Brands are Buying in on Chat Bots - What you Need to Know
Note to brands: if you aren’t paying attention to mobile messaging apps – then you are missing out on the opportunity to engage, influence and connect with nearly two billion people. Activate expects there will be 3.6 billion people using messaging apps by 2018. It’s a no brainer for brands to embrace the space. And they are. And one of the hottest ways they are doing that now is with Chat Bots. Look no further than Facebook F8 Conference taking place this week – where all eyes are on Messenger. Facebook wants to make Messenger a primary way for businesses to connect with consumers. Bots are all over the news. Just check out Fast Company, the New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal. Advertisers, branding agencies, and tech leaders are watching to see how popular Facebook Messenger’s new bot store will be and messaging giant Kik just announced its own bot store, boldly declaring that Chatbots Will Kill Webpages.
And while bots killing webpages may seem a bit dramatic, the way consumers connect with brands is changing. Traditional marketing and brand engagement efforts are failing. Ad Blocking software is becoming more popular – reportedly nearly 10% of US desktops employ the software – and millennials and younger consumers are spending their time on messaging apps like Kik and Viber where traditional ads just aren’t natural and feel obtrusive to the experience. Consumers, and particularly millennial and GenZ consumers expect more. They expect personalized content that is worth sharing with a friend, not a sales pitch that leads them to a form.
A good chat bot will feel native to this sharing environment. It will create the everyday conversations with users that brands have been seeking. For example, a cosmetics company’s bot can share personalized makeup advice and tips designed to match a user’s style. By including – and linking to – products like eyeliner or foundation to help complete the look, the bot can convert a chat user into a paying customer. Bots also provide value and can ease customer frustration. Flight delays or gate changes are annoying to flyers. But a bot that alerts them of a change or problem and can connect them directly to customer service will help ease some of that pain.
So, what do brands need to know about launching chat bots?
It’s simple. To start, know your audience. Kik, for instance, is going to have different value and reach a different demographic than Facebook Messenger or Viber. Next, find a neutral partner (like Swyft) to help you develop a plan and theme that aligns with your campaign goal and KPIs.
You should also ensure that you have the ability to get a real-time glimpse of how campaigns are performing. Real-time analytics are critical to the success of launching a chat bot. You should know what is working and what isn’t, the read rate of the bot messages, the duration of the average conversation with a user, how many people went through the funnel to reach the KPI (clicking a link or making a purchase) and have an understanding of how people felt about the experience (was it positive or negative overall). These are the critical indicators that will help you make your bot better and lead to long term success for your brand.
Bots aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future – they are becoming a critical part of brands’ engagement strategy. Don’t miss out on this big shift in mobile.