Harmelin Digital Contributor: Eve Vitale
There’s a new type of bot in town and it’s not the fraudulent one we are used to, it’s the “chatbot”. Chatbots are essentially AI-powered “robots” within a messaging app that can help brands communicate with customers without involving a human. The ultimate goal of a chatbot is to create the illusion that the consumer is dealing, not with computers and corporations, but with another person, a friend he or she can trust.
What this means for marketers: Brands know that to advertise effectively on mobile, they need to reach consumers through the few apps that dominate daily smartphone use. Shockingly, messenger apps are dominating smarphone use. People are actually beginning to use messenger apps more than they are using social networks. Per a recent article on AdAge, WeChat, a messenger app in China, already has more than 10 million official accounts, including banks, hotels and even celebrities that are registered to interact with users through chatbots.
Consumers in general are always exploring and seeking new information – bots will play a critical role in shaping what they encounter, much like search or social media today. If brands focus on chatbot alignments that are relevant and personalized, they will achieve success in a promising new channel that will shape many future consumer decisions. One example is Forkable, a lunch bot that learns people’s tastes and then curates and delivers a different lunch each day. In order to be relevant, Harmelin will continue to monitor the trend of chatbots. The right advertising campaign on such a bot could engage differently with each user based on the rich data history it collects.