Messaging apps are a prime platform for companies to reach their online users — especially as more and more people are perpetually on these chat apps.
In turn, as messaging services seek to diversify their monetization models and increase revenue streams, many of them are cleverly tapping on the thirst of companies to reach out to a mass audience easily but in a personalized manner, and allowing customers to connect in real-time with companies.
For example, Japanese messaging app Line has been promoting official accounts to firms.
However, being on a messaging platform is not an easy task — and that’s where TextPride steps in to help mobile messaging apps bring users and brands closer together.
According to TextPride, brands have questioned whether their presence on a messaging platform is appropriate as “direct messages from companies feel forced, and no one wants to feel pitched over a text message.” The startup also explains that the process is fraught with difficulties, such as negotiating with the messaging apps in question, creating appropriate content to be placed on these apps and quality control.
The challenge doesn’t only lie with the brands, though. TextPride notes that it takes a huge amount of work for apps to deal with hundreds or thousands of brands that may all demand different styles of artwork. It also requires a lot of effort from the apps to secure a licensing agreement. Evan Wray, the co-founder of TextPride, tells TNW:
So rather than deal with all this stuff individually with hundreds or thousands of brands, apps only have to deal with TextPride, and the app can concentrate on creating the amazing experience that its users enjoy.
It’s also worth mentioning that even if brands are approached, they often don’t want to work with individual apps for the reasons mentioned earlier — it’s a lot of time, money and overhead for just one platform, and many apps have never done licensing before so it can turn into a headache for the brand.
The startup has just raised $1 million in seed funding to carry out this middleman role between messaging platforms and brands.
How it works: TextPride first educates brands about the concept and potential of being on a messaging app, then it works with the brand to come up with a licensing agreement. Once that is in place, Textpride will collaborate with the brand and a team of illustrators to create mobile messaging-specific content that match the brand image, such as emoji and stickers.
“Brands enjoy working with us primarily for three reasons –it’s one central touch-point for access to a huge distribution channel (millions of users over our various app partners) and separately, our expertise with licensing and mobile,” Wray tells us.
Textpride has already struck more than 200 licensing agreements with sports and entertainment brands, including Miramax Studios.
Part of Textpride’s $1 million seed funding will go to expanding its domestic and international licensing portfolio, and increasing its platform reach by bringing new app partners on board — even those outside of mobile messaging.
The company declined to reveal its exact messaging partners right now, but Wray tells us the launch will be in the “very near future” and the apps will collectively represent hundreds of millions of users.
As for Asia, the region where messaging services first started expanding in a big way beyond just messaging — Wray says that it is really the “proving ground” for the mobile sticker market.
“We’re bullish on (the) growth of (the) worldwide sticker market and the opportunity for brands to become part of that. This is a trend that has been in its adolescence but is starting to mature specifically in Western cultures, and we see markets around the world mirroring the growth Asia has seen,” Wray says.
As brands start to take note of the rise of messaging platforms, which could possibly form a wave that may sweep social networking sites off their feet, Textpride is well-placed to take advantage of this new way for brands to market themselves by simply being one of the first-movers in this industry.
Headline image via Shutterstock