Customers today are far savvier and ad-aware than they once were. At the same time, advertisers and marketers are increasingly aware of the problem of “ad fatigue” — the reduced impact of adverts that an audience sees repeatedly. As a result, it is becoming harder and harder to reach customers and make an impact.
To get around this some companies have turned to “native advertising” — adverts disguised as context-appropriate content, such as a news story — in order to influence their audience. However this strategy can attract criticism, not just because it calls into question the objectivity of the publisher, but also because it could be perceived as an attempt to “trick” the reader.
The concept remains an appealing one, however, because getting your brand in front of an audience in a way that integrates seamlessly with the platform is not only less obtrusive, it is actually more effective at gaining attention than traditional advertising.
What does “less intrusive” mean, exactly?
Perhaps counterintuitively, an excellent channel for natively raising brand awareness, without “tricking” anyone, is also one of the most personal: OTT messaging apps. Take, for example, Viber. Viber not only serves as a channel for marketing communications, it also gives companies exposure through the use of stickers: colourful images and animations that users can send to one another to enhance their conversations, allowing them to better convey their emotions.
This means that marketers can make their presence felt in an extremely powerful venue. Messaging apps are, after all, the main kind of app that sees regular use. As Viber’s own Chief Revenue Officer, Cristina Constandache, told Mobile Marketing Magazine ‘in-app users are very loyal. We know that consumers are using fewer apps but, those that they’re using, they’re using a lot more heavily.’
So by creating a branded sticker pack brands can become a part of the way messaging app users interact with one another. This is native advertising, but not the “trick you into thinking this is a real article” kind. Users have to choose to download sticker packs and send them to their friends. So the stickers you create must be engaging and useful to them, so that they are prepared to share them with contacts.
By doing so these users integrate your branding and style into the way they communicate, building brand loyalty through emotional connection and positive associations — marketing’s most effective tool.
“Stickers are probably the most native type of advertising that one can use for a messaging app. And, unlike other types of ad placement, it’s not something an advertiser can force to put in front of the user because stickers are linked to utility and emotion. Nobody will download a sticker pack in order to use certain stickers unless they help them express themselves better and unless that brand has managed to convey the utility aspect and the emotional aspect of it,” Cristina Constandache, Chief Revenue Officer, Viber
Creating an effective sticker pack
At GMS we believe in Viber stickers so much that we created our own pack, with excellent results. We offer this same service to our you, as stickers make a great complement to the more direct Viber Business Messages. The key is coming up with something fun and engaging, rather than forcing your logo into everything. Understand your audience well, so you can create something they will want to use.
You can implement Viber stickers in different ways. You can make personalised sticker packs that anyone can download and use, making them accessible and increasing their reach. Alternatively, exclusive stickers can be used as rewards: as a prize in a competition or incentive to respond to your brand’s call to action (such as a survey). That exclusivity alone can create engagement, if done right.
Sticker’s style creation is also flexible: you can choose from a variety of options to create a set of stickers appropriate to your brand or the specific message you want to project. GMS creates the full array of packs, such as:
- Static stickers
- Clickable stickers with embedded links
- Audio stickers that play a sound
- Animated stickers, which can also incorporate sound with vibrant and dynamic animations
On top of this, packs can also be made “Free & Follow.” By downloading such a sticker pack, users automatically subscribe to the public account of the associated brand, which means they can receive Business Messages through Viber. This expands the audience for your marketing messages, and so long as you treat that audience respectfully, they will continue to be receptive, because your stickers have built that personal connection with them.
“Viber stickers are much more than just an entertaining way to communicate with friends. They are an outstanding tool for raising brand awareness, loyalty, and engagement,” Artem Doroshenko, Head of GMS’ Enterprise Relations Division
It has never been more important to find new ways to connect to your audience and overcome ad fatigue. By creating a sticker pack with Viber, you can weave your brand identity into customers’ conversations in a way that they find unobtrusive, fun, and useful. You become a part of the platform, appropriate to the context: the very definition of “native.” Used in conjunction with Viber Business Messages, stickers add a unique tool to your multichannel and mobile marketing arsenal.
The team at GMS can help you create the perfect sticker pack, all the way from conception to publication on Viber’s sticker market. Contact us to find out more.