th images menu user export search eye clock list list2 arrow-left untitled twitter facebook googleplus instagram cross photos entrep-logo-svg

Hoy!: The social network that can turn you into an influencer

A biz that started in a viewing of Transformers is now transforming fans into ’evangelists’
By Victoria Vizcarra |



Call them what you will—ambassadors, advocates, champions—but these prominent personalities have become a crucial part of contemporary image-building online. What was once the territory of celebrity endorsers and bloggers has now been democratized by Hoy!, a rewards app that splits the difference between social media and brand loyalty.


Its Cebu-based founders, CTO Royce Albert Dy, a Full Stack developer and iOS engineer, and CEO Seph Mayol, describe their innovation as “not just a social network for brands, but also as a social media influencer agency."


It makes evangelists out of everyday supporters: Users get to choose which brand they want to patronize from the app’s rewards list. They then post a selfie featuring one of its products on their Hoy! timeline. Entries, which can be linked to their Facebook account to reach a wider audience, must clear a goal—that is, reach a certain amount of likes from their fellow Hoy! users and Facebook friends. “If your post gets the exposure that the campaign requires, you get a real reward from that brand," explains Mayol, who is also its design and strategy head.



Instant gratification, a powerful motivator, is what drives the app. Its user base doesn't grind to earn points or badges, they're treated to tangible perks such as freebies and discounts. Naturally, the redeemable prizes are sponsored by the brands themselves—a clever marketing move in itself. “If you are not [part of] its market or customer, you might be converted to one. And if you already [are], you’ll have this sense of loyalty to the brand,” he adds.


The idea hit Mayol during a viewing of Transformers, a film that didn't shy away from product placement in between CGI-laden action scenes: "I asked myself, 'What if there’s a camera in front of us, in all of our daily activities, just like actors in movies? How many brands do you think you could show to your audience?'” The Philippines has held steadfast to its reputation as the selfie capital of the world; Filipinos online were already vocal about their brands of choice. Hoy! quickly capitalized on an existing, if not thriving, trend.


The app, available on iOS and Android, has already amassed thousands of users. To ward off trolls and fake accounts, Hoy! has developed its own facial recognition technology: it checks your face against all its verified users, followed by a live user verification to guarantee the legitimacy of your submitted face photo.




Success hinged on finding merchants who believed in their concept, so the founders had to be hands-on in pitching the startup; to that end, Mayol spent months flying back and forth between Cebu and Manila to secure partnerships. Since its formal launch in July, Hoy! has already recruited over 40 big-name brands, local and international alike, across various industries to participate—these include the likes of AirAsia, Grab, Globe, Smart, Giordano and Pancake House. "By aggregating a wide variety of brands that cater to different markets at different age groups, Hoy! provides a one-stop app for our users," he says, drawing parallels between the app and the ecosystem of a commercial mall, where a variety of businesses benefit from a shared space.


Plans are underway to introduce two new selfie campaigns for its merchants that are tailored to their marketing preference, be it submissions-based or likes-based. A video selfie campaign will also be launched within the year, which Mayol hopes will give their influencers more room for creativity. "We want Hoy! to be an add-on tool to your daily activities, an app that you could use whenever and wherever you are," he explains. "It is an enjoyable way and better alternative to create brand or product awareness to the public."






Victoria Vizcarra is a freelance writer who covers business, technology and lifestyle. A regular contributor for Cosmopolitan and FHM magazines, she is also the former features editor of Entrepreneur Philippines magazine.



Latest Articles

Afraid the New Tax Law will Jack Up Car Prices? Maybe Not, If You’re Buying the Really Expensive Models

Cars currently costing Php2 million or more may see future prices fall, says an economics policy...

byPauline Macaraeg | December 18, 2017 13:00:00

Liza Soberano Opens A Wellness Center Focusing on Hands and Feet

The actress helped develop the pampering services herself

byNicole Arcano for | December 18, 2017 10:00:00

What You Need to Know About PH’s Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Startups

Who are the main players, what do they do and who is regulating them?

byLorenzo Kyle Subido | December 18, 2017 10:00:00

How to Make the Most of This Holiday's Party Season Without Screwing Things Up

First off, don't think of parties as networking opportunities. That's right. No networking

byDavid Olk | December 18, 2017 08:00:00

Your Business Rises and Falls on Customer Experience

Focus on the customer, not your own needs

byShaun Buck | December 18, 2017 06:00:00

Thinking of a Career in Marketing? Here are 7 Tips

These simple tips will help jumpstart your marketing skills

byAsh Read | December 18, 2017 02:00:00

Housewife Builds PH’s First Mobile Salon That’s Franchising for Php5.2M Each

Extraordinail’s Luxury On Wheels is ideal for people who have no time to visit a salon for their...

byJanaeka Sam Navalta | December 17, 2017 09:00:00

9 New Year's Resolutions for Small Business Success

It's a good time to reflect on your business' progress and plan how you want to grow it in the new...

byKimberly De Silva | December 17, 2017 08:00:00

5 Business Lessons From Taylor Swift

Get inspired by the pop star, who controls her image while selling millions of records

byNina Zipkin | December 17, 2017 06:00:00

15 Unexpected Things That Are Stealing Your Sleep

From the moon to your marital status, here are some zzz's disruptors

byNina Zipkin | December 17, 2017 02:00:00

LinkedIn Reveals What Job Skills You Need to Survive in 2018

If you've assumed that digital skills are just for IT people, think again

byAngelica Gutierrez for | December 17, 2017 00:00:00

How This Angkas Driver Coped With Loss of Php1.5K Daily Income After Shutdown

About 15,000 Angkas drivers displaced since LTFRB halted operations of the ride-hailing company

byElyssa Christine Lopez | December 16, 2017 10:00:00