user interactions, and reach users at each step of their customer journey.
Apart from Lenses and Stickers, businesses are seen leveraging Advertising solutions to increase their visibility and attract new users. In 2022, the number of average monthly Ads impressions on Viber reached astounding 6B worldwide, with more than 680M impressions in the Philippines. Among the top-performing ads verticals in the Philippines were: travel & hospitality which grew by 430%, employment & education by 403%, legal services by 396%, media & publishing by 371%, and IT & telecom by 369%.
This year brands showed an even stronger interest in Viber Business Messaging solutions as a tool to build connections with consumers in their favorite messaging app. In 2022, in the Philippines Viber recorded:
- A 16% growth in the number of business message accounts created.
- An overall 13% increase of Business Messages delivered.
- An 83% spike in conversational messages (e.g. around-sales support, receiving feedback, and more), showing that brands and users increasingly rely on real conversations (rather than the regular one-way messages), contributing to the rise of conversational commerce.
- An astounding 603% increase in transactional messages (order confirmations, delivery trackings, appointment reminders, one-time passwords, and more), showcasing the growing need for important notifications in brand-user interactions.
- An 11% growth in the number of promotional messages (e.g. special offers, discounts).
- A 34% increase in the number of Chatbots.
Trends for the future
This year, Viber has also taken its superapp strategy one step further by introducing its own safe and secure cross-border digital payment solution. Payments on Viber allows users to send money to each other as easily as sending a message. Launched initially via waitlist in some European markets, it will roll out to more countries in the near future, including the Philippines. Payments on Viber extends the app’s utility and value to make it absolutely essential for its hundreds of millions of users and—with more upcoming updates—for thousands of brands.
Viber will be taking a few more major steps along its path as a superapp next year. First, the app will give brands the opportunity to host all their business information, services, and channels of communication on Viber in a single meta-business entity, and let users easily find businesses they need and interact with them.
Additionally, Viber will be introducing a dedicated folder that will help users organize their conversations with brands in a way that’s convenient to them, improve user experience, and boost brand visibility.
“Our updates are a major milestone for the app and lay the foundation for future features Viber plans to introduce as part of its superapp strategy: to increase the utility of the app to the users and expand ways in which brands can connect with their audience, bringing more value for both parties, faster, and in fewer steps,” says Cristina Constandache, Chief Revenue Officer at Rakuten Viber. “The numbers mentioned above once again prove that we are developing our app in the right direction, as both users and brands increasingly use Viber in their day-to-day communication and routines.”
Rakuten Viber Senior Director, APAC, David Tse adds, ”The substantial increase in overall Viber use proves that the messaging app remains a top choice for users globally. We’ve also noted growth in usage of new features and solutions, which emphasizes how Viber has been accurately meeting the personal and business communication needs of its users. This user-centric approach and Viber’s non-negotiable commitment to security and privacy will continue to drive us as we move into 2023. We are delighted to launch new and exciting features like Payments on Viber that will help all our users, especially in the APAC region, streamline their communication as it delivers lifestyle solutions that make their modern lives easier.”
Support for MSME in the Philippines
Tse further emphasizes that aside from helping brands and businesses connect better with consumers to help drive conversions, Viber continues to strongly support MSMEs in the Philippines. In the past two years, Viber has rolled out initiatives that focused on providing further support for Filipino entrepreneurs on the platform, from helping create Viber Communities that highlight homegrown business, building Channels for geo-targeted content, expanding partnerships to hubs outside of Metro Manila, and educating about business solutions on the app, to awarding grants that enable MSMEs to strategically grow their businesses. These local entrepreneurs and small to medium enterprises have shorn up economies across the region, and pushed conversational commerce to the fore, impacting even how big businesses conduct their operations.