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Scott NelsonHead of North AmericaViber
Mobile messaging is becoming an evolving and quickly growing space, due to the likes of Facebook Messenger, Kik Messenger, WhatsApp and now Viber. Features such as public chats and chatbots are changing the nature of mobile engagements between companies and consumers, and brands still have a lot to learn. Scott Nelson, head of North America at Viber, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about how the messaging space is heating up.
eMarketer: How are brands and publishers using public chats to engage consumers?
Scott Nelson: Publishers such as Mashable have used the public chats to provide a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to work there. Brands sometimes use the chats to talk about new product releases. They might also give a behind-the-scenes look at an advertising campaign and use their public chat as an extension of that. Brands can also create custom sticker packs, which they can then use in their public chat to drive brand interactions on the platform.
eMarketer: How are chatbots changing mobile messaging?
Nelson: It’s still early. When Messenger and Kik came out with chatbots in 2016, there was a lot of activity. That activity has definitely helped develop the messaging app space in North America.
A year ago, we were having very different conversations—there was limited knowledge among brands about how to use messaging apps to engage consumers. In other regions of the world, they live and breathe messaging apps, so there was already huge penetration.
eMarketer: When you say “early,” is it too early for brands to get serious about chatbots?
Nelson: There’s already a big opportunity now that brands are starting to understand messaging apps, and chatbots are a great entry point [because they automate engagements]. We’ll soon be announcing different partners as we evolve our platform and [offer more chatbot integrations].
eMarketer: The public chats are ripe with unstructured data. What’s the opportunity there for brands?
Nelson: When we work with publishers, there is definitely some interesting insight that we can provide. There’s still a fine line, however, between what we can and can’t use or share with our partners. As we get further into public accounts, there’ll be more data available and it’ll be a huge value add to brands and publishers.
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