Twitter has acquired Bangalore-based mobile marketing & analytics platform ZipDial for an undisclosed amount. Post acquisition, ZipDial team will be joining Twitter India and Twitter says it also gets a new engineering office in Bangalore. The terms of the acquisition were however not disclosed.
This follows a TechCrunch report from last week which had suggested that Twitter is acquiring ZipDial to strengthen their international growth plans. At the time, it had cited sources to put the acquisition amount between $30-$40 million.
ZipDial provides a mobile marketing platform through the “missed calls” feature. People can call a particular toll-free number, following which they are automatically disconnected and start receiving inbound content from brands via SMS, voice or an app notification. The service has also been used to verify mobile numbers and public voting for TV shows and in offline events.
This disrupts the traditional SMS based business, wherein users send an SMS to a short code, sometimes paying premium rates, for either voting on something or pulling some information. It also allows brands to reach out to consumers who aren’t connected to mobile Internet yet.
It looks like Twitter was attracted towards this feature, since the company says this acquisition will allow them to make content more accessible to everyone. Twitter says that it has previously collaborated with ZipDial on various campaigns including the Indian elections, Bollywood film promotions and MTV India’s #RockTheVote “Dial the Hashtag” campaign. Interestingly, Facebook had also partnered ZipDial in July last year, to test a new type of ad unit that allows users to place a missed call to an advertiser to receive additional content like cricket scores and celebrity messages among others.
The idea here seems to be reaching out to non-Internet users who have entry-level mobile phones and who might be interested in receiving updates from their preferred news source or their favorite celebrity. Once they are hooked on to the service, Twitter probably hopes to convert them as active users for the service. This would be critical for Twitter which is struggling to grow its user base and is now looking at emerging markets for further growth.
Founded in 2010 by Valerie Wagoner, Amiya Pathak and Sanjay Swamy, Zipdial has investors like Jungle Ventures, 500 Startups, Times Internet, Mumbai Angels, and Blume Ventures among others. It claims to have more than 500 clients including Disney, Oreo, Lakme, Cafe Coffee Day, Pepsi and Clinic Plus among others.