Whether it’s helping you organise your everyday life, providing top-line medical advice or helping you choose that perfect shirt and tie combo – Chat bots have never been hotter.
Apple, Google and Microsoft are just a few of the big players that have jumped in on the action and bots are finding homes in your iPhone, on Twitter, Slack, Skype and Office 365 (just to give you the tip of the tip of the iceberg!). But right now, only one channel matters…. Facebook Messenger.
The use of messaging apps has eclipsed the use of social, the use of mobile has eclipsed the use of desktop and the use of Facebook Messenger is eclipsing pretty much everything. And with with 1 billion unique global users and 52% coverage of the UK population (rising to 70% by 2020), Facebook Messenger reigns supreme in a crowded market that includes WhatsApp, Kik and other huge platforms.
It’s time for brands to wake up and get real about Messenger, and bots are ready to step in and make the connection between your business and this huge, previously untapped user base.
Is the technology ‘good’ enough yet?
To make it a worthwhile investment? Definitely… The chat bot hype stems from a collision of two huge elements; The rapid adoption of messaging apps and the accessibility of artificial intelligence and natural language processing.
Natural language programming, the part of a bot that allows it to ‘talk’ to humans, has had a lot of coverage. Most of it justified. But quality AI is extremely complex, and early examples of it’s just aren’t as good as first imagined. Things will get better, but the promise of great leaps forward over the next 12-18 months mean lots of marketers are sitting on their hands and waiting for bots to get smarter before they jump in.
This is a huge missed opportunity. Bots don’t have to be smart to provide massive value to business! And there is no better platform to dip your toe than Facebook Messenger.
On 8th November, Messenger released the third version of its API since its launch in April, and it’s feature set sends a clear message of how your business should be engaging customers in this space.
There are three key take homes:
- We can now create and track specific links into bots, knowing exactly where users are coming from and navigate them into specific flows with in the bot.
- New list templates. Bots can now present replies and products in a wider variety of ways including direct CTAs. It’s a richer more visual experience.
- Check box plugin. Users of your site can now check a box to opt-in to updates via Messenger creating a competitive rival to SMS and Email.
And the biggest new feature? – ADS!
All Facebook advertisers have the ability to reach people in News Feed to drive them to Messenger, but now everything we’ve been waiting for is finally here: Sponsored Messaging.
In a nutshell, we now have the ability to target users who have an open dialogue with the brand directly in Messenger, breaking down the walls of an enormous, previously untouchable audience pool. Putting Facebook way ahead of Google in conversational commerce.
With such a bright future for chatbots in Messenger, and such limited activity at present it seems as though brands are still figuring out where it fits into their marketing plans. But rest assured, the big bang is coming – We’d sooner you didn’t miss out!
Want to know more about Chat Bots? Download our White Paper here.