By Sakshi Upadhyaya

Twitter’s recent acquisition of ZipDial, a Bangalore based startup founded in 2010 by Valerie Wagoner, along with Sanjay Swamy and Amiya Pathak, has turned heads and left people pondering over a few things. What is ZipDial all about? How are its services different and unique from others? How and why did it attract an investment by a global social networking giant? What does this deal mean for Twitter and ZipDial? Let’s try to answer these questions.

India is a developing country in which most people use a prepaid mobile connection for communication. The notion of missed calls for peer-to-peer, context specific communication is very prevalent here. An example; you reach the house of a friend who has asked you to pick him/her up, you’d notify them by giving them a missed call. Similarly, if you were to notify someone when you reach home safely, you’d send them a missed call. This allows for the message to be conveyed without anybody getting charged for the call. ZipDial has understood the potential of this exceptionally prevalent user behavior in India, and has turned it into a massive intent capturing and marketing analytics platform unlike any other. Advertisers and companies such as Disney and Gillette are provided with a phone number that they float in various media, such as print or television ads. Users then dial these numbers and disconnect, without getting charged to receive specific content or to participate in campaigns, surveys and/or provide feedback. Being toll-free, Internet free, technology and geography independent, it is a very convenient service for users and one that provides them with complete control. This has become the USP of the service offered by this Bangalore based startup. So, if you’d like to be updated on the latest cricket scores, just ZipDial the corresponding phone number, and you’ll receive it in the form of a text message.

ZipDial customers enjoy its services in many ways, like collecting customer feedback and building consumer loyalty by engaging users in various activities.

Gillette uses ZipDial’s services by asking women to answer surveys about whether they prefer ‘a bearded or a clean-shaven face on their man’. Disney channel uses ZipDial to build ongoing consumer loyalty by direct Disney engagement, like “vote for your favorite Disney princess”. Similarly, Greenpeace uses ZipDial to pledge support for various causes such as “stop deforestation and save tigers”.

ZipDial has worked with over 500 brands, providing 1 billion connections with over 60 million users in the multiple markets it operates in. It partnered with Facebook and Twitter even before the latter acquired it. Facebook users can respond to special ad units provided on the website by dialing the number provided. Twitter allows its users to follow Bollywood stars and get their tweets by giving ZipDial a missed call, irrespective of whether they have a data plan or not. Over the last few years, Twitter has seen a massive growth in user activity from India. A huge number of Indians have flocked to an online platform to keep up with news and updates, not just within the country but from around the world.

Twitter sees this as an opportunity to capture the emerging Indian market, and is committed towards driving consumer growth in the country, making its services extraordinarily acceptable. This deal with ZipDial aims towards making Twitter even more accessible for all Indian mobile users. It has been termed as the coming together of two mobile-first companies, which intend to expand together and in turn provide the ultimate user experience to their consumers.

Sakshi Upadhyaya is a pre final year student pursuing mechanical engineering from RKGIT, Ghaziabad. Passionate about sports like badminton and tennis, she is an ardent reader and dreams of building up her personal library. She firmly believes that the pen is the mighty sword that can instigate social reformations.

Edited by Anjini Chandra

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind