Is Messenger marketing the next big thing? Are Messenger bots as needed as they are said to be? The buzz around chatbots is hotter than ever!
There is a chatbot for pretty much anything you can image and ask for! Want a digital personal shopping assistant who can deliver an anniversary gift to your spouse? There’s a bot for that.
Want to break up and can’t handle the feelings or the stress right now? Technology got you covered! Perhaps you want the weather forecast texted to you throughout the day? There’s a bot for that, too.
Users have so many amazing choices to get help from brands on what to select and how to shop much easier. Being a consumer has never been more efficient! And businesses and brands are turning to Facebook Messenger bots, in particular,—attracted by Facebook’s enormous user base—to engage with and service their customers who use the platform.
In fact, more than 100,000 bots chat and help out people through Facebook Messenger every day.
Let’s take a look at what bots actually are, ideas on how to use them efficiently to help your business and marketing goals as well as an example of the most successful bots. Are you ready to dive in?
What is a Messenger Bot?
A bot is like an app, but the interface is a conversation rather than a menu. At least, that was the original intention when bots came onto the scene in 2016.
Chatbots, A.I. platforms that use instant messaging as the application interface, are programmed so that they mimic human conversation. They have pre-programmed interactions that allow users to interact in a (generally) natural way with the A.I.
Who uses bots? Does it fit my business type?
Businesses in the travel, finance, media and entertainment, health, and retail sectors, in particular, have all found success with these pocket-sized personal assistants.
For example, you can open up Facebook Messenger at breakfast and ask your weather bot what’s the weather looks like. Then you can ask your local bot about your bus and when it is planned to arrive at your nearest spot.
Food and Ordering Industry
One of the most common reasons to use a bot is for taking orders. The list of restaurant chains jumping on the social media-ordering bandwagon continues to keep on growing. The first brand that announced a Messenger bot that allows ordering is Pizza Hut in July 2016. The chatbot that was announced was a social ordering platform at which customers will be able to reorder favorite or saved orders from any U.S. location of the restaurant chain by chatting directly with the Pizza Hut accounts on either Twitter or Facebook.
Ok, this may seem like a mainstream bot idea! As it is expected, the Dominos chatbot lets customers browse through the store find products, and then, with a few taps in a Facebook Messenger chatbot, find recipes for an upcoming meal.
What is so special about? How it got released!
Dominos released the bot just in time for the Super Bowl Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the five busiest delivery days of the year for Domino’s in the United States. This year the company expected to sell 12 million pizzas, five times greater than a typical Sunday.
This is not a typical bot that just sends you a recipe. It is much more creative! Customers can select an emoji, like a jalapeno or a banana, and then see recipes that involve those products.
The chatbot lets customers mix and match by typing a word, selecting a cuisine (like Tex Mex), and adding an emoji to the text chat. They can also select keywords and choose recipes for special diets.
This is clearly different from the mass of bots and available assistants!
Traveling and Tourism Industry
Planning a trip? Message a travel bot for flights and hotel recommendations, to rent a car, and more. As easy as that.
More and more travel agencies and companies have begun providing automated customer service on their website or through a messaging platform such as Facebook Messenger to assist with booking of their travel.
Skyscanner has created a really good experience for users to find flights and make bookings. You can send a Facebook Messenger message to Skyscanner, chat with the bot, and it will help you search for flights. In addition to giving you the ability to type a destination, departure airport, and dates to search for flights, it also gives you ideas on the cheapest destinations from your nearest airport.
The bot for Skype offers users the chance to search for flights, either individually or as part of a group, returning live prices and route options within Skype, before providing a link where users can go to complete the booking for their trip.
As David Low, the Head of Bots and Conversational Search of Skyscanner stated back in 2016 “Chatbots offer something truly revolutionary by bringing travel search within the very platforms. Users are already interacting with on a frequent basis.“.
Claire is a virtual travel assistant powered by A.I., created by the startup 30SecondsToFly. Claire is all about business travel. The “bot” side of Claire is a virtual travel assistant who will communicate with travelers, helping them book policy-compliant travel within just minutes. Let your employees configure their own travel assistant. When they book, Claire applies your travel policies and reports analytics to you. Concerned about duty of care? Claire knows where travelers are at all times.
Josh Bocanegra, CEO of PersonaBots, once said that chatbots are a good way to get people excited about a franchise. This is 100% right. People are getting so enthusiastic when they feel that create a personal and direct relationship with a celebrity or a persona.
The following examples demonstrate how cool branded bots can be in this industry!
50 shades of Grey
The Christian Grey chatbot must be one of the most iconic bots. When it first launched, it created such a buzz around the movie, the persona and so many articles were devoted to praise the marketing team of the “50 shades of Grey”.
Fans of the books and the movies went absolutely crazy. This was their chance to talk to Christian, get into a relationship with him, a marriage even! Your conversations with “Christian” will be entertaining and, honestly, feel weirdly realistic.
During the conversation and the flirting, ‘Christian’ would ask you the following:
Watch trailer for the new movie
Buy tickets for the movie at your local cinema
Buy the book
Listen to the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack
Buy games related to the movies and the characters
How do I know these? It’s not a shame; I loved this bot! ?
We met her at the MTV Geordie Shore and people loved her attitude and lifestyle. Now, we can even “talk” to her and interact with her life. We can watch videos, shop at her store, check her Instagram profile and receive exclusive updates about her life or news!
This type of interaction is pretty cool for a fan and creates a sense of relationship and familiarity. Many celebrities, influencers, and bloggers have created their branded bot. Selena Gomez, Martin Garrix, and Lindsay Lohan are only some of the most famous bots online.
Is it easy to create a chatbot?
Yes, you can create a chatbot from scratch with no coding experience required. There are several platforms where you can create a chatbot for your service and manage your bot subscribers and live chat conversations.
Chatbot interactions are segmented into structured and unstructured interactions. As the name suggests, the structured type is more about the logical flow of information, including menus, choices, and forms into account.
This means that you need to set your conversational goals and design the expected dialogs. Based on this you can set the keywords, the answers and get your users where you want them to.
A frequent question from users and brands is “Will chatbots replaces the apps and the phone support call centers? Will it be just a new hype that will eventually fade out?”.
In my opinion, the answer is clearly no.
This not just a hype circle or a hot marketing trend. Bots, AI, and conversational marketing is part of the future.
Users and consumers are more and more demanding and they want to have an as easy and fun experience as possible. As the intelligence of machines is growing and technology give marketers possibilities to be even more creative, chances are there may be a hybrid world of apps, bots and devices.
Dallas has a 12+ year experience in building successful Web Applications. She is also the founder of Appocalypsis. A SAAS platform offering over 275 widget templates which can help companies communicate messages to their visitors, and generate more leads. During her free time, she teaches about Digital Marketing and Conversion Rate Optimization. She loves building prototypes of her ideas after work hours.