Twitter Acquires ZipDial in Emerging Market Push

Twitter has acquired Indian start-up ZipDial in a move that is hoped to give advertisers a new way to reach mobile users in India and other emerging markets.

ZipDial’s technology allows mobile users to make toll-free “missed calls” to a designated phone number and then receive content and promotions through SMS, voice messages, mobile Web or app notifications. The deal with Twitter will mean the company has the ability to reach India’s entire mobile user base, and not just its mobile Internet one, presenting huge opportunities for the social network and brand marketers.  

“Brands and marketers will be able to reach consumers and enhance experiences to bring value propositions in all cycles of engagement, including advertising within feature phones and non-data connections,” says Rohit Dadwal, managing director (APAC) at the Mobile Marketing Association.

He adds that more and more emerging markets are coming on board social media and this is a smart way for Twitter to engage new users.

Twitter is already familiar with ZipDial’s capabilities, as it has worked on a number of campaigns with the company over the past two years, including the Indian elections and Bollywood film promotions.

“The deal is significant and could be a game changer,” says Vivek Das, a Delhi-based digital strategist. “ZipDial’s product is an innovation. It cuts through online/offline and connects online and offline. The applications of this combination are immense, and [reach] across marketing, advertising, research, education, scientific studies, governance, and politics.”

Valerie Wagoner, ZipDial’s founder and chief executive (CEO), says ZipDial’s platform and engagement products have achieved more than 1 billion connections for brands across 60 million users since it was launched in 2010.

“Our ambitious goal is to make Twitter’s unique, great content accessible to 100 percent of the world’s mobile users, including those in emerging markets who will be experiencing the mobile Internet for the first time,” Wagoner said in a statement.

ZipDial’s current clients include KFC, Pepsi, IBM, and Cadbury.

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