By Shreyans Parshwakirti
Developer evangelist | gupshup.io
June 7, 2017
As more and more businesses are looking to join the chatbot bandwagon to grow their reach and improve customer engagement, the real question still remains, “which messaging channel should we choose?”. Although there are many factors that influence this decision, one of them is the number of users on that messaging channel. One such messaging channel with almost 900 million registered users is Viber, providing a great opportunity for businesses to have greater reach to the customers.
Viber was founded in Israel in 2010 and since then it has seen a consistent growth in its user base and is currently featured in the top 10 most used messaging apps. As of December 2016, it had 260 million monthly active users. Over the course of its journey, Viber has always kept pace with the competition bringing in tons of features like video calls, group chats, end to end encryption etc.
With the growing popularity of chatbots, Viber launched Public accounts in November 2016, a new account for businesses to connect with their users. Since then more than 1,000 public accounts have been created on Viber with more businesses joining in.
Public Accounts on Viber
- Its main purpose is for businesses to connect with users.
- It provides rich messaging options.
- Works only on Viber version 6.5 and above on Android and iOS.
- Works only on version 6.5.3 and above on Desktop.
Public Accounts consist of 3 parts
- Info screen: contains information about the business and provides options for the user to interact with the business.
- Public Chat: Allows the business to push contents to all its users helping in building the brand personality and accelerating marketing activities.
- 1-on-1 chat: Direct chat between users and businesses.
– Image courtesy Viber docs
Discovery and Promotion
- Discovery has been made easy, you just need to tap on the icon on the top right corner of the app to get the list of all the public accounts.
- Deeplink URLs are another way of directing users to 1-on-1 chat with a welcome message. More information can be found here
- Viber badge is a good option for promotion. Businesses can add this badge on their website and their social media platforms for promotion.
There are some guidelines for the badge which can be found here
Building a bot on Viber
Steps involved in building a bot on Viber:
- Getting access to the public account through application to Viber.
- Setting up the webhook for the account.
Coding the bot using:
The resources provided by Viber like
- Node.js library
- REST APIs, etc.
- Using Gupshup as the platform to build the bot and connect to the Public Accounts. View the guide here to understand how to build, test and deploy a Viber bot using Gupshup.
- The resources provided by Viber like
Few Viber guidelines for the bot
- Bot behaviour must be as stated in the bot profile.
- The bot must be able to greet users who engage with it.
- Bot response time must be <5 seconds.
- The bot must be able to respond to all kinds of Viber message types.
More guidelines can be found here
Few bots to look for on Viber
Foxy: A matchmaking bot with 24K users with them. It also allows syncing your photos from your Facebook account.
-Image courtesy Viber blog
Swelly: The most popular bot on Facebook messenger has already 63K users with them on Viber. Swelly helps other users with daily decision making by sending their question directly to you.
Huffpost Entertainment: Provides suggestions as to what to watch on Netflix. Has around 837K users with them. You can choose between different categories like TV, Movies etc and then the gerene to watch.
Forksy: Helps in calorie counting, provides suggestions to eat healthily and helps in losing weight. The bot collects various inputs like age, current weight, height etc to provide suggestions. Has around 51K users with them.
Overall Viber is a great platform to have bots on. As a business, you would definitely want to have a presence on Viber. Also, do try few of the bots on Viber as they are really cool.