Chat bots have got to be one of the most hyped and breathlessly discussed marketing topics of 2017. To the point that we have lost focus on what actually the consumer wants. So, what is the truth about what would compel a real consumer to invite a brand into an ongoing chat with them? To refocus the conversation away from the technology and back to the consumer, we have conducted new research (in conjunction with Suresh Sood at the UTS Advanced Analytics Institute) to identify consumers’ needs when it comes to interacting with chat based forms of AI.
First of all – why are chat bots important? Who cares?
Well most marketers should care, think about the implications of our recently released research into messaging app use in Australia: today 11.8 million Australians use messaging apps on a monthly basis, an 11% increase since 2016. The average Australian uses a messaging app daily and runs about 5 conversations with someone at any point in time. We send and receive on average 15 times a day across these conversations. 78% of us leave on the notifications for our message app, helping make it one of the stickiest communications channels in a generation.
Importantly our growing love of messaging app conversations come at a price, decreasing our attention across other forms of communication. For example, messaging app users who have an increasing frequency of use in the last 12 months (57% of all users) have decreased use of email (down 46%), phone (down 41%) and traditional social media apps (down 35%).
In short, things are changing. Significantly.
The point is that we have fundamentally reinvented how we talk to each other in the last couple of years, into an encrypted invitation only highly personal messaging channel where the consumer is in control. The dumb paid interruption techniques we typically deploy don’t work on a messaging app, we need to work a bit harder.
This is why experimenting with new engagement models is important to get right. To date some have been highly successful, for example our chat bot on Facebook Messenger for Foxtel delivered 2.65 million chat interactions with viewers of their #1 prison drama Wentworth. But some examples we have seen have been poorly thought through ‘marketing fashion accessories' with little or no reason for the consumer to start chatting.
In order to help Australian marketers better understand what chat bots’ consumers want to engage with, we have researched and ranked the top styles of chat bots.
You will see a common theme across all of the top 5:
• They all have high levels of utility 'baked in' where real tangible value is delivered to the user
• They all require different silos in a company to collaborate: marketing, operations, service
• They all have great 'conversations' interfaces, fit for chat purpose, simple, chatty, fun and respectful.
We measured chat bot appeal across a wide range use cases like news, shopping, restaurant reservations, travel, gaming and payments. 82% of Australians cannot explain what a chat bot is so we created video prototypes of the various chat bot experiences. This allowed consumers to really understand what a chat bot can do.
Here are the top 5 use cases and which age cohort fits them from most appealing to least appealing...
In total, we identified some 5.2 million Australians find the top use cases highly appealing and Generation Y (aged 20-34) are consistently most enthusiastic about the top use cases, whereas Baby Boomers (aged 55+) are least excited by these chat bots.
It is clear there is an appetite with Australian consumers for chat bots, but all too often Australian marketers are too conservative, too comfortable with the status quo to experiment. Our extraordinary migration to messaging apps should act as a catalyst for change, but all too often we are dead to the real world of consumer habits.
On Message is Australia’s leading specialist chat bot strategy and developer. Over the last 12 months On Message have developed chat bots for brands like ING Direct, Children’s Panadol, Facebook, Fujitsu and Foxtel.
The team have developed its own proprietary chat bot ‘Conversation Platform’ to allow the best possible conversation engagement between brands and consumers. For the last year two years On Message have also published the most in depth study of messaging app use in Australia, which is used to inform better thinking for our clients. On Message were also finalist in the Best Emerging Agency in the 2016 B&T Awards.
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