‘Kik’ this Proverbial Tire

tlittle    June 17, 2015


Organization Name: Kik Interactive Inc.

Industry: Mobile Messaging App

Name of Contacts: Heather Galt, Head of Marketing and Privacy
and Paul Gray, Director, Platform Services

Web References: Kik Website, Kik LinkedIn, PromotedChats LinkedIn, Kik Twitter, Kik Facebook, Kik blog, NBC article, bot article, CTV clip, 570 News, Wikipedia, Sound Cloud, Funny Or Die,



“Kik Me” – This may have been a prank message stuck to your back in the days of yore. Now it is a universally friendly salutation proving this ‘tire’ is rolling.  Kik Interactive released Kik Messenger on Oct. 19, 2010. Within 15 days, Kik Messenger reached one million registered users and Twitter was credited as the catalyst for its popularity according to Wikipedia. Earlier this year CTV highlighted Kik’s ongoing success.

More intimate than traditional social media channels, Kik gives customers the opportunity to go beyond simple broadcast messages and engage in one-on-one conversations with their followers, in real time and at scale. The more organizations team up with Kik, the more product development ensues – both for Kik and its customers.

Kik has built tools to help developers optimize their web sites for mobile and for Kik. Kik also offers brands the chance to reach and engage with its primarily young audience to help them with their product research and development. At the same time Kik is able to refine its product of the messaging experience using its own and more traditional social media channels – Kik uses Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, YouTube and a blog.

Paul Gray, Kik’s Director of Platform Services explains,

“We’re always thinking about how we can help our partners create great experiences for Kik users. We work closely with them to understand their social engagement strategies and how Kik’s messaging platform can help them deliver on this.”

In July 2014, Kik introduced Promoted Chats and since then approximately 15 million users have chatted with ‘bots’ exchanging more than 350 million messages. More than 75 brands now have a Promoted Chat account on Kik, including major broadcasters, such as NBC. In fact Kik has a LinkedIn page dedicated to Promoted Chats as well as its corporate LinkedIn page.

Spotify and Funny Or Die have been delivering customized playlists and hilarious videos to fans who can tell them what they like right there in the chat. Another one of Kik’s customers, Burger King, takes advantage of bot conversations to conduct research on its latest offering of chicken fries. Hollywood movies such as Insidious 3 have also used Promoted Chats to reach teen audiences on Kik using a unique product innovation that has users “chatting” with the main character of the movie. To further promote this movie Kik developed ‘Insidious’ smilies. These were then highlighted on Kik’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

insidioussmilies _ Twitter

Always open to feedback from their users, via social media, Heather Galt, Kik’s Head of Marketing and Privacy says,

“We have recently introduced some of our most-requested features (increased group size, more chat bubble colours, and video sharing inside Kik) and have had really positive feedback on those features from our users.”

This is evidenced on Kik’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

bubblecolorreserch _ Twitter

Kik uses Vine to educate users on latest features which is important as new ones are released every three weeks.

The Kik blog has always given the inside scoop on Kik features, but keeping abreast of the changing audience in January the blog posted:

“… recently we’ve noticed that in addition to our users, reporters, brands, and recruits are starting to come to our blog to get the latest company news, Kik data, and information about our team. So we’re going to start adding some new content that might be interesting for everyone – not just users.”

It’s worth noting that Kik offers non-profit organizations a platform for reaching young audiences and their endeavours are further publicized on Kik’s social media channels such as Facebook.

FB do something

Kik also remains true to its users by sponsoring events such as this year’s Hack-a-thon in January which enables the company to stay current with today’s young adults. Listen to this 570 News audio clip for more details.

Beyond using social media for product innovation, Heather says,

“For Kik, social media remains a really important element of our marketing mix. It crosses the boundaries between consumer marketing, B2B marketing and PR, so it’s an ongoing challenge to figure out the right mix of content and the right voice to use in our different social channels.” 

And there is a wide range. Teens and young adults today may be jamming to fun songs celebrating cell phones such as this one by Fadda Moses:

Meanwhile customers understand that the smartphone era is as transformative as the rise of the PC and this new era, along with emerging social media channels, is increasingly allowing for superior and faster product innovation than ever before.

Lesson for Others:

As the first smartphone messenger with a built-in browser, Kik Messenger lets users talk to friends, as well as browse and share any web site. This innovation also enables customers and brands to build and interact with audiences; share videos, photos, web content, apps and drive measurable action and product development. The real-time chats on Kik and other social media really increase the speed at which product innovation can happen. Ideas from users and customers can be heard, vetted and tried on social media with immediate feedback which can then be incorporated to further improve products and customer experiences.

Submitted By: Toby Little, SMBP student

To contact the author of this entry please email at: williams286@rogers.com

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