Mass Messaging with Viber: Geo Penetration, Compliance, and Pricing Dynamics
Instant messaging and SMS mass texting has become efficient marketing channels for businesses. The cheapness of these channels and the capacity to reach a global market drive marketers to exploit these avenues. Studies show that 90% of people prefer receiving brand messages to calls.
Rakuten Viber, a messaging and VoIP app is one of the most popular instant messaging apps used worldwide. Although not as popular as WhatsApp and Facebook, you may wonder how many Viber users are worldwide.
Viber has users in almost every country, with more than 1.1 billion registered users in over 190 countries and supports over 44 languages. Smart marketers have discovered that Viber bulk messaging with customizable messages is budget-friendly.
This blog post examines some countries with high Viber usage and relevant laws on data protection and compares pricing between SMS and Viber in these countries.
In Which Countries Is Viber Used?
A common misconception about Viber messaging is that it is only used in Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland.
On the contrary, the Viber messaging app is available in over 193 countries worldwide. From nations like Brazil and Argentina to the United States of America, India, and France.
We will examine five countries with appreciable Viber penetration. The UK, India, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Greece.
About 4% of instant messenger users in the UK use Viber. However, a survey shows that 46% of respondents know about the Viber brand.
User privacy on instant messaging apps is regulated by the proposed Online Safety Bill. The law will require messaging apps to ensure moderation in user content to prevent cyberbullying, abuse, and the spread of hate speech.
The dilemma for apps like Viber is that they have to scale back on end-to-end encryption measures, which guarantees the security of user communication. Opening up the encryption process ensures that security operatives can investigate cases of cyberbullying. Breach of this law attracts fines of up to 4% of the company’s turnover.
However, implementing this law remains an ongoing battle between these messaging apps and the government.
Less than 1% of Indians use Viber according to Business of Apps report. However, India’s 1.2 billion mobile phone users and over 600 million smartphone users make it a fertile ground for Viber to thrive.
In India, Viber is bound by the Information Technology Rules 2021, which mandates all social media messaging apps to trace the origin of every message.
Traceability, according to the rules, is to help investigating agencies identify the sender of any offensive message quickly.
Viber has a strong presence in Greece, and it is the most used messaging app in the country. Statistics show that over 90% of smartphones in Greece have installed Viber. In Greece, Viber facilitates over a billion calls and several billions of messages cementing its place as the top messaging app for businesses and individuals.
Greece subscribes to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which seeks to protect users’ data. The GDPR mandates companies to seek the permission of data subjects to reveal their details.
Viber protocol adheres to this regulation by using end-to-end encryption to protect user data. It also collects certain data mandated by the law. The Regulations also give data subjects the right to have their details deleted from the company’s database.
In ranking Viber’s popularity by country, Ukraine ranks as number one. Among Ukraine’s population of 43.7 million, Viber is the most popular messaging app. As of 2021, Viber held a 97.7% market share in Ukraine, and 20% of all the messages sent on the app came from Ukraine. It is safe to say that Viber has successfully penetrated Ukraine, with 16.7 million daily users as of November 2021.
The Bill also mandates foreign entities offering data services and products to appoint representatives in the country.
South East Asia’s second most populous country with a population of 109 million people; the Philippines is a country where Viber reigns supreme as the top messaging app. The app saw a user rise of 24% at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
This rise helped it displace WhatsApp as the messaging app of choice. Filipinos are known to detest calls from companies but prefer texts as a form of communication.
Businesses looking to break into the Philippines must include bulk messaging as a marketing strategy.
The Data Privacy Act of 2012 (Republic Act No 10173) is the country’s major legislation on data protection. Key provisions include the requirement of consent from receivers (opt-in text messaging) before sending messages and the duty of data collectors to protect user data. It is important to note that sending broadcast messages outside working hours is not permitted in the Philippines.
Viber Pricing vs. SMS Pricing LookUp
One clear advantage of Viber over SMS in mass messaging for businesses is its low cost compared to SMS.
For instance, sending an SMS to the UK costs between $0.03 and $0.042 for a text message with just 160 characters. Viber pricing for business messages is cheaper at $0.011 and has a maximum of 1000 characters.
The cost of sending business messages on Viber depends on each country code of the receiver. Let’s see how the prices fare against each other using the average cost of sending SMS to those countries.
|Country||Viber pricing||SMS Pricing|
|United Kingdom||$0.0069 – $0.0078||$0.03- $0.042|
|Philippines||$0.0017 – $0.002||$0.13 – $0.169|
|India||$0.0008 – $0.001||$0.042 -$0.490|
|Ukraine||$0.008 – $0.0091||$0.111 – $0.115|
|Greece||$0.0103- $0.0117||$0.056- $0.0620|
The figures above all show that Viber messages are considerably cheaper and are sometimes more than 100% cheaper than SMS.
Viber messages have richer contents due to its limit of 1000 characters which is more than 160 characters of SMS. However, you can use SMS as a fall back option where Viber messages fail to deliver to customers.
An important fact to note is that to begin a Viber marketing campaign, you need a Viber partner to help you register your business account on the platform. The partner also helps you create a contact list and engaging messages for your customers.
Using Viber business messaging you can keep your customers up to date about your services and also provide them with important information such as One-Time Passwords for transactions or promotional messages.
As you can see above, Viber is used not only in Eastern Europe but in parts of Asia like the Philippines and India. Viber opens you to more than a billion users at a cheaper rate than SMS marketing campaigns.
BSG is your marketing partner to get your Viber campaigns off the ground. We can combine your Viber messaging campaigns with SMS to reach more users not registered on Viber.