Not all bots are created equal - AI vs. Scripted Chat Bots
Evan Wray, co-founder and VP of Swyft Media, wrote Brands and Bots – what you need to know for Fourth Source. Below is an excerpt from that article. Read the full piece on Fourth Source. For the last month, everywhere you turn in the tech space someone is talking about chat bots. But why are they so hot right now? Hasn't automated chat has been around for at least a decade or more? True, bots aren’t necessarily new as a technology concept, however the bots we know today are much more sophisticated than they were just a couple of years ago. With the use of mobile messaging applications continuing to surge, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in new ways, and in the place they spend the most time.
Bots put a brand in the middle of one of the world’s largest conversations – the mobile messaging space.
However, not all chat bots are created equal. There are two very distinctly different kind of bots in the market today: Artificial Intelligence (AI) or natural language bots (like Microsoft Tay) and scripted bots which is what most brands are testing out today on major platforms like Kik. AI, while a sophisticated technology, poses a number of risks when it comes to tricking the system – which we saw with Tay. The information going in impacts the information that comes back out, which can sometimes be unexpected or unflattering. There’s no doubt that AI bots will become smarter and more effective the longer they’re in market, but the most effective way for brands to test the bot waters today is through scripted bots.
Scripted chat bots will soon become an integral part of brands’ mobile engagement strategies.
Much like the way that many jumped on the branded emoji phenomenon last year – chat bots offer brands an extension of that method of marketing by making it easy, natural, and fun for the consumer to engage with without feeling like it’s an advertisement or marketing.
Think of the scripted bot as a guided conversation. For instance, Sephora (a popular makeup retailer in the U.S.) has a successful bot on Kik. Today, the bot engages users with a number of questions about makeup preferences and serves up content and offers relevant to the responses. While it doesn’t sound like a highly sophisticated process – the more the consumer engages with the bot over time, the smarter the bot (and the brand) get about consumer preferences and the better it can serve personalized content and offers. The most important part is that the brand is front and center to the consumer and engaging them with interesting and useful content – hopefully driving them through the sales conversion process.