The chatbot trend has officially started. If you are following the mobile messaging industry in any way, you have undoubtedly heard of them.
In this article, I want to talk about the impact messaging applications and chatbots will have on marketing - both from a companies' and consumers' point of view.
Should businesses invest in this new trend? Are their customers ready to interact with them? How can we expect the marketing landscape to adapt over the next few years?
Messaging applications for business - engaging the conversation
For the last year and a half, messaging application usage has grown at a steady pace. There are now more people using messaging applications than social media.
It is no wonder the guys over at the Facebook IQ, the social media giant's research centre, have carried out a massive study to try and figure out the consumers' messaging application usage and expectations.
They surveyed 12,500 individuals across five continents. The results are clear: consumers want to talk to businesses via messaging applications.
Two interesting stats came from this report.
The first, 67% of consumers expect to message more with businesses over the next two years. Source: Facebook Insights.
The second, 53% of consumers said they are more likely to shop with a business they can contact using a messaging application. Source: Facebook Insights
Should businesses invest in messaging applications, and, to some degree, chatbots? It seems the answer is a resounding yes. Not only are consumers expecting to talk to businesses more in the future, but they are also more likely to spend money with the businesses they can communicate with.
Availability and chatbots
Consumers want to speak to your business via messaging applications. Being available on messaging applications increases your revenue. Sounds like a win-win.
What is the place of chatbots in all this?
Another recent study showed that 51.6% of consumers believe a business should respond to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Source: 2016 mobile messaging report.
Being present on messaging applications seems like a must-do for companies. In fact, the same study showed that 63.9% of consumers want businesses to be available and contactable via messaging applications. Source: 2016 mobile messaging report.
To be present via these channels 24 hours a day 7 days a week is just impossible for most businesses. This is where chatbots can help.
A simple chatbot could, for instance, help with basic requests such as: What time does your shop open? Do you have this product in stock? What is your address?
By coupling a chatbot with a mobile messaging strategy, companies can ensure they are available at all times through the channels their customers use and love.
The conversational marketing future is upon us
Chris Messina, Uber Developer & the inventor of the Hashtag, will be a keynote speaker at Apps World London
Now, in September 2016, we can see how right Mr Messina was. Although it may have taken a little more time than he initially thought, we are indeed entering a new era of marketing.
Influenced by the growth in mobile messaging and new chatbot technology, this era is likely to change the way we experience marketing.
As a consumer, we are starting to interact with brands through mobile messaging applications. In the last month, I have communicated with over ten different companies and brands using Facebook Messenger. From asking questions to a local restaurant to getting the latest content from TechCrunch via their chatbot.
As marketers, we are starting to realise the potential messaging applications have. Being available through these channels improves customer experience, increases revenue, and reduces costs of acquisition.
Combine the benefits of using messaging applications with the expectations consumers have, and we see this new conversational marketing era is only just getting started.
By Alex Debecker,
Alex Debecker is founder and CGO of www.ubisend.com, the first ubiquitous mobile
messaging platform that allows you to send messaging across different mobile messaging applications all from one centralized account.