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As companies dip their toes into the messaging opportunity, chatbots are emerging as a particularly compelling piece of technology. Here are the four critical ways chatbots are transforming marketing and how businesses can capitalize on the current conversational trend.

1. Engagement beyond clicks: In traditional online advertising, we call a click of an ad or play of a video “engagement”. Engagement with a chatbot, on the other hand, is an active conversation with a user.

Disney created the Officer Judy Hopps bot on Facebook Messenger to tease their audience and drum up excitement prior to the movie’s release. Instead of passively watching a movie trailer, users joined Judy on a detective hunt and experienced her interactive story first-hand.

Engagement was astronomical — users spent more than 10 minutes on average talking to the character and many users restarted the conversation to replay a different scenario.

Conversation and rapport building is significantly more effective than a simple ad or video view. The interaction leaves users with an entertaining experience, a better understanding of the brand, and a positive emotional feeling — takeaways rarely achieved with traditional ads.

2. Insights directly from users: Users converse directly with chatbots just like they do with their family and friends. In this highly personal and conversational setting, chatbots can ask questions too intrusive to be in traditional ads. Questions such as:

  • “Where do you live?”
  • “What music do like?”
  • “Where’s your dream travel destination?”
  • “What do you think of the latest Geico commercial?”

Questions that are awkward or annoying coming from a brand are socially acceptable and even welcome in chatbot interactions.

Businesses can remember and refer to personal information in future conversations to further customize a user’s experiences.

  • Victoria’s Secret PINK bot recommends specific styles of bras based on answers to an initial questionnaire.
  • Wingstop’s bot suggests new spicy offers to hot spice fanatics.

In practice, brands must strike a responsible balance between personalization and privacy.

3. Maximum opportunities for personalization: Ads have become more targeted over time. Brands are always seeking ways to appeal to users personally, whether through programmatic display ads, retargeting, or direct mail.

With chatbots, brands can personalize a conversation to the individual. Sephora’s chatbot on Kik shares beauty tips with teenagers. The bot first inquires what users are interested in learning about: eyes, skin, hair, nails, etc. — and only suggests relevant products, beauty tips, and tutorials. The Hello Hipmunk bot on Skype works with group chats. Travelers can plan trips with friends and family without ever having to leave the chat room.

4. Bring a brand personality to life: Brand identity is usually pushed to users in a single direction — banner ad, videos, billboards, etc. A branded chatbot on the other hand, becomes a “live entity” that can infuse personality into conversations.

  • Disney’s Miss Piggy bot is funny and sassy while.
  • Universal Studio’s Laura Barns Unfriended bot is angsty and foul-mouthed.
  • The TMY.GRL bot from Tommy Hilfiger allows fashionistas to access exclusive behind-the-scenes fashion content.

With a chatbot, a company can show, rather than tell, their brand story to their audience.

Traditional ads are “pushed” upon an unwilling or apathetic viewer, while chatbots “pull” users to engage with them. Strategically implemented and well-designed chatbots can tell your brand story, re-engage audiences, facilitate commerce, and grow your business.


Talk to us about using Chatbots for your Business…

At Engage, it’s our mission to make sure your business treats your customers as individuals to engage each and every one, so you win them over faster and keep them for longer. 

With over 30 years in the business, our services have evolved alongside the needs of our clients, including some of the world’s most successful brands across the financial services, utilities, telecoms, retail and logistics sectors. We understand the challenges you face – from data silos to legacy systems and have built intelligent, intuitive and effective solutions that work for you.

Our commitment to excellence has helped us build a reputation as the leading global provider of data-driven consumer engagement and customer retention solutions. At a time when brand loyalty is at an all-time low, our data orchestration technology delivers the kind of experiences your customers have now come to expect. So, you can always keep them engaged and happy.