More people now connect with each other on messaging platforms than they do via traditional social media, according to a report by BI Intelligence. That’s no surprise to calling and messaging app Rakuten Viber, which is rapidly expanding its user base by focusing on building a more robust, engaging and secure platform to connect people.

Safe and secure

“We don’t listen to chats and calls. We don’t scan and store the pictures or videos that our users send... We don’t do any of that because we think it’s private content.” explained Rakuten Viber's Djamel Agaoua

“We don’t listen to chats and calls. We don’t scan and store the pictures or videos that our users send… We don’t search into their files or exchanges with their friends…. We don’t do any of that because we believe it’s their private content,” explained Rakuten Viber’s Djamel Agaoua.

One of the key reasons for Rakuten Viber’s continuous growth is trust, noted Djamel Agaoua, CEO of Rakuten Viber, at the Rakuten Optimism conference in San Francisco.

End-to-end encryption is an essential feature built into the Viber platform to keep private messages safe and secure. As a second layer of security, Viber deletes all messages from its servers once they’ve been delivered, ensuring conversations between users remain private.

“We don’t scan and store the pictures or videos that our users send,” he said. “We don’t search into their files or exchanges with their friends…. We don’t do any of that because we believe it’s their private content.”

Growing Communities

While some messaging apps limit the amount of users in a single group chat to a few hundred, Viber Communities offers a chat space where up to a whopping 1 billion members can exchange messages and engage with one another.

“We’ve implemented the largest group chat in the world,” Agaoua said “It’s just unlimited.”

It’s channels like Viber that really help us engage a whole new audience,” said Mike Kitts. “It’s absolutely critical.”

It’s channels like Viber that really help us engage a whole new audience,” said Vice President of Global Partnerships for the Golden State Warriors Mike Kitts. “It’s absolutely critical.”

Many Viber Communities are growing rapidly and now include more than a million members, such as beloved football club, and Rakuten global partner, FC Barcelona (4.6 million members) and the World Wildlife Fund (3.4 million members). The reason for the popularity of these Communities is simple: Rakuten Viber is able to offer members content they can’t get anywhere else.

“We build unique experiences in select communities,” explained Agaoua. “We build different experiences where people can consume content, or even have a chat experience with their champs or the manager of the clubs, or [amongst] themselves.”

This capability is just one of many communication features Viber has integrated into its platform to set the platform apart from competitors. Others include a new language-translation tool for Android phones, a convenient and robust photo-sharing feature and a more intuitive user interface overall.

Let’s Go, Warriors! 

One particularly passionate community on Viber is made up of the fans of reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, who became partners with Rakuten before the beginning of the 2017-18 NBA season.

Viber’s three-year partnership with the basketball juggernaut allows the team to engage directly with fans around the world through chats in 10 languages, a weekly trivia quiz with exclusive prizes that ran during the 2017-18 season and a free Warriors sticker pack as a special thank you gift (the sticker of Stephen Curry LOL-ing is a fan favorite).

The exclusive Viber sticker of Stephen Curry LOL-ing quickly became a fan favorite of users.

The exclusive Viber sticker of Stephen Curry LOL-ing quickly became a fan favorite of users.

Mike Kitts, Vice President of Global Partnerships for the Golden State Warriors, was a featured panelist at Rakuten Optimism Conference and pointed out that only one percent of Warriors fans actually attend a game. The partnership with Viber, he added, helps provide the Warriors with a direct and authentic way to engage with the 99 percent of fans watching from home.

“There were geographies where we had little to no penetration, and there’s a billion-user community that wasn’t really engaging with us. It’s channels like Viber that really help us engage a whole new audience,” he explained. “It’s absolutely critical.”


Read more reports on Rakuten Optimism 2018 here.