Emogi, a tech company that creates visual content for messaging apps, is rebranding to Holler and announcing an integration with dating app Badoo.
The partnership will bring Holler's animated visuals into the hands of Badoo's 431 million global users.
In a pilot test, Badoo found users were engaging more with one another when they had access to Holler's content in their chat keyboards, sending more stickers and responses. Each day, 350 million messages are sent across Badoo's community.
“Conversations with visuals last longer than conversations without,” Travis Montaque, CEO of Holler, told Publishers Daily.
Earlier this year, Emogi brought in Sarah Aitken as CMO. The company found it was “the right time to take a fresh look at our brand and make it better align with our expanded vision,” Montaque stated.
The team at Holler is made up of digital animators, technologists, media
industry veterans and a millennial CEO. The company tackles conversations
-- it is difficult to communicate via text, as the environment is ripe for misunderstandings. Adding visual content adds context, tone and personality to conversations, Montaque said.
Holler is built on its contextual recommendation technology, an AI that suggests relevant visuals while a user is messaging in real-time. A user can type: "Want to grab coffee?" and animations around coffee will pop up to choose from.
The tech works in nearly 50 languages, Montaque said, thanks to a team of computational linguists and data scientists.
And it's working: across a number of partner platforms, Holler delivers 170 million content recommendations each day. That's up from 20 million at the beginning of this year.
Holler's business is based on its custom content creation for brands, which it offers at scale from its integration with other platforms and apps. Its in-house content studio creates visuals for brands like Snickers, Ikea, and Ben and Jerry's.
Gary Arora, global LaunchPad lead at Mars Inc, noted that its first Snickers campaign with Holler garnered 42 million views and converted 61,000 brand advocates across the platform -- meaning thousands of people chose to use Snickers-branded stickers on Holler in real-time.
Holler claims users are using its branded content more than its organic recommendations.
Other companies that provide GIFs and visual content to users are built around search, Montaque said, while Holler is built around its contextual recommendation technology. Its stickers are original IP, produced by a creative team led by head of studio Pat Giles, who was the creative lead for characters like Lucky the Leprechaun, the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Trix Rabbit.
Instead of needing to search for an animation to respond to a message, Holler's contextual recommendation AI “can solve people's problems in communication and messaging,” Montaque said.
That works for platforms Holler is integrated with, such as Match Group's Plenty of Fish dating app, Kika, Chroma and now Badoo. However, users on iMessage have to search for stickers.
Holler provides “tools to our users to better express who they are and form relationships through our product… Words can only say so much," said Dominic Gallello, CMO of Badoo.
Holler has a global network that works to tag content to ensure content recommendations are sensitive to the different dating cultures around the world.
Badoo hopes to gather data on which stickers are popular on the platform, and to inform users which stickers get the highest response rate.
Recommending content millions of times a day brings into question user privacy. But Montaque says the team runs algorithms to ensure conversations are not sent to the Holler team and servers do not save data.
The AI runs on a user's phone, in order to make recommendations in real-time, on average of 10 milliseconds.