Viber has launched public accounts – an account format for businesses and brands that want to communicate with Viber users for marketing and customer service – without the customer needing to add the account as a contact first, reports TechCrunch.
The chat platform will debut the service with 1,000 public accounts including ones from The Huffington Post, The Weather Channel and Yandex amount others, and will send out updates and other info to users that are subscribed. The customer service part of the feature is yet to be implemented.
As of now, Viber claims its API will integrate 10-15 popular CRM packages for businesses to send and read message along with other emails, messaging and social media interactions. The company will also support bots, a feature that has become increasingly popular among messaging apps. It mentions that it will launch a scalable API to provide developers with tools to develop bots instead of making them itself.
Interestingly, the new features by Viber have simply been built upon its public chat service which was launched back in 2014. The public chats would let anyone on the service create public groups for sending messages, pictures, stickers and videos. However, the key difference is the ability for users to interact with other users not in their contact list, which was not possible in public chats.
Note that various messaging platforms have begun consolidating their user bases and have started looking for ways to actually generate some revenues. Facebook Messenger recently started a similar feature which lets businesses display “highly-targeted, in-context” ads in Messenger threads. Earlier this month, Twitter introduced chatbots for businesses through direct messaging, while online content discovery platform Outbrain launched “Outbrain for Chat,” a service that enables any publisher to launch applications or content bots across messaging platforms like Telegram, Kik and Slack.