Twitter announced today that it has acquired the Indian mobile platform developer ZipDial. The microblogging social network hopes that ZipDial, which offers unique marketing solution such as engagement through missed calls and SMS, will help the network gain new users. A report from earlier this month had claimed that Twitter was in talks with ZipDial for a potential acquisition. Neither of the companies has offered financial details of the acquisition.
“Over the next several years, billions of people will come online for the first time in countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia,” Twitter wrote. “For many, their first online experience will be on a mobile device – but the cost of data may prevent them from experiencing the true power of the Internet. Twitter, in partnership with ZipDial, can make great content more accessible to everyone.”
Bangalore-based ZipDial offers unique business model wherein it capitalizes on missed calls and SMS — two features that don’t require data connectivity — as a frontline marketing tool. In a country where a vast majority of people are still using entry-level non-Internet capable handsets, the said features help more people get into the loop. The firm has over 500 paying clients including Disney, Coca Cola, Colgate, Nestle.
ZipDial could allow its users to engage with publishers or brands by calling a toll-free phone number, which will then automatically return calls, messages, or notifications through their phone. This might come across as an annoying thing in western nations, but as Twitter points out, “these interactions are especially appealing in areas where people aren’t always connected to data or only access data through intermittent Wi-Fi networks.”
— Valerie R. Wagoner (@valwagoner) January 20, 2015
The company has thus far, done over 7,000 campaigns with over 900 million engagements. Twitter said ZipDial’s user experience will “combines SMS, voice, mobile Web, and access to mobile apps to bridge users from offline to online”
“Leading figures, including actors, politicians and athletes, [use ZipDial] to instantly reach millions of citizens on Twitter through text and voice messages,” Twitter said. “By coming together with ZipDial, we’ll help more people around the world enjoy great and relevant Twitter experiences on their mobile phones.”
Interestingly, Twitter and ZipDial have previously worked together to push non-Twitter users tweets from celebrities, and for Bollywood movie promotions and Indian national elections on their mobile phones. ZipDial had dedicated different phone numbers for celebrities to which a user was supposed to place a call to receive tweets.
Twitter will be hoping that new users coming from ZipDial will also help boost its advertising revenue, something its investors have long been constantly worried about.