In early April, Facebook announced the arrival of automated bots on Messenger and it wasn’t too long until bots ranging industries like media, airlines, ecommerce, healthcare and entertainment have started to flourish.
As a Facebook Marketing Partner since 2010, we at KRDS have witnessed many evolutions on the Facebook landscape but this is by far the most significant development since the platform was opened to third party developers in 2007. The announcement calls for a review of the newest bots on the block seizing this opportunity.
Here’s a look at a selection of five best bots per industry and how brands can take this opportunity to leverage their business further.
A bot is an easy and efficient way for media to share their content on Messenger. Aside from being able to push content in a more ‘direct’ and ‘intimate’ manner than with a newsletter, bots allow a better insight into user behavior and expectation by request tracking.
Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that prominent media publications like CNN or the Wall Street Journal have already launched bots on Messenger. A detailed review of these bots, revealed our personal favourite the tech specialist, TechCrunch. With its interactive menu and clear visuals, this bot emerges far superior to other bots in this category.
To go further, the key advantage to user interactions on bots is the ability for it to include feedback from the user. This is quite different from a user browsing the website as it does not provide a rich and immersive experience. News can be tailor-made for the end user by collecting real time information which eliminates the news that the user may not be interested in.
With virtual doctors available at the click of a button, websites like Health.Com, WebMD and Healthline are able to answer your health related questions. Now, thanks to bots you can also interact with this virtual doctor in real time. No need for any appointments! The HeathTap bot does exactly that.
In addition to answering questions, the bot offers keyword recognition so you can browse through similar questions asked by other users, previously answered by health practitioners. If the user needs further clarifications, the bot routes your chat to an actual medical expert.
To go further, while at this stage, the solution may not offer much value as compared to a simple online search, it is likely that surveys with a tree structure will be built to allow the bot to recommend an appropriate doctor. The fact remains that bots are not an accurate replacement for your doctor but they have the potential to become a life coach urging users to quit smoking or assist them on their diet.
Users expect swift responses and feedback on queries, especially when they are on the go. Bots provide the ability to instantly access a boarding pass, being made aware of delays or gate changes in time which makes it an efficient method of communication with passengers.
With Uber, KLM is one of the pioneers to launch its bot on Messenger to make the passenger’s travel experience enjoyable. With Expedia announcing a future launch, one can expect more travel agencies, airlines and private transport companies to join the bandwagon by creating bots in the travel industry.
To go further, while at present, the services offered by KLM on Messenger are Postbooking; it won’t be long before the service is open to perform reservations. This is already the case for China Southern Airlines on WeChat. Soon, users will be able to check the transport availability, prices and also pay, modify and check loyalty programs directly on the Messenger.
Entertainment: Sequel Stories
A few months ago, Disney launched Miss Piggy on Messenger replying to fans and answering in her unique style that cannot be mistaken for another
Beyond creating virtual identities for brands, bots open the opportunity to create games and interactive stories. With Sequel Stories for example, you can now interact with a virtual pop star or witch to build a genuine story of your own.
To go further, bots provide the capability to deliver an infinite number of genuine content matching each user’s needs and expectations. During a concert, a bot may send users backstage pictures or videos, or even the next song lyrics, at your own demand. In the same way, bots will enable users to discover how a product is built in a more interactive way based on user’s preferences.
If you have followed the F8, this example won’t surprise you, as it is the one used by Mark Zuckerberg to illustrate the e-commerce capabilities of the platform. Today, many companies (Burger King, Ebay, or Zalando) have made an announcement on their future bot launches on Messenger. However, it is always a challenge to ensure a smooth and intuitive buying experience on a new channel. We can already guess that the most innovative brands in term of user experience will have an edge over their competitors in the Messenger space.
To go further, for ecommerce companies, controlling and accessing user data will be key to be able to push customised and targeted offers based on each user interests. Social CRM challenges will be at the heart of e-vendors who wish to get back in touch with their clients with tailor made offers.
To conclude, the launch of a new communication channel on a pretty ‘crowded’ platform such as Facebook Messenger is a significant challenge for a brand. This opportunity can deceive the user if the process is not mastered. Today with over 900 million users, Messenger cannot be ignored by brands, and they will need the support of experts of this Facebook platform to engage their communities with interactive services, content and offers in line with their expectations.