tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/messaging Latest Messaging content from Econsultancy 2017-05-16T10:00:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68929 2017-05-16T10:00:00+01:00 2017-05-16T10:00:00+01:00 Digital crisis comms: How TfL's social media team copes with Tube strikes Nikki Gilliland <p>So spare a thought for Transport for London’s social media team, who see their daily tally of 2,500 Twitter mentions increase by a whopping 2,000% on a strike day.</p> <p>I recently spoke with TfL’s social media and content lead, Steven Gutierrez, to find out about the network’s approach to crisis communications, specifically when it comes to dealing with strikes. Here’s a summary of what he said, as well as a bit of further insight into the topic in general.</p> <h3>Multiple lines of communication</h3> <p>The <a href="http://managementhelp.org/blogs/crisis-management/2015/02/07/crisis-stats-you-should-remember/" target="_blank">OMD Group suggests</a> that just 54% of companies have a crisis plan in place. Unsurprisingly, it’s a necessity rather than an option for transport networks, with TfL taking steps to ensure there are multiple lines of communication open in the event of any planned or unplanned events.</p> <p>In total, TfL has 21 Twitter accounts, including individual accounts for Tube lines, rail lines, as well as dedicated channels for customer service such as <a href="https://twitter.com/TfLTravelAlerts" target="_blank">@TfLTravelAlerts</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/TfLBusAlerts" target="_blank">@TfLBusAlerts</a>. </p> <p>Despite offering multiple ways for users to check the status of the network, however, Steven suggests that manpower is still pretty limited. </p> <p>TfL’s First Contact team is made up of just a few members of staff – an amount that stays roughly the same during strike days. Similarly, each bus or rail line is manned by one or two people, meaning that there are usually around half a dozen people dealing with a huge volume of queries. </p> <h3>Broadcasting info and prioritising mentions</h3> <p>So, just how does TfL cope with the 2,000% increase in mentions when there’s a strike?</p> <p>With such a massive influx, it’s impossible for the team to reply to questions individually. In order to cover all bases, TfL broadcasts an overview of information to followers via its social channels and links to the website with is kepy up to date with live information, with the aim of reaching customers before they feel the need to reach out to the network.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4966/TFL_mentions.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="244"></p> <p><em>TfL's brand mentions on Twitter</em></p> <p>While TfL might not answer every question, impressively every single mention is still checked by an agent. To streamline the process TfL’s social team uses a tool called CX Social, which is also used by O2 and McDonald’s.</p> <p>According to Steven: “It makes it possible to handle many accounts, collaborate and triage messages to the most relevant team. I don’t think we’re limited by any tech our teams are well equipped.”</p> <p>Of course, not only does this give the team insight into what kind of information customers are actively seeking out, but it also means TfL is privy to people’s anger and frustration, too.</p> <p>That being said, Steven suggests that the majority of feedback is based on customers needing information, meaning a relatively small amount is actually abusive. “Increasingly customers thank the social media team because I think some realise how hard it is to work through a strike!”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4967/Sentiment.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="304"></p> <p><em>Sentiment analysis of TfL brand mentions on Twitter</em></p> <p>Perhaps TfL’s commitment to communication is part of the reason why. In contrast, you’ve only got to look at an example like Southern Rail, which has come under fire for an inconsistent and incompetent approach to crisis communications.</p> <p>Even after it received complaints for a lack of visible compassion, Southern Rail angered commuters even further with its misjudged call to ‘strike back’ at RMT.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/SouthernRailUK">@SouthernRailUK</a> When people waited three hours at Brighton last night, was that because of strikes?</p> — Cr O'Grizimov (@Mr_Ogrizovic) <a href="https://twitter.com/Mr_Ogrizovic/status/782841247706873856">October 3, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Reversing the message</h3> <p>As well as using broadcasts to pre-empt and stem the flow of incoming customer queries, TfL’s strategy for strike days is to reverse its working message. In other words, instead of telling customers what Tube lines are not working, it tries to tell them what ones are still running instead.</p> <p>Alongside this, it typically stops or reschedules any promotional campaigns in order to allow more pressing news to cut through.</p> <p>Together, this approach is effective for instilling trust and encouraging a positive mood, with TfL promoting the fact that it is working hard to help the customer – not pushing its own agenda.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">A possible Tube strike will significantly affect services from Sun eve to Wed morning. Stay up to date here: <a href="https://t.co/9bQz35k9Xa">https://t.co/9bQz35k9Xa</a> <a href="https://t.co/DOKNlcdR0B">pic.twitter.com/DOKNlcdR0B</a></p> — TfL Travel Alerts (@TfLTravelAlerts) <a href="https://twitter.com/TfLTravelAlerts/status/827486881415839744">3 February 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>According to Steven, a strike isn’t necessarily the most stressful event that a transport network like TfL can encounter. With storms, flooding or snow having a massive impact on the running of Tube lines, winter is typically the most demanding season.</p> <p>Meanwhile, with unforeseen accidents often harder to deal with than planned strikes (such as the helicopter that crashed in Vauxhall a few years ago), the team is essentially on constant standby throughout the entire year.</p> <p>In order to deal with an unplanned event, TfL has a defined process in place:</p> <ul> <li>One of the first steps is usually an acknowledgement of the issue.</li> <li>The next step is to coordinate a response based on verified information.</li> <li>At the same time all unnecessary activity (promotions, advertising, etc) is stopped</li> <li>TfL’s main accounts including @TfL and the TfL Facebook will lead on news and customer service accounts like individual Tube lines will broadcast service updates.</li> <li>TfL’s website will usually carry a dedicated webpage with more detailed travel advice and the Press Office will provide updates to the media.</li> <li>TfL continues providing updates from all relevant accounts and update the website regularly until things go back to normal.</li> </ul> <h3>Maintaining a genuine tone of voice</h3> <p>During busy or stressful times, rushed responses could potentially mean <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand/" target="_blank">brand tone of voice</a> goes out of the window.</p> <p>However, Steven emphasises that the network strives to maintain a genuine and friendly tone no matter what, with staff encouraged to be genuine and express themselves.</p> <p>He says that it helps that the majority of social media agents are part of the company's wider contact centre, meaning they also deal with calls, emails and letters as well as social media platforms. In turn, this encourages them to maintain a natural-sounding and friendly tone regardless of the channel.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Good afternoon all, Mark and Tariq are here to help. <a href="https://t.co/JfJ3ETqwIX">pic.twitter.com/JfJ3ETqwIX</a></p> — TfL Travel Alerts (@TfLTravelAlerts) <a href="https://twitter.com/TfLTravelAlerts/status/833702140300378117">20 February 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>While TfL clearly prioritises one-to-one human interaction, that doesn't mean it dismisses automation in all senses. Alongside automated ‘welcome’ messages on both Twitter and Facebook, TfL recently partnered with Twitter to offer a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68636-pizza-express-channel-4-and-tfl-three-examples-of-brand-chatbots/" target="_blank">chatbot ‘status checker</a>' that users can interact with via direct messages.</p> <p>Interestingly, Steven hints that it's not the only bot in the works. “We are developing chatbot experiences on other platforms... and our editors are working on the script to ensure it has a friendly tone of voice throughout.”</p> <p>However, TfL is likely to rely on its distinctly human approach a fair few more times in the future at least.</p> <p><strong><em>Now read:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68876-how-tfl-s-community-managers-engage-with-london-s-cyclists/" target="_blank">How TfL’s community managers engage with London’s cyclists</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69046 2017-05-08T01:00:00+01:00 2017-05-08T01:00:00+01:00 Has WeChat beaten Facebook to the enterprise? Jeff Rajeck <p>Facebook aims to change this with its new service, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/workplace">Workplace by Facebook</a>, which launched in October 2016. The new social network aims to provide companies with a way for its staff to collaborate and form tighter social ties with fellow employees. To see where this all might be headed, it's worthwhile to have a look at what is happening in China. The ultra-popular Chinese messaging platform, <strong>WeChat, has become as much of workplace tool as a social network to many in the country</strong>.</p> <p>One section of an <a href="https://www.chinatechinsights.com/report/21370582.html">April 2017 report</a> by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) focused on how important WeChat has become in the enterprise and how Chinese office workers are using it.</p> <h3>The survey</h3> <p>For the report, CAICT surveyed more than 1,000 WeChat users and 9,000 business account managers using WeChat's integrated survey tool (<a href="http://re.qq.com/">Penguin Intelligence</a>) in March 2017.</p> <p>Here are a few of the findings which offer insights into the future of messaging and the workplace.</p> <h3>1) WeChat is massive in China</h3> <p>For those unfamiliar with the platform, simple usage stats will give you some idea of the scale of the platform. WeChat has 890m monthly active users as of Q4 2016, 28% more than it had Q4 2015. This means that <strong>WeChat will likely hit a billion monthly active users at some point this year.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5799/1.png" alt="" width="800" height="234"></p> <p>While it's unknown how many of those users are outside of China (as there are only an estimated 731m Chinese internet users) it is likely that <strong>nearly everyone on the internet in China is on WeChat.</strong></p> <h3>2) New WeChat contacts are largely work-related</h3> <p>While the percentage of WeChat users with over 200 contacts (43%) has never been higher, interestingly <strong>it seems that people are adding fewer people every month.</strong></p> <p>Of those that are being added, though, <strong>more than half (57%) say that their new contacts are mostly work-related.</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5800/2.png" alt="" width="800" height="426"></strong></p> <p>For those at management level the percentage is even higher (74%) indicating that <strong>WeChat-at-work is a phenomenon that is affecting all levels of the enterprise.</strong></p> <h3>3) Almost all WeChat users use it for work</h3> <p>When asked about which work-related actions users had accomplished through WeChat, <strong>fewer than 20% of WeChat users said that they don't work on WeChat at all. </strong>Additionally, more than half (58%) said that they use the platform daily for work-related communications.</p> <p>This figure is backed up, anecdotally, by the FT which <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/a7f851a2-1118-11e6-91da-096d89bd2173">reported last year</a> that "at almost every Chinese workplace, WeChat has become the primary means of communication."</p> <h3>4) More people use WeChat for daily work than email, phones, or any other messaging service</h3> <p>Probably the most surprising finding is that <strong>WeChat is more commonly used as a 'major communication tool' than telephone, SMS, or email.</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5802/4.png" alt="" width="800" height="218"></strong></p> <p>Nearly 90% of respondents use WeChat for daily work, demonstrating that the platform has now reached a tipping point and will likely remain dominant.</p> <p>To capitalize on that trend, WeChat launched a 'Slack-like' <a href="https://medium.com/startup-life-in-china/enterprise-wechat-is-not-wechat-enterprise-right-83c18c55ef6a">Enterprise WeChat</a> recently, though there is some skepticism that the platform will be successful – or that it is even necessary.</p> <p>Marketers should still take note of the ubiquity of WeChat at work as reaching a desirable office worker consumer base requires having a presence on WeChat. For more on how to use WeChat for marketing, please refer to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-china-digital-report">Econsultancy's China Digital Report</a>.</p> <h3>5) Enterprise users use WeChat to coordinate tasks and send out notifications</h3> <p>So how exactly do people work on WeChat? As nearly everyone is on the platform, <strong>WeChat is used largely to coordinate tasks and send out notifications</strong>, similar to how office workers worldwide use WhatsApp.</p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5801/3.png" alt="" width="800" height="478"></strong></p> <p>Interestingly, though, a significant number also use WeChat for transactions (38%) and transferring files (33%) which indicate that <strong>the next stage for messaging apps is to become part of the daily workflow, in direct competition with email and websites.</strong></p> <h3>6) Business owners use WeChat for making transactions</h3> <p>For individual proprietors, conducting transactions on the platform has become even more important. <strong>Half of all small business owners surveyed use WeChat for commerce</strong>, more than even use it for coordination or notifications.</p> <p>This is one example of how WeChat differs from its Western counterparts. Facebook only launched payments via messenger in April 2016 and a payments feature was only added to chatbots in September. While Facebook is arguably launching into a larger base, it has a lot of catching up to do in this area.</p> <h3>7) Many join large groups for corporate internal communications</h3> <p>Another interesting new behaviour is that <strong>office workers join large (100+) chat groups in order to keep up on corporate internal communications.</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5803/5.png" alt="" width="800" height="216"></strong></p> <p>While in the West company announcements are made via email, in China it seems 40% of respondents report that <strong>companies and large teams use WeChat for large scale notifications.</strong></p> <p>Also interesting to note is that<strong> over one in three (34%) use WeChat as a way to network professionally,</strong> which may explain LinkedIn's struggle to match its success elsewhere.</p> <h3>8) Most Chinese office workers find WeChat 'helpful'</h3> <p>Finally, respondents were asked to comment on whether they found WeChat helpful for work. Interestingly, only around one in four (24%) indicated that it was a place to get 'high quality information' and only slightly more (35%) said that it was good way of managing office work from their mobile.</p> <p><strong>But more than four in five (81%) said that WeChat 'offers a useful communication tool' for work</strong>, meaning that nearly all of the 90% who use WeChat regularly for work find value in the platform.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5804/6.png" alt="" width="800" height="234"></p> <p>This is another indicator of the strength that WeChat has in Chinese companies and, perhaps, is the most telling sign that we should expect the same in the West in the future.</p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>While China lagged the West in online services for many years, it now appears that they are the leading in many areas. With nearly the whole country on a single platform with integrated payments, <strong>China is now pulling ahead by adopting new online behaviours that, until recently, were not even possible in the West.</strong></p> <p>This was initially apparent in how consumers were using the internet, but <strong>it is now true in the enterprise as well.</strong></p> <p>And though it's not likely that Western companies will follow China exactly, marketers should be aware that messaging apps have the potential to displace the communication mediums which may seem to be with us permanently – namely the telephone, email, and even the web.</p> <p>For those who conduct business in China or want to know more about the digital landscape there, we encourage you to download the <a href="https://www.chinatechinsights.com/report/21370582.html">original CAICT report </a>and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-china-digital-report">Econsultancy's China Digital Report</a> as well.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69041 2017-04-27T15:16:00+01:00 2017-04-27T15:16:00+01:00 Social commerce: Why basic bots and buy buttons are not enough Nikki Gilliland <p>It seems that despite mobile commerce rising in popularity – and with one in four users trying to purchase a product on social last year – many brands have struggled to find the right balance between social media and ecommerce. </p> <p>In fact, a recent survey suggests that <a href="http://uk.businessinsider.com/buy-buttons-fail-to-show-return-on-investment-2016-12?r=US&amp;IR=T" target="_blank">45% of adults have no current interest</a> in clicking on a 'buy now' button, while a further quarter don’t even know the technology exists. Meanwhile, many brands are scaling back on chatbots after Facebook reported a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68868-facebook-scales-back-on-chatbots-what-does-it-mean-for-brands/" target="_blank">failure rate</a> of 70%.</p> <p>So, how can brands make social commerce appealing to users, as well as ensure the process is seamless across channels? </p> <p>This was a question asked at a recent event held by We Are Social, where a number of brands spoke about their previous experience and what they think will be the key to success. Here are a few takeaways.</p> <h3>Most buy buttons do not mirror the user mind-set</h3> <p>While it’s true that users are increasingly turning to social media for shopping inspiration, many brands are failing to realise how big the leap to buying on social actually is. Currently, the reality of social commerce is often very different to the user’s expectations. </p> <p>Caroline Lucas-Garner, strategy director at We Are Social, explained how most experiences involve clicking on a link in a social bio. This then means being taken from the cosy bubble of Instagram to an interim landing page, before finally onto the main ecommerce site itself.</p> <p>That’s a lot of disruption when you think about it, which could naturally lead to users abandoning the journey, or worse – being put off the brand as a result. </p> <p>Similarly, Caroline suggested that buy buttons on other platforms can be akin to a pushy sales assistant, which when you’re simply having a leisurely browse (or scroll), can feel frustratingly intrusive.</p> <h3>Brands in your Messenger inbox feel unnatural </h3> <p>Chatbots are of course another big part of social commerce – we’ve seen many examples of branded bots created for customer service or to drive conversions.</p> <p>But do users really feel that comfortable allowing them into this space? It's an odd notion to see a message from a brand alongside your nearest and dearest.</p> <p>Dominos is one brand that has tried to get around this by creating a character specifically to front its chatbot. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68184-domino-s-introduces-dom-the-pizza-bot-for-facebook-messenger/" target="_blank">Dom the Pizza Bot</a> has his own unique set of characteristics, designed to urge people to speak to it like they would a friend. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5752/Dom_the_pizza_bot.JPG" alt="" width="658" height="309"></p> <p>Another way to make users feel more comfortable interacting with brands in this context is to establish boundaries early on – even making it clear that a bot has limitations. </p> <p>Sam Poullain, senior growth marketing manager at Skyscanner, explained how his team made the decision to include a ‘talk to a human’ option in its chatbot to point users towards an alternative or next step. This way, it was able to prevent people from abandoning their journey, giving users an option to talk to a real employee instead.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5753/Skyscanner.JPG" alt="" width="740" height="323"></p> <p>For more on this topic, read:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">What are chatbots and why should marketers care?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68932-how-we-built-our-facebook-chatbot-what-does-it-do-and-what-s-the-point/">How we built our Facebook chatbot: What does it do, and what's the point?</a></li> </ul> <h3>Brand messaging <em>can</em> drive conversion</h3> <p>For ASOS, a brand that has seen growth of 84% on mobile orders year-on-year – social commerce feels like a natural evolution. It is clear that its target customer is highly engaged on social, with those aged 16-14 particularly overlooking search engines for discovery platforms like Instagram and Facebook.  </p> <p>Morgan Fitzsimons, ASOS’s acting head of content and broadcast, explained how the brand is now taking a three-tiered approach to targeting these kinds of customers – choosing to focus on the top of the funnel to ensure the bottom doesn’t have to work so hard. In other words, this means focusing on the brand messaging – not just the buy button.</p> <p>Its recent campaign for jeans is a prime example of this, using a combination of organic and paid promotion as well as dynamic product ads. An initial video tells the story of the brand but doesn’t include any further links. It instead introduces hints of the shopping experience in retargeted ads, before delivering blatant buying options in the final push. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fasos.us%2Fvideos%2F1540714015970588%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Morgan also admitted that it’s taken a while for ASOS to get to this stage, with previous campaigns on Snapchat failing to follow up with those who first engaged.  </p> <p>Ultimately, she reiterated that success in social commerce lies in continually testing. Only then will brands understand how customers will best respond in this new and unique context. </p> <p><em><strong>Relating reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67778-made-com-on-the-value-of-social-commerce/" target="_blank">MADE.COM on the value of social commerce</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67306-is-pinterest-or-instagram-better-for-driving-ecommerce/" target="_blank">Is Pinterest or Instagram better for driving ecommerce?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69008 2017-04-20T01:01:00+01:00 2017-04-20T01:01:00+01:00 Which channels do marketers really use? Jeff Rajeck <p>Part of what makes marketing interesting is that the discipline is constantly evolving. Hardly a week goes by without some major change to a consumer service or a new way to use a platform to engage with our audiences.</p> <p>Yet sometimes the pace of change can be overwhelming. It's often difficult to both keep up with the latest innovations and stay on top of daily marketing tasks.</p> <p>To find out just how necessary it is for marketers to be familiar with the latest platforms, <strong>we surveyed over 200 marketers in Australia and New Zealand about the channels they use for their marketing efforts</strong>. Below are some of the surprising findings along with some commentary.</p> <p>For more data from the survey please refer to the Econsultancy report, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/cross-channel-marketing-in-australia-and-new-zealand">Cross-Channel Marketing in ANZ</a>, produced in association with IBM Marketing Cloud.</p> <h3>1. Conventional digital channels still rule</h3> <p>First off, the survey results make it clear that <strong>marketers are most frequently using familiar digital touchpoints for their marketing efforts</strong>. Social media, email, and SEO (natural search) are all used by more than eight in ten marketers (87%, 87%, 81% respectively).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5487/top__5_channels.png" alt="" width="800" height="514"></p> <p>One reason these channels are the most popular is because <strong>companies tend to use channels which are well-understood and easy to integrate into overall marketing activity.</strong></p> <p>The conventional channels are also where the brands' customers are spending their time.   </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Email</strong>: According to the <a href="http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Email-Statistics-Report-2015-2019-Executive-Summary.pdf">Radicati group</a>, more than 2.5bn people use email every month.  </li> <li> <strong>Social</strong>: The largest global social network, Facebook, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/01/technology/facebook-earnings/">is now approaching 2bn monthly active users (MAUs)</a>.</li> <li> <strong>Search</strong>: Google has announced that its search platform has <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/1/10889492/gmail-1-billion-google-alphabet">at least 1bn MAUs</a>.</li> </ul> <p>When the usage of these platforms is compared to, say, Snapchat, we can easily see why marketers are so much more likely to use them.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5486/1.png" alt="" width="800" height="371"></p> <h3>2. Offline touchpoints are still relied upon by many brands</h3> <p>A somewhat surprising result from the survey is that <strong>offline touchpoints are still a significant part of the marketing mix.</strong> While point-of-sale and call centres are only used by around one in three companies (34% and 31% respectively), traditional media and events are used by significantly more (47%, 71% respectively).</p> <p>The popularity of offline touchpoints makes a bit more sense when data from <a href="https://www.consumerbarometer.com">recent research from Google</a> is considered.</p> <p>Google recently surveyed consumers in Australia and New Zealand and reported that only <strong>just over half of consumers (58% Australia, 53% New Zealand) used an online channel to research or purchase a product.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5489/google1.png" alt="" width="800" height="348"></p> <p>So to reach customers where they are likely to research their products and buy them, marketers must still operate offline to a significant extent.</p> <h3>3. Mobile is not as popular as you might think</h3> <p>Another interesting survey result is that mobile touchpoints are less popular in Australia and New Zealand than offline channels.</p> <p>Though the mobile web is used by nearly half (49%) of client-side respondents, mobile messaging, mobile apps, messaging apps and mobile push notifications are each only part of less than one in four companies' marketing efforts (23%, 22%, 10%, 7%, respectively).</p> <p>This apparent lack of enthusiasm for mobile is even more confusing considering the relatively high penetration of smartphones in the region. More than <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/257041/smartphone-user-penetration-in-australia/">80% in Australia</a> and <a href="http://www.researchnz.com/pdf/special%20reports/research%20new%20zealand%20special%20report%20-%20use%20of%20smartphones.pdf">70%  in New Zealand</a> use mobile devices with internet connectivity.</p> <p>But going back to Google's Consumer Barometer data offers a reasonable explanation. When asked where in the buying cycle did people use a smartphone, <strong>fewer than 50% use a smartphone for anything at all in the buying cycle and only around 10% use a smartphone for buying.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5490/google2.png" alt="" width="800" height="185"></p> <p>So while there is a lot of advice out there about how brands should 'embrace' mobile and aim to be 'mobile-first', <strong>i</strong><strong>t seems that consumers are not quite there yet with mobile. </strong></p> <h3>4. Messaging apps hardly appear on brands' radars</h3> <p>From our data, it seems that the biggest chasm between conventional wisdom and reality concerns messaging apps. If you read the tech press, you'd be forgiven for thinking that messaging apps dominated our culture and each change to these apps affects millions of lives. Marketers, one might think, should be flocking to them in droves.</p> <p>While there is some chance that this is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68429-six-things-marketers-should-know-about-social-media-in-asia-pacific/">true in China</a>, <strong>marketers in Australia and New Zealand indicated that messaging apps are not popular channels for marketing in the region.</strong> A mere 10% of client-side marketers use messaging apps and only 15% of agency marketers said the same.</p> <p>From other data, it's clear that the problem with messaging apps isn't consumer interest. <a href="http://www.onmsg.com.au/">According to messaging app agency On Message</a>, Australia will have over 11m messaging app users in 2017 and messaging apps are the primary form of contact for more than half (54%) of 15-19 year olds in the country.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5491/On_Message.png" alt="" width="800" height="234"></p> <p>Instead, it is much more likely that <strong>messaging apps are still simply too difficult to use for marketing.</strong> Besides some basic self-service ads on Facebook Messenger, engaging with messaging users requires dedicated resource to build contact lists, 'man' the consumer outreach or customer service desk, and build bots to handle incoming traffic.</p> <p>This is not to say that marketing via messaging apps will never happen, but rather that it is likely that it will be some time before most brands have to worry about engaging their customers on these platforms.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68964 2017-04-11T01:00:00+01:00 2017-04-11T01:00:00+01:00 Does Snapchat matter in Asia? Jeff Rajeck <p>While most smartphone users in the region had certainly heard of Snapchat <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63836-is-snapchat-right-for-your-brand/">because of its 'sexting' past</a>, few people talk about the platform and even fewer brands are using it for marketing. In fact, according to a report from April of last year, Snapchat ad units such as sponsored stories, lenses and geofilters <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/snapchat-what-asian-marketers-need-know-jonathan-rudd">weren't even available in Asia</a>.  </p> <p>Before totally discounting the app, though, we must remember that such things were said about every social network which has subsequently been successful in the region. First it was laughable that it would ever gain traction in Asia and then suddenly it becomes the dominant social network in multiple Asian countries, often displacing local competitors.</p> <p>So despite the apparent lack of interest now, should Asian marketers consider Snapchat as the next big thing?<strong>  </strong>While it's not possible to give a definitive response to that question, the short answer is 'probably not', for a few key reasons.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5221/spectacles.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="319"></p> <p><em>Snap recently released hardware demonstrating that the company had a maverick streak which might allow it to beat Facebook at its own game, but the app has not seen widespread adoption in Asia.</em></p> <h4>The existing Snapchat user base in Asia is very small</h4> <p>First off, Snapchat has not been able to leverage its popularity in the West to 'break into' Asia and so, relatively speaking, usage of the network is quite low across the region.</p> <p>While many companies report Snapchat penetration based on surveys, usage numbers vary widely across reports.  GlobalWebIndex recently reported that <a href="https://www.globalwebindex.net/blog/over-75-percent-of-teens-in-uk-on-snapchat">Snapchat was used by more than 80% of teens in Singapore</a>, but that overall penetration in both countries remained in single digits.</p> <p>More recently, Kantar TNF claimed that Snapchat usage had nearly doubled in the region between 2014 and 2016 (8% to 15%) and that nearly half (46%) of Hong Kong's internet users are now on the platform.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5224/snap2016.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="261"></p> <p>While these numbers seem impressive, these usage figures appear to be based on downloads and not on active users. Snap itself reports Daily Active Users (DAUs) as its main growth metric as any other usage frequency besides daily is rather meaningless for a chat application.</p> <p>Statista reports that there are now <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/552671/snapchat-app-dau-region/">39 million Snapchat DAUs</a> in the 'Rest of the World' outside North America and Europe, but even if all of those users were all in Asia that would indicate that only around 2% of Asian internet users use Snapchat regularly.</p> <h4>Snapchat does not seem to be growing in the region</h4> <p>Additionally, there are few indicators of growth. The Statista DAU number did grow 50% between Q4 2015 and Q4 2016 (24m to 39m), but even at that rate it would be 2020 before the platform hit 10% penetration in the region.</p> <p>App Annie, which shows the popularity of various apps by country according to number of downloads, also indicates that Snapchat is struggling in the region.</p> <p>Whereas Facebook and Instagram consistently appear in the top 25 of app downloads in Hong Kong and Singapore, Snapchat is currently hovering around #33 in Singapore and #57 in Hong Kong. In Japan, where Instagram is the 14th most popular, Snapchat is not even in the top 100.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5225/snapdownload.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="596"></p> <p>While download popularity cannot be directly mapped to growth trajectory, it would seem that if Snapchat were about to enjoy explosive growth in the region it would be outperforming other social media apps in this area.</p> <h4>Snapchat's average revenue per user (ARPU) outside of N. America and Europe is very low</h4> <p>Another key growth metric which was revealed in the IPO filing was the average revenue per user (ARPU) on the platform. ARPU is significant as it shows whether brands value the platform enough to pay to advertise on it.</p> <p>Again, Snap did not provide Asia-specific data, but it did break out 'Rest of World' from Europe and North America.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5226/snap-arpu.png" alt="" width="847" height="377"></p> <p>Here we see that in Q4 2016, Snap reported a measly $0.15 of revenue per non-US/European user. Compare this with Facebook who, just prior to IPO in 2012, was receiving around $0.50 per user in Asia Pacific. And more recently (Q4 2016), Facebook reported income of $2.07 per user in Asia-Pacific.</p> <p>By this measure, Snapchat is underperforming Facebook significantly in Asia and so it seems that brands are not yet investing in the platform outside of Europe and North America.</p> <h4>Competition is already nipping at Snapchat's heels in Asia</h4> <p>Finally, Snapchat is being ruthlessly copied both by existing competitors at home and by new ones in Asia.</p> <p>Facebook's has been <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68946-what-the-commodification-of-snapchat-stories-means-for-marketers/">regularly adopting Snapchat features</a> in its core product as well as in Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. This has already slowed Snapchat's growth in North America <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/02/slowchat/">by more than 80% in 2016.</a></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5227/snapchat-instagram-growth.png" alt="" width="738" height="386"></p> <p>Less covered, however, is that in a new market which is unfamiliar with Snapchat, such as Asia, users will be even less likely to be interested in the originator (Snapchat) and be more likely to stick with the familiar platforms which offer the same features (Facebook / Instagram).</p> <p>Snapchat also faces competition in Asia from a Korean startup, Snow.</p> <p>Snow is basically a feature-for-feature clone of Snapchat, but it offers lenses and filters which are more culturally relevant in Asia than Snapchat's. Because of its regional focus, Snow has quickly grown to around 50 million active users (January 2017) and was most recently valued at over $200 million.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7661/snapchat2.jpg" alt="" width="665" height="604"></p> <p>That valuation is a far cry from Snap's current market cap ($26 billion), but Snow doesn't need to match Snapchat in market value in order to significantly slow its predecessor's progress in the region. Snow simply has to fulfill the same niche as Snapchat and, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/02/technology/snow-asia-snapchat-rival/">by all accounts</a>, it is doing that very well.</p> <h4>So...</h4> <p>So will Snapchat take over Asia - or will its global takeover plans hit a brick wall in the region? It's hard to say and betting against a US social media company is a gamble few would take.</p> <p>Yet, it's hard to see how Snapchat is going to enter a market where it is starting from such a low base and already faces significant competition.</p> <p>Snap, the parent company, didn't just raise over $3 billion to sit on its hands though, and so, against all odds, we are surely about to see the app's familiar white ghost try to take over Asia very soon.</p> <h4><em>More APAC content:</em></h4> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68971-does-airbnb-stand-a-chance-in-china/">Does Airbnb stand a chance in China?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68934 2017-04-03T14:11:00+01:00 2017-04-03T14:11:00+01:00 How chatbots and AI might impact the B2C financial services industry Alasdair Graham <p>Because of this, a significant proportion of FS businesses may not have felt the need to invest in digital. This is also potentially exacerbated by the fact that their competitors and cohorts are also lagging in terms of digital. Research by Econsultancy and Adobe shows that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-trends-in-the-financial-services-and-insurance-sector-2016/">9% of FS businesses claim to be digital-first</a>, compared to 11% across all sectors.</p> <p>As younger, digitally native clients begin moving into the market for financial services at both a consumer level and professional level, becoming ‘digital first’ is now imperative for the financial services industry.</p> <p>In addition to the changing workforce and consumer landscape, the FCA also launched the <a href="https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-advice-market-review-famr?field_fcasf_sector=unset&amp;field_fcasf_page_category=unset">Financial Advice Market Review</a> in late 2015 which aimed to review and explore ways in which financial institutions can take actions to:</p> <ul> <li>Provide affordable advice to consumers.</li> <li>Improve and increase access to advice.</li> <li>Address industry concerns relating to future liabilities and redress without watering down levels of consumer protection.</li> </ul> <p>With these goals in mind, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-in-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/">AI</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots/">chatbots</a> and digital tick a range of boxes, particularly under the “affordability” and “accessibility” criteria.</p> <p>Like some systems that consumers may be familiar with, such as virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana or Amazon’s Echo platform, chatbots are essentially pieces of software that simulate human, natural language conversations and can respond to and act upon queries and commands from users.</p> <p>The advantage these systems have over a ‘real’ conversation with a human is that they are able to extract and analyse a user’s needs and intent and ultimately return the information a user has requested or perform actions for them faster, at any time of day or night, more accurately and at significantly lower cost than a human counterpart.</p> <p>This new AI technology has been taken note of by financial institutions on a global scale, with 80% viewing them as an opportunity.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5222/bots_opportunity.png" alt="" width="565" height="402"></p> <p><em>Image Source: <a href="https://thefinancialbrand.com/63596/financial-banking-bots-chatbot-voice-ai/">The Financial Brand</a></em></p> <h3>Bots are viewed as an opportunity by the financial services sector</h3> <p>As with most emerging technologies, smaller, agile fintech startups have been quick to adopt chatbot technology out of both necessity and choice. This mitigates the issue of expensive traditional customer service interactions and ultimately benefits the end users through savings and improved customer experiences.</p> <p>UK startup <a href="https://www.habito.com/">Habito</a> built the world’s first AI mortgage advice chatbot which queries applicant’s financial status, asking questions covering an applicant’s salary, personal life and employment.</p> <p>After this 10-15 minute ‘chat’ the bot then collates all the data given and queries hundreds of products, as opposed to the handful that a human advisor would be able to query, and in a fraction of the time.</p> <p>In line with the FCA’s ‘financial advice market review’ this results in a far less stressful process for the consumer, free of having to schedule and attend appointments within office hours, paying a premium for advice, or interacting with a potentially biased party.</p> <p>According to Habito's CEO and founder Daniel Hegarty: "Our digital mortgage adviser is a huge step forward in making mortgage advice accessible for consumers in the way they need it most: unbiased, always available and, most importantly, free.”</p> <p>Ultimately, this move to fully automated, impartial chatbot-based advice could result in consumers saving thousands of pounds per year.</p> <p>The benefits of this type of technology are clear with many people choosing to apply and research mortgages online through these types of systems rather than spending the extra time and potentially cash on a human mortgage broker that may not necessarily have the best deals available. These systems could potentially pave the way to a fully automated mortgage approval, further removing the potential for human error and bias from the process.</p> <p>American bank Capital One also launched a chatbot called ‘Eno’.  Eno is able to interpret text-based conversational queries and commands alongside emojis.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jvyHcjZoGJk?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>This includes the ability to check balances and pay off credit cards, while cash transfers are also in the works. Additionally for customers with Amazon Echo, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68791-should-financial-services-brands-follow-capital-one-on-to-amazon-echo/">Capital One has also built out a ‘skill’ that allows for voice commands</a>.</p> <p>The benefits of this are clear from both sides – consumers get what is equivalent to an ‘always on’ personal assistant at the bank that can perform actions for them without having to interact with cumbersome apps or websites and convoluted log-in processes for basic requests.</p> <h3>Percentage of FI's that believe bots will take over many of today's customer conversations</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5223/percentage_of_fis.png" alt="" width="565" height="362"></p> <p><em>Image Source: <a href="https://thefinancialbrand.com/63596/financial-banking-bots-chatbot-voice-ai/">The Financial Brand</a></em></p> <p>At the business side, Capital One stand to make significant savings in terms of time and manpower as users transition from face-to-face and telephone queries to simply asking Eno.</p> <p>Given the abundance of data available to financial services firms and the often methodical, process-driven nature of consumer financial advice, chatbots seem like an easy decision for most consumer-facing financial services companies.</p> <p>The fact that mobile is now a huge factor in financial services and particularly banking is also a huge opportunity for chatbots and AI. Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile given that messaging is arguably one of the most used features on smartphones.  </p> <p>Not to mention that financial service chatbots could easily be integrated into applications that billions of consumers already have and are using daily such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. This removes a significant barrier to entry in that consumers don’t have to download another app or alter their existing mobile behaviour patterns.</p> <p>With the above in mind, businesses within the financial services industry will only truly realise the advantages of AI and chatbots if it is implemented as part of a well-considered, omnichannel strategy.</p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68934-how-chatbots-and-ai-might-impact-the-b2c-financial-services-industry/"><em>How chatbots and AI might impact the B2C financial services industry</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/financial-services-and-insurance-internet-statistics-compendium/"><em>Financial Services and Insurance Internet Statistics Compendium</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68932-how-we-built-our-facebook-chatbot-what-does-it-do-and-what-s-the-point/"><em>How we built our Facebook chatbot: What does it do, and what's the point?</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68954 2017-03-31T13:25:00+01:00 2017-03-31T13:25:00+01:00 10 mesmerising digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>If that’s not enough, head on over to the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for more.</p> <h3>Video advertising outperforms desktop display</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">A report released by Integral Ad Science has revealed that video advertising outperformed desktop display for the first time. </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Compared to the first half of 2016, video viewability showed significant improvement in the second half of the year, increasing from 40% to 58.2%. Meanwhile, the completion rate in view increased from 26.7% to 35.1%.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Video brand risk also improved, decreasing from 11.2% to 8.9%. That being said, with the advent of fake news, brand safety remains a critical issue for advertisers, highlighting the need for a solution to protect brand reputations.</p> <h3>One in nine online visits were made to news and media sites in 2016</h3> <p>Hitwise suggests that there’s been a shift in the British public’s media consumption, predicted to be due to the impact of today’s political landscape. </p> <p>Data shows that, as well as consuming more news across broader sources, people are now beginning to question the validity of news providers and changing their preferences of media titles as a result. One in nine visits online were made to news and media sites in 2016 compared to 1 in 10 visits in 2015.</p> <p>Articles focusing on Trump and Brexit accounted for five out of the top 10 read articles in January and February 2017. Meanwhile, in the month before and after Trump’s inauguration, left-leaning newspapers such as the Guardian and The Independent gained readers from traditional tabloids, such as The Sun, Express and Daily Mail.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5157/Hitwise_1.png" alt="" width="510" height="464"></p> <h3>Consumers increasingly favouring mobile loyalty programs</h3> <p>The 2017 <a href="http://www.vibes.com/resources/2017-uk-mobile-consumer-report/" target="_blank">Mobile Consumer Report</a> from Vibes highlights a link between digital loyalty programs and greater consumer loyalty.</p> <p>Research shows that 70% of consumers would have a more positive opinion of a brand if it allowed them to save a loyalty card in their smartphone. Over one-third of people are said to store information from brands in a mobile wallet such as Apple Wallet and Android Pay.</p> <p>83% of smartphone users also say that receiving surprise rewards, exclusive content and special birthday or anniversary messaging would have a positive impact on their brand loyalty overall.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5161/Mobile_Consumer_report.jpg" alt="" width="763" height="756"></p> <h3>Mobile consumers in emerging markets are more intolerant of bad user experiences</h3> <p>A new report by <a href="http://wearefetch.com/cms/content/media/2015/12/Fetch-Global-Mobile-Consumer-Survey.pdf" target="_blank">Fetch</a> suggests that brands should consider shifting their mobile advertising focus to emerging markets, as levels of engagement rapidly increase.</p> <p>According to research, 31% of users in emerging markets define themselves as mobile-first, compared to 15% in Europe and 18% in North America.</p> <p>Similarly, where 66% of European consumers claim to access social media every hour, this rises to 72% amongst emerging markets.</p> <p>Lastly, mobile-first consumers in emerging markets are more intolerant of bad <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/user-experience-and-interaction-design-for-mobile-and-web/">mobile web experiences</a>, with 84% saying they would leave a mobile website if it loaded slowly, compared to 69% in Europe and 75% in North America.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5160/Fetch_mobile_consumer.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="280"></p> <h3>62% of consumers will stick to premium if prices rise post-Brexit</h3> <p>New findings from Centre for Retail Research and Rakuten Marketing suggest that consumers have differing views of how the referendum result will affect prices in the UK.</p> <p>A survey of 1000 consumers across the UK found that, over the next six months, 37% of people are sure they will be better off, while 40% think they will be worse off.</p> <p>Regardless, the survey also found that shoppers will not stop purchasing premium products if prices have to rise as a result of Brexit. If faced with a price increase of up to 10%, only 6% of Brits claim they would refuse to buy the item, while 62% would buy the premium brand anyway.</p> <p>There does seem to be a tipping point, however, with a 15% price increase expected to make 21% of shoppers switch to a cheaper brand.</p> <h3>UK companies unprepared for business pitching</h3> <p>Research from <a href="http://buffalo7.co.uk/uk-companies-are-not-prepared-for-pitching/" target="_blank">Buffalo7</a> has found that the majority of UK companies are not properly prepared to win new business pitches.</p> <p>From a survey of industry professionals, 61% of respondents said their companies did not employ any staff with slide-deck design expertise. In contrast, 60% wished their companies did have such expertise in-house, with 62% believing it would help their companies to win more pitches. </p> <p>Despite this recognition, a whopping 75% of respondents said that that their companies do not provide any formal training for delivering pitches.</p> <p>Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey also found that 76% of companies have pitched for business in the last 12 months, but that 54% are losing half or more of the pitches they contest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5159/Buffalo7.jpg" alt="" width="721" height="458"></p> <h3>YouTube is number one for consumer positivity</h3> <p>According to a new study from Trinity McQueen, YouTube tops the list of media brands that people feel the most positively about.</p> <p>In a survey of ‘unbound consumers’ - people who reject scheduled media for on-demand services -  21% cited that they feel positively about YouTube, followed by 20% feeling positive towards the BBC and 16% about Netflix. </p> <p>New content appears to be a key factor in a media brand’s popularity, with 46% of unbound audiences most likely to believe YouTube always has new content, while 35% saying the same about the BBC.</p> <p>Lastly, 41% of unbound audiences feel that Facebook offers the most personalised experience, while 41% thinks YouTube offers the best overall online experience.</p> <h3>Car brands see Instagram follower growth of 20% in two months</h3> <p>A new study by <a href="https://www.quintly.com/blog/2017/03/the-10-most-liked-uk-brands-on-instagram/" target="_blank">Quintly</a> has revealed that five out of the top ten most-liked UK brands on Instagram are car manufacturers. </p> <p>What’s more, they all had a follower growth of at least 20% in the period of October to December 2016.</p> <p>Other analysis shows that Jaguar had the most successful post in terms of the number of likes, with a post showing the model F-Type garnering over 110,000 likes. </p> <p>This is just one example of the popularity of luxury brands on Instagram, which is also reflected by the success of other big brands like Burberry and Rolls Royce.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5154/Jaguar.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="489"></p> <h3>Mobile accounts for more than 60% of digital minutes in global markets</h3> <p>According comScore’s <a href="http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2017/Mobiles-Hierarchy-of-Needs?cs_edgescape_cc=GB" target="_blank">Mobile Hierarchy of Needs</a> report, mobile devices now account for a majority of consumers' digital minutes, with most of that time spent in apps.</p> <p>The growing share of consumer time claimed by mobile devices accounted for more than 60% of all digital minutes in nine major markets, rising to 91% in the case of Indonesia.</p> <p>Apps represented more than 80% of mobile minutes in all markets studied, rising to 99% in the case of China.</p> <p>The top apps are no surprise, with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat/">WeChat</a>, QQ Instant Messenger and Line showing the popularity of messaging apps</p> <h3>63% of consumers believe the media needs more regulation</h3> <p>A new report by Network Research shows that public trust in the reliability of media information has declined significantly in the last 12 months, with 63% of people now believing that media outlets need more regulation.</p> <p>In a survey of 1,000 UK adults, the study also found that 39.5% of people feel the government has significant influence on the media agenda, while 32% feel that businesses do.</p> <p>Almost half of the public are suspicious they may have seen or read fake news recently, with 75% subsequently trusting publications to a lesser extent. 83% of people also believe there should be greater penalties for reporting fabricated news.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68868 2017-03-07T14:14:00+00:00 2017-03-07T14:14:00+00:00 Facebook scales back on chatbots: What does it mean for brands? Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a bit more on the story, as well as few examples of the latest brand bots to appear.</p> <h3>What went wrong?</h3> <p>A number of businesses jumped on board the chatbot bandwagon as soon as the system was announced last year. In July, Facebook reported that there were 11,000 chatbots live on Messenger, with this figure expanding to a whopping 30,000 by September 2016.</p> <p>The idea was great in theory. Essentially, a chatbot would be able replace human interaction, with bots replying to customer service queries in ‘conversation’ with users online. However, with chatbots failing to correctly respond to the majority of queries, it soon became clear that the technology was not yet sophisticated enough to have anything resembling a genuine conversation.</p> <h3>How has Facebook responded?</h3> <p>Instead of continuing its large-scale development of chatbot technology, Facebook will instead focus on getting its system to answer a limited set of questions correctly. It recently announced a selection of new developer features, including a ‘persistent menu function’, which will display all of the bot’s functions up-front and in a menu-format. </p> <p>This basically means that the user experience will become akin to browsing on a website – merely clicking on a series of options – instead of taking the form of a two-way conversation. Of course, though this will mean that users won’t be frustrated by a chatbot's inability to respond correctly – it could lead to disappointment in the technology as a whole.</p> <p>I’ve recently <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68636-pizza-express-channel-4-and-tfl-three-examples-of-brand-chatbots/" target="_blank">reviewed quite a few chatbots</a>, and while there’s been a few interesting examples, many have indeed failed to ignite much excitement or interest. What’s more, the ones that <em>have</em> failed appear to be the most basic or boring in terms of functionality, merely providing the user with a clickable menu instead of any real conversation.</p> <h3>Will brands continue to invest?</h3> <p>That being said, not all examples can be tarred with the same brush. As most bots are developed by third-party agencies, some are certainly more impressive than others.</p> <p>I recently came across PG Tips’ Monkey chatbot – created by <a href="https://www.ubisend.com/case-studies/unilever" target="_blank">Ubisend</a> as part of the brand’s partnership with Comic Relief. In terms of user interaction it’s one of the best I’ve used, appearing to understand and successfully respond to my basic questions. Of course, the limitations of Facebook's bot technology still remain – Monkey will ask you to revert to tea if you stray too far from the core topic.</p> <p>However, with a decent level of interaction, it effectively serves its purpose by enhancing awareness as well as encouraging users to donate to the charity.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4377/Monkey_3.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="713"></p> <p>Other brands have found greater levels of success by sticking to a basic and more functional formula. Take Pizza Express, for example, which <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68800-pizza-express-launches-booking-chatbot-is-it-any-good/">recently launched a chatbot</a> with the sole purpose of allowing users to book a table via Messenger. Similarly, KLM has recently introduced a new bot that allows users to ask for directions by sending emojis.</p> <p>On the other end of the spectrum, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/06/chatbot-donotpay-refugees-claim-asylum-legal-aid">DoNotPay is a chatbot with a much more worthwhile purpose</a>, helping to determine whether refugees are eligible for asylum protection under international law before helping them to fill in the relevant forms. Described as the 'world's first robot lawyer', it is one of the first examples of chatbot technology being developed for social good.</p> <p>These examples, while still quite limited in terms of what they can do, provide users with something of real value. Whether it's a reserved table or free legal advice - they can offer more than the chance to just capture user data.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>While Facebook’s decision to scale back on the technology could result in many brands abandoning chatbot attempts – and indeed prevent them from experimenting in future - this is not necessarily a bad thing.</p> <p>In fact, it could mean a filtering out of poor quality chatbots – perhaps those that have been created for the purposes of short-term hype – resulting in a greater user experience overall.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68732-what-makes-a-good-chatbot-ux/" target="_blank">What makes a good chatbot UX?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68805-are-brands-failing-to-properly-promote-their-new-chatbots/" target="_blank">Are brands failing to properly promote their new chatbots?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68208-chatbots-are-they-better-without-the-chat/" target="_blank">Chatbots: Are they better without the chat?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68855 2017-03-01T14:20:00+00:00 2017-03-01T14:20:00+00:00 Mobile app usage grows by 28%: Where are users spending their time? Nikki Gilliland <p>But what kind of apps are they using exactly? Here are a few of the most interesting charts from Flurry’s report, along with a bit of insight into the findings. </p> <p>First, a bit of housekeeping. <a href="http://flurrymobile.tumblr.com/post/155761509355/on-their-tenth-anniversary-mobile-apps-start">The report</a> draws on Flurry’s global footprint, which includes 940,000 applications, across 2.1bn devices, in 10bn sessions a day.</p> <h3>Social and messaging apps reign supreme</h3> <p>In 2016, UK mobile users continued their rapid uptake of social media messaging apps, with usage in this category increasing by 46%. Globally, usage also increased by 44%, helping mobile to achieve a session growth of 69% year-on-year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4275/UK_usage.png" alt="" width="780" height="434"></p> <p>So why are we using messaging apps even more than we used to? Flurry suggests that the ‘communitainment’ trend could be a factor – an awful term used to describe the act of sharing user-generated content on social media. </p> <p>As a result of this high usage, time spent in other apps – such as news or gaming – has naturally declined. Similarly, with a lot of messaging apps updating their range of emojis and adding sticker features, use of standalone personalisation apps has declined 46%. </p> <p>Retale recently reported that <a href="http://www.adweek.com/digital/chat-bots-are-winning-over-social-media-users-report/" target="_blank">58% of millennials</a> have interacted with a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots/" target="_blank">chatbot</a> on social media in the past year, meaning AI could have also contributed to the rise of messaging apps. That being said, it’s unclear whether this percentage is due to brands capturing user’s attention or merely reaching people in the channels they already spend time in.</p> <h3>Daily habits linked to rise</h3> <p>Flurry found that the average mobile user spends around five hours a day on their smartphones, of which two hours are designated to social or messaging apps. </p> <p>Brits in particular are most active first thing in the morning as well as post-work, peaking at around 4pm and continuing until 10pm. This appears to be because, while other activities like watching television remain popular, many users are using more than one connected device at a time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4274/Daily_habits.png" alt="" width="780" height="436"></p> <p>In fact, a recent <a href="https://www.consumerbarometer.com/en/graph-builder/?question=M9&amp;filter=country:united_kingdom" target="_blank">study by Google</a> shows that 65% of Brits also use a smartphone when watching television, once again highlighting the phenomenon known as second screening.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4273/Google_Devices.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="301"></p> <p>Meanwhile, real-time events have also helped to drive usage of mobile apps, such as sporting events like the Super Bowl. In Europe, app sessions for the sports category increased by a whopping 90% last year - a percentage largely put down to a jam-packed summer of sport including Wimbledon, the Euros and the Olympics.</p> <h3>Medium phones rivalling phablets in Europe</h3> <p>While Flurry’s previous report suggested that phablets (i.e. devices with screens between 5” and 6.9”) are dominating globally, it appears Europeans are still keeping hold of medium-sized devices, with the latter seeing a 47% market share in the UK.</p> <p>That being said, it’s been suggested that Europe will soon catch up, with phablet adoption set to grow to the point of eliminating small phones entirely. This is unsurprising, especially considering the global rise in shopping and utility apps, with many consumers turning to mobile devices for a multitude of practical purposes as well as entertainment.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4272/Phablets.png" alt="" width="780" height="436"></p> <p>For lots more information on this topic, be sure to check out Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/topics/mobile/" target="_blank">mobile-related research</a>.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68834 2017-02-24T13:51:16+00:00 2017-02-24T13:51:16+00:00 All the digital news stories you missed this week Nikki Gilliland <h3>Instagram lets you upload multiple photos and videos at once</h3> <p>Instagram has introduced a new carousel feature so that users can upload multiple photos and videos in a single post.</p> <p>It’s based on the notion that it’s difficult to choose just one photo from an experience, so now users can choose to include up to 10 photos or videos, which followers can swipe through to view.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Surprise! Now you can share up to 10 photos and videos in one Instagram post! <a href="https://t.co/OpBAUxcmJ4">https://t.co/OpBAUxcmJ4</a> <a href="https://t.co/U2u0OmBJln">pic.twitter.com/U2u0OmBJln</a></p> — Instagram (@instagram) <a href="https://twitter.com/instagram/status/834433357366833152">February 22, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Republicans release report detailing A/B testing for Trump campaign</h3> <p>Apparently, Donald Trump’s website generated more online revenue per visitor when it used pictures of Trump giving two thumbs up than any other photo.</p> <p>This is just one snippet of information from the RNC Testing Booklet – a report that details information about the A/B testing undertaken by the Republican’s digital team throughout Trump’s campaign. You can read the <a href="https://www.scribd.com/document/336800205/RNC-Testing-Booklet">full report here</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4135/Trump.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="648"></p> <h3>WhatsApp introduces ‘Status’ feature</h3> <p>WhatsApp has introduced ‘Status’ – a new feature that allows users to share disappearing photos and videos. It enables users to send contacts photos, GIFs or videos overlaid with drawings, emojis or captions, before the content will disappear after 24 hours.</p> <p>So, what will this mean for Snapchat? Read more about that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68830-will-snapchat-suffer-from-whatsapp-s-new-status-feature/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <h3>Snap starts selling spectacles online</h3> <p>So far, Snap’s video-recording glasses have only been available from special vending machines in surprise locations and from an NYC pop-up. Now, the brand has begun selling them online to US consumers for the sum of $129.99.</p> <p>The move comes ahead of the brand’s March IPO, where the company is seeking a valuation of up to $22bn.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4134/Spectacles.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="412"></p> <h3>Apple buys iCloud.net domain</h3> <p>Apple has taken ownership of iCloud.net – a domain formerly associated with a small-scale Asian social network – in a bid to eliminate market confusion over its cloud software services. Apple has refused to comment on the deal, meaning the financial details (and what it plans to do with the domain) remain unknown.</p> <h3>Uber writes to users trying to delete their accounts  </h3> <p>Uber has come under fire once again, this time for allegations made by a former employee about sexual harassment and discrimination within the company. The news has come less than a month after the #DeleteUber campaign, following the firm’s airport price surging controversy.</p> <p>With users once again trying to delete their accounts, Uber has responded by sending out a formal letter in response, explaining its position on Susan Fowler’s allegations (see below).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Bro_Pair">@Bro_Pair</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Uber">@Uber</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/deleteuber?src=hash">#deleteuber</a> <a href="https://t.co/QAWOX87Wtj">pic.twitter.com/QAWOX87Wtj</a></p> — Mr. To Damn Good (@FamousCeleb) <a href="https://twitter.com/FamousCeleb/status/834567373214539776">February 23, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Facebook Messenger users can now chat to Christian Grey </h3> <p>On the back of the release of the <em>Fifty Shades Darker</em> movie<em>,</em> PersonaBots.com has created a Christian Grey character for Facebook Messenger. Kudos to the person who raised <em>that</em> mid-meeting.</p> <p>Bringing fans’ fantasies to life (well, sort of) the bot’s raunchy chat culminates in talk of the famous Red Room. As you might expect, it’s decidedly NSFW, so the below screenshot is all you’re getting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4133/Christian_Grey_chatbot_2.JPG" alt="" width="501" height="611"></p>