The relationship between brands and consumers is likely to become much deeper in future, thanks to the rise of the chatbot.
Digital advertising is facing huge constraints as people install ad blockers, about 1 in 5 of British internet users are thought to have them now according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. This trend threatens to undermine the business model of online publishers as brands find digital advertising doesn’t connect them to consumers any more. So brands are trying to connect with them using more relevant and personalised content – that forges deeper and longer lasting relationships. They believe chatbots and messaging apps might provide the answer. Already brands are moving away from social media broadcasting to direct and bespoke communication via apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype and so on.
Research quoted by CIM notes that most people use just three apps for 80% of the time. And messaging apps are amongst the most popular. And at the same time, consumers are simply not using individual brands’ own apps and social media pages in the way the brands had hoped.
So it looks like, in future, marketers will need to develop content and services within these popular messaging apps to relate to consumers directly with personalised offers and an individual experience. The chatbot will be the enabler.
At the 2016 Facebook conference in April, Mark Zuckerberg announced the integration of chatbot technology into Facebook Messenger. Explaining his desire for the consumer to “be able to message a business in the same way you message a friend”, he proposed a new step forward for conversational commerce.
Part of a longer article in Catalyst magazine, July 2016