tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/messaging Latest Messaging content from Econsultancy 2017-03-07T14:14:53+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68868 2017-03-07T14:14:53+00:00 2017-03-07T14:14:53+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 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> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68832 2017-02-24T10:05:00+00:00 2017-02-24T10:05:00+00:00 10 staggering digital marketing stats we've seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Please note, we've linked to all original studies where possible. Unfortunately not all of these studies are published online, they often come to us as press releases.</p> <h3>60% of millennials have used chatbots</h3> <p>A new study by Retale has delved into how UK millennials feel about chatbots.</p> <p>From a survey of over 500 consumers aged 18 to 34, nearly 60% of respondents were found to have used a chatbot in the past. Out of the percentage of people that had not, 53% said they were still interested in trying them. </p> <p>Interestingly, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/68805-are-brands-failing-to-promote-chatbots/" target="_blank">branded chatbots</a> appear to be growing in popularity, with 71% of millennials saying they’d be happy to try a chatbot from a consumer brand. Lastly, 86% of respondents agreed that brands should use chatbots to promote deals, discounts and offers. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68800-pizza-express-launches-booking-chatbot-is-it-any-good/" target="_blank"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4128/Pizza_Express_5.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="678"></a></p> <h3>Retailers increasing investment in store technology</h3> <p>The <a href="http://now.jda.com/CEO2017.html" target="_blank">latest report</a> from JDA/PWC has found that 69% of CEOs plan to increase investment in digital technologies to improve the in-store customer experience. </p> <p>76% of CEOs have or are planning to invest in personalised mobile ‘push offers’ and beacons, while 79% are also investing or planning to invest in smart mobile devices for staff in stores. Despite this, 52% of respondents have not yet defined or started implementing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">a digital transformation strategy</a>. </p> <h3>68% of British retailers have no Brexit plans in place</h3> <p>According to new research from Global-e, 68% of retailers have yet to start planning for Brexit, despite 51% also saying that the vote to leave the EU has already impacted UK sales. The study, which involved a survey of 250 top British retailers, also found that 32% of those selling internationally have seen an increase in online orders from outside the UK. </p> <p>Additionally, 46% of UK retailers were found to be in favour of a soft Brexit, while 36% agreed that a hard Brexit - with no access to the single market - would be better for UK retailers.</p> <h3>Ad blocking levels stabilise</h3> <p>According to the Internet Advertising Bureau's UK <a href="https://iabuk.net/about/press/archive/iab-uk-reveals-latest-ad-blocking-behaviour" target="_blank">Ad Blocking Report</a>, the proportion of British adults online currently using ad blocking software has remained at around 22% for the last year.</p> <p>Despite a predicted rise in ad blocking, this has failed to materialise, perhaps due to many publishers working hard to promote a value exchange.</p> <p>24% of people cited not being able to access online content as the biggest reason for switching off their ad blocker - a figure up from 16% a year ago. Meanwhile, 24% said that it is because they have since switched to a new device.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4122/ad_blocking.png" alt="" width="750" height="453"></p> <h3>Travel brands expected to benefit from Oscar hype</h3> <p>Data from Lastminute.com suggests that travel brands have seen an increase in search interest on the back of this year’s Oscar nominations. Searches for flights to Los Angeles shot up by 21% on the day of La La Land’s release. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s Silence prompted an even bigger surge, with searches for flights to Japan up 82% from the week before, and increasing a further 46% in the subsequent two days.</p> <p>Though it hasn’t been nominated for any Academy Awards, Brit flick Eddie the Eagle also prompted greater interest in ski holidays, with on-site searches jumping 10% after its release.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4123/Lastminute.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="424"></p> <h3>56% of CRM managers lack firm objectives</h3> <p>In a survey of 500 leading CRM managers, <a href="http://news.wiraya.com/news/crm-managers-dont-believe-theyre-generating-revenue-222319">Wiraya found that CRM</a> is perceived as a key business driver for over 30% of businesses. Despite this fact, it seems many still lack the data and strategy to support their goals and create profitability.</p> <p>While 91% of businesses are currently measuring aspects of their CRM work, 56% do not have firm objectives in place. What’s more, just 17% say that their CRM work is clearly contributing to the company’s overall revenue. This proves that major improvements still need to be made, as just 31% currently consider themselves ‘ambitious’ in terms of CRM maturity.</p> <h3>One in six UK shoppers have switched supermarkets in the past year</h3> <p>In light of Aldi becoming the nation’s fifth largest supermarket, <a href="http://www.tccglobal.com/en/blog/article/uk-shopper-loyalty-study">TCC Global has undertaken a study</a> on the state of consumer loyalty to grocery stores. It found that 32% of UK discount shoppers and 16% of all shoppers have switched their main grocery store in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, 39% of shoppers said that it wouldn’t matter to them if their usual grocery store closed.</p> <p>The research also found that growing convenience is making it even easier to switch between retailers, with shoppers having an average of 11 ‘reachable’, 10 ‘easily reachable’ and five ‘very easily reachable' stores.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4124/Aldi.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="480"></p> <h3>UK online retail sales grow 12% year on year in January</h3> <p>The latest figures from <a href="https://www.imrg.org/data-and-reports/imrg-capgemini-sales-indexes/" target="_blank">IMRG Capgemini</a> has revealed that UK online retail sales were up 12% year-on-year in the first month of 2017, with retailers seeing the highest average January spend since 2010. The average basket value was recorded as £85 in January 2017, up from £79 a year earlier. </p> <p>In terms of sectors, growth for gifts reached an eight-year high, with an increase of 62% year-on-year. Meanwhile, electricals were down 9%, falling for the second month in a row.</p> <h3>Consumers struggle to identify British brands</h3> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.spreadco.com/blog/uk-baffled-by-the-origins-of-their-favourite-brands">poll by Spread Co</a> has found that the majority of consumers are baffled by the origins of their favourite brands. 50% of consumers believe Tetley Tea to be British, when it is in fact owned by a foreign company. Similarly, 42% think the same about Branston Pickle and 37% about HP Sauce, when they are actually Indian and Japanese.</p> <p>The survey also found that 61% of UK adults don’t know that The Body Shop is part of L’oreal, while 19% think Tesco is the biggest company in Britain (even though it only represents 0.84% of the market share).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4127/body_shop.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="490"></p> <h3>Mulberry and Burberry are the most searched-for brands during LFW</h3> <p>Captify has revealed that the top three searched for designers during London Fashion Week were Mulberry, Burberry and JW Anderson. Other designers saw online searches go through the roof, with Ryan Lo experiencing a jump of 2,000% over the week, followed by surges for Topshop Unique and Sadie Williams.</p> <p>In terms of the most searched-for items, designer trainers rose by 60%, followed by minimalist clothing and 90’s style, which both rose 20%.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68830 2017-02-22T12:30:00+00:00 2017-02-22T12:30:00+00:00 Will Snapchat suffer from WhatsApp’s new ‘Status’ feature? Nikki Gilliland <p>It’s just announced the introduction of disappearing photos and videos into its messaging app, WhatsApp. Which, yes, is a feature that is pretty much identical to Snapchat Stories.</p> <p>So, what will this mean for users of both? And what about brands? Here’s a bit more on the story.</p> <h3>What is the ‘Status’ feature?</h3> <p>WhatsApp has always provided users with the option of having a ‘status’. It’s the little phrase beside a person’s name that says ‘at work’, ‘busy’ or ‘at the gym’.</p> <p>In fact, the app was originally built around this very idea, i.e. that you could let your friends or family know what you were currently up to. As the app evolved, it became one of the most under-used and forgotten about elements.</p> <p>Now, ‘status’ is being reintroduced in a big way.</p> <p>The all-new feature will let users share photos, GIFs or videos overlaid with drawings, emojis or captions. This content will be end-to-end encrypted, meaning that no outside party will be able to view it, and it will last for 24 hours before disappearing entirely.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4096/whatsapp.JPG" alt="" width="250" height="493"></p> <h3>Will it change user behaviour?</h3> <p>While Instagram also introduced this feature last year, Instagram Stories did not necessarily make much of a difference or impact when it comes to how users behave on the platform.</p> <p>Instagram can largely be a passive user experience – you can simply use it to view other people’s content if you wish. On the other hand, WhatsApp has always been inherently active. To use it, you have to be engaged in chat, or else there’s not much point. With Status, WhatsApp users will now be able to do both.</p> <h3>Will brands get involved?</h3> <p>While some brands have already been using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68695-how-brands-are-using-whatsapp-for-marketing/" target="_blank">WhatsApp for marketing purposes</a> - mainly to enable faster and more direct customer service - the new feature could open up a whole new realm of advertising opportunities.</p> <p>Despite WhatsApp being against blatant brand advertising in the past, the opportunity to monetise could prove irresistible. There have been suggestions that it could start to insert full-screen ads in-between Statuses, following the example of both Snapchat and Instagram.</p> <p>Similarly, brands could also make use of custom-made filters or emojis, using this to create a less obtrusive presence <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67529-the-rise-of-dark-social-everything-you-need-to-know/">within dark social</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4097/Whatsapp_2.JPG" alt="" width="250" height="492"></p> <h3>Will Snapchat suffer?</h3> <p>There’s no guarantee that the Status feature will even take off for WhatsApp, but with 1.2bn monthly users and 60bn messages being sent each day, I doubt it’s all that worried. After all, WhatsApp will not fundamentally change - it will retain its core messaging feature - but it will simultaneously be able to take (or attempt to take) a slice of Snapchat's pie.</p> <p>Snapchat, on the other hand, might be a little concerned. Especially considering that stats from its latest <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/02/slowchat/" target="_blank">IPO filing</a> showed that the platform’s growth slowed 82% after Instagram Stories launched. If a similar thing happens on the back of Status, it could further hinder the platform’s global growth and revenue opportunities.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68823 2017-02-21T11:56:38+00:00 2017-02-21T11:56:38+00:00 British Vogue launches Messenger chatbot for Fashion Week: Is it any good? Nikki Gilliland <p>But with a wealth of recent brand bots failing to ignite much excitement – will this be any different?</p> <p>Here are my thoughts.</p> <h3>How does it work?</h3> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68805-are-brands-failing-to-properly-promote-their-new-chatbots/" target="_blank">bot can be found</a> on the British Vogue Facebook page or direct via Facebook Messenger.</p> <p>It follows a fairly standard formula, requiring users to select their own personal preferences about the articles they want to receive. Once you start interacting with the service, it will ask questions to determine how often you would like updates, whether you want curated highlights or all stories coming from London Fashion Week.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4010/Vogue_chatbot.JPG" alt="" width="730" height="663"></p> <p>You can also choose to ask for updates relating to specific fashion designers, e.g. Topshop Unique or Tommy Hilfiger.</p> <p>Based on these preferences, it will then deliver articles (from the Vogue website) that you will ideally find the most interesting, direct to your Messenger inbox. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4011/Vogue_chatbot_2.JPG" alt="" width="730" height="643"></p> <h3>Smart or simplistic?</h3> <p>I recently mentioned how <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68800-pizza-express-launches-booking-chatbot-is-it-any-good/" target="_blank">Pizza Express’s Messenger bot</a> is more of a multiple-choice questionnaire rather than a proper chatbot. Sadly, British Vogue’s example is a similar sort of affair, merely asking you to choose from different options rather than actually partake in any chatting activity.</p> <p>The only real difference is that it can instantly send updates or stories from a specific designer if you type in their name.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4014/Vogue_chatbot_4.JPG" alt="" width="730" height="392"></p> <p>However, even this isn’t <em>that</em> smart.</p> <p>I deliberately miss-spelled a designer’s surname to test whether or not it would still understand. It didn’t – which shows how basic the technology currently is.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4012/Vogue_chatbot_5.JPG" alt="" width="730" height="623"></p> <h3>Publishers cutting through news feeds</h3> <p>That being said, there’s certainly something for fashion fans to enjoy here. With the fast-paced nature of London Fashion Week, the service is definitely a convenient way for people to stay on top of the latest runway news. </p> <p>Users are arguably less likely to passively scroll through their news feed in search of this type of content, meaning that click-through rates could be higher if sent directly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4013/Vogue_chatbot_3.JPG" alt="" width="730" height="513"></p> <p>This makes me think that bots like this will be more impactful when they are based around a timely or seasonal event.</p> <p>Despite British Vogue saying that the bot has the ability to evolve over time - which I assume means the service will continue even after Fashion Week has ended – will users continue to show as much interest? </p> <p>I could be wrong, but I doubt that fans are invested enough in specific designers to read every single update about them in future. Or indeed, whether there will be enough updates to even send once Fashion Week has finished.</p> <p>Likewise, there is also the danger of users getting annoyed or bored with daily updates, meaning that the bot could have a rather short shelf-life.</p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>While it’s good to see publishers experimenting with Messenger bot technology, it remains to be seen whether or not it’ll have any real impact.</p> <p>For daily readers of British Vogue, there’s definitely value in the direct and personalised interaction it offers. (Though you could also argue that email newsletters already deliver this). Similarly, it could further build on the current hype surrounding London Fashion Week. </p> <p>For general fashion fans or people less invested in the brand, the features need to be more impressive to both pique and sustain interest - especially if the aim is to tempt people away from their news feeds long-term.</p> <p><em>More chat about bots:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">What are chatbots and why should marketers care?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots/">Five pioneering examples of how brands are using chatbots</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68636-pizza-express-channel-4-and-tfl-three-examples-of-brand-chatbots/">Pizza Express, Channel 4 and TFL: Three examples of brand chatbots</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68805 2017-02-14T11:01:00+00:00 2017-02-14T11:01:00+00:00 Are brands failing to properly promote their new chatbots? Nikki Gilliland <p>One issue I failed to mention is that the brand doesn’t appear to be doing much to promote it. Which is odd, as how are people meant to use it if they don’t know it exists in the first place?</p> <p>Here’s a bit more info on this issue and how brands can combat it.</p> <h3>Discovering chatbots</h3> <p>In order to access the Pizza Express chatbot, I typed @PizzaExpress in the recipient search bar in Facebook Messenger. Easy enough, as it immediately appeared in the drop-down menu.</p> <p>However, I was already aware that the bot existed, and it’s likely that most existing users don’t.</p> <p>So, where else is it promoted?</p> <p>Looking at the brand’s main Facebook page, I discovered that it can also be accessed via the ‘book now’ or ‘message’ buttons, which take you straight to Messenger.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3880/Pizza_Express_page.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="635"></p> <p>Fair enough. Although, it does seem like this would be very easy to miss, even for existing fans of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64674-how-to-market-your-branded-facebook-page/" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>. Most people find and access content directly from their news feed, so how likely is it that anyone will see this?</p> <p>Upon further inspection, I spotted that the brand has actively promoted the feature in a recent post, highlighting it in conjunction with a current Valentine’s Day special offer and urging users to book it via the chatbot.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpizzaexpress%2Fposts%2F10155045491108139&amp;width=500" width="500" height="512"></iframe></p> <p>But, while fans might see it, what about people who occasionally (or even regularly) eat in a Pizza Express restaurant, but haven’t liked the brand’s Facebook page?</p> <p>Personally, I’ve enjoyed the odd Padana Romana in my time. I’d even go as far as saying Pizza Express is my emergency high street restaurant chain of choice, but I’d honestly never think to hit that ‘like’ button. </p> <p>In that case, I’d miss the chatbot entirely. And Pizza Express might miss out on my data and the subsequent opportunity for retargeting. </p> <p>It's also worth mentioning that anyone without Facebook Messenger installed on their smartphone will be left frustrated if they happen to click ‘book now’ on the Facebook page.</p> <h3>Promoting bots</h3> <p>From this example, we can see that brands often need to do more to promote and facilitate chatbot use. </p> <p>One option is of course cross-promotion, using social media to drive interest, and in some cases creating separate social media channels specifically for the chatbot.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fkayak.unitedkingdom%2Fposts%2F554525934735318&amp;width=500" width="500" height="517"></iframe></p> <p>This aside, one of the major issues with promotion could be related to whose responsibility the chatbot is. I recently read an article that suggested a lack of internal strategy often leads to the failure of bots, with businesses unsure whether activity should be driven by marketing, IT or customer service.</p> <p>Lastly, alongside organic promotion on social, another good option is targeted ads.</p> <p>This appears to be one of the most effective and fool-proof solutions, however, with chatbot technology still in its infancy – and with real value yet to be proven – brands will understandly feel reluctant to throw a lot of money behind promotion.</p> <p>Perhaps the recent announcement that brands can now <a href="http://www.adweek.com/digital/brands-can-now-promote-their-chatbots-targeted-facebook-ads-174526/" target="_blank">serve targeted ads</a> to users in Facebook Messenger (as long as they’ve previously interacted with the brand) might spur on greater promotion in future.</p> <p>While chatbots might offer the opportunity for greater engagement, brands will need to do more to ensure that customers know about them.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68532-the-case-for-chatbots-being-the-new-apps-notes-from-websummit2016/" target="_blank">The case for chatbots being the new apps - notes from #WebSummit2016</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots/" target="_blank">Five pioneering examples of how brands are using chatbots</a></em></li> <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> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68800 2017-02-13T11:20:00+00:00 2017-02-13T11:20:00+00:00 Pizza Express launches booking chatbot: Is it any good? Nikki Gilliland <p>Pizza Express is claiming to be the first restaurant in the UK to offer this, but will it catch on? And more importantly – is the chatbot any good?</p> <p>Here’s what I think. </p> <h3>What does it do?</h3> <p>While Pizza Express’s #shakethetree campaign used gamification to entertain customers, its new chatbot aims to offer greater convenience for customers who simply want to book a table.</p> <p>Instead of visiting the main Pizza Express website, it now means that customers can make a booking without leaving Facebook Messenger – giving people a direct and ‘always on’ channel of communication with the brand.</p> <p>From my own experience with the chatbot, I can confirm that it is definitely convenient. </p> <p>While there’s no actual chat involved – I was only required to select from multiple options options rather than talk to it – the process was quick and simple.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3840/Pizza_Express_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="667"></p> <p>It detected my location and provided me with the option of two restaurants located nearby. From there, all I had to do was select the number of people and the time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3841/Pizza_Express_4.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="712"></p> <p>It's very simple to use, but let's face it, actively seeking out a booking on the Pizza Express website is similarly straightforward. </p> <p>My only gripe was that it felt a little strange not being sent an email confirmation of my booking. And while it asked for my telephone number, I didn’t receive anything further to suggest that it had gone through.</p> <h3>Is it too simple?</h3> <p>There’s nothing impressive about this technology. The fact that it doesn’t reply to human conversation means that it's far from actually being intelligent, and it's probably better described as a multiple choice questionnaire rather than a chatbot.</p> <p>But, do customers expect extra bells and whistles, or will they be happy with this basic (one-way) booking system?</p> <p>It’s been suggested that chatbots are suffering from over-hype, with many failing to live up to expectations of ‘conversational commerce’ and disappointing users in the process.</p> <p>It’s understandable that people might feel let down by a bot that doesn’t understand everyday speech or involves complicated sign-up processes. </p> <p>Consequently, perhaps examples like Pizza Express, which is limited but laser-focused in terms of what it claims to offer consumers, will prove more successful. Similarly, with the chatbot resulting in a tangible result – a booked table and a meal in its restaurant – it might have more of an impact that its previous incarnation, which merely involved playing a (rather disappointing) game.</p> <h3>Will other restaurants catch on?</h3> <p>For restaurants looking to implement customer service on social, booking-related chatbots could potentially provide value.</p> <p>We have already seen the likes of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68184-domino-s-introduces-dom-the-pizza-bot-for-facebook-messenger/" target="_blank">Domino’s</a> and Taco Bell implementing chatbots to enable consumers to order a delivery, so perhaps a combination of the two could be next on the cards.</p> <p>One company that already aims to do this is AllSet – an app and chatbot that aims to make dining at a restaurant at lunchtime quick and hassle-free.</p> <p>Essentially, it allows you to book, order and pay for your food ahead of time, meaning there’s no waiting around during the experience. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Booked through a great new service <a href="https://twitter.com/allsetUS">@AllsetUS</a> and had delicious lunch <a href="https://twitter.com/PanameNYC">@PanameNYC</a>! I met fantastic people! I highly recommend! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Foodie?src=hash">#Foodie</a> <a href="https://t.co/FQOfhhBhuo">pic.twitter.com/FQOfhhBhuo</a></p> — Line_of_Thought (@Line_of_thought) <a href="https://twitter.com/Line_of_thought/status/822087858882220032">January 19, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>While this is a bit of a pipe dream for existing restaurant chains, it could offer a glimpse as to how chatbots could evolve in future.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68636-pizza-express-channel-4-and-tfl-three-examples-of-brand-chatbots/" target="_blank">Pizza Express, Channel 4 and TFL: Three examples of brand chatbots</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68766-i-tried-out-the-new-resident-evil-ai-chatbot-it-was-far-from-intelligent/" target="_blank">I tried out the new Resident Evil AI chatbot. It was far from intelligent.</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/68745 2017-01-31T10:31:00+00:00 2017-01-31T10:31:00+00:00 Five examples of brands using emojis in marketing campaigns Nikki Gilliland <p>With a <a href="http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/11/19/twitter-emoji" target="_blank">25.4% increase in engagement</a> on Twitter, and <a href="https://www.quintly.com/blog/2017/01/instagram-emoji-study-higher-interactions/" target="_blank">17% higher interaction rates</a> on Instagram – it’s not difficult to see why. Emojis present an opportunity to connect with consumers in a fun, relatable and creative way. </p> <p>But do some brands go too far? A <a href="https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/11/17/consumers-tired-of-emojis/" target="_blank">YouGov survey</a> found that 59% of people aged 18-34 say companies are trying too hard when using emojis in ad or marketing campaigns.</p> <p>With this in mind, here’s a look at how some brands are incorporating emojis into marketing, and whether or not they pull it off.</p> <h3>Hillary Clinton</h3> <p>Kim Kardashian might have been one of the first to use custom-made emojis, but Hillary Clinton also capitalised on the trend during her presidential campaign.</p> <p>The iOS app, Hillarymojji, included over 30 emoticons, stickers and GIFs, which could be used in conversations on messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3397/Hillarymoji.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="465"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3398/Hillarymoji_2.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="473"></p> <p>While Hillary herself reportedly had no direct involvement, Hillary (the brand) certainly benefited from the exposure and engagement.</p> <p>Instead of simply incorporating emojis into marketing messages, custom-made keyboards allow brands to go one step further and infiltrate <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67536-three-dark-social-channels-with-a-billion-active-users-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">dark social,</a> ensuring wider reach.</p> <h3>Disney</h3> <p>People go gaga about Disney, so it was only a matter of time before the brand cottoned onto the power of creating its own custom emoji keyboard. Unlike the aforementioned example, however, there was a twist.</p> <p>Disney added a gamification element to the mix, meaning that users could only get their hands on the emojis by winning points in ‘Disney Blast Blitz’.</p> <p>It's a risky tactic - while this gives users an incentive to continue playing the app, it’s likely that many people would lose interest after a while or simply abandon the idea when first finding out a game was involved.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3399/Disney_emojis.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="649"></p> <p>Sure, it could provide value for dedicated Disney fans, but it could mean that it doesn’t quite have the same accessibility and reach as free or paid-for emoji keyboards.</p> <h3>Pepsi</h3> <p>Designed to promote a range of specially designed emoji-themed Pepsi cans and bottles, ‘Say it with Pepsi’ was based on the same premise as Coca-Cola’s #shareacoke campaign. </p> <p>Instead of personalising its product with consumer’s names, Pepsi included various moods and country-specific emojis to encourage people to share images on social media.</p> <p>It’s a simple tactic, but by realising that emojis transcend linguistic barriers, it was the basis of a successful global campaign.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Take a break from the ordinary; you deserve it! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LiveForNow?src=hash">#LiveForNow</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SayItWithPepsi?src=hash">#SayItWithPepsi</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PepsiMojiJa?src=hash">#PepsiMojiJa</a> <a href="https://t.co/whqzaqFzKB">pic.twitter.com/whqzaqFzKB</a></p> — Pepsi Jamaica (@pepsijamaica) <a href="https://twitter.com/pepsijamaica/status/813806744614948864">December 27, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Domino’s Pizza</h3> <p>Instead of a large marketing push, Domino’s has been using emojis to offer its customers greater convenience (as well as ramp up its sense of fun on social). It <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68184-domino-s-introduces-dom-the-pizza-bot-for-facebook-messenger/">introduced a chatbot feature</a> to allow customers to order using a single pizza emoji.</p> <p>However, despite being described as the ‘epitome of convenience’, it does seem like more of a marketing gimmick than something that offers any real value to consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3400/Domino_s_Pizza.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="519"></p> <p>The whole process is a bit fiddly, with users needing to register with an ‘Easy Order’ account and pick out their pizza preferences in order to use it.</p> <p>That being said, it still shows how much emojis have infiltrated into everyday consumer behaviour, and is a prime example of how they can be used to effectively complement a fun and creative brand persona. </p> <h3>Durex</h3> <p>Lastly, Durex is a brand that has been using emojis to further its core message and champion a worthwhile cause.</p> <p>Its #CondomEmoji campaign has been going on for a while, calling for a safe sex emoji to be put on every smartphone in order to help young people communicate about the subject.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O7iKgKpkWfU?wmode=transparent" width="876" height="493"></iframe></p> <p>In a survey undertaken by Durex, 60% of young people admitted to being uncomfortable discussing safe sex, and 72% said they find it easier to express emotions using emojis. Building on this even further, Durex also put its support behind World Aids Day, creating its own safe sex emoji in place of the long-awaited official one.</p> <p>By using emojis to promote social good (as well as its own product) Durex ensures relatability and an increase in awareness and positive brand perception.</p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66043-email-subject-lines-the-best-words-emojis-to-boost-open-rates/">Email subject lines: the best words &amp; emojis to boost open rates</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67965-emojis-gone-wild-twitter-unveils-emoji-targeting/">Emojis gone wild: Twitter unveils emoji targeting</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67651-lgbt-emojis-are-dividing-emotions-internationally/">LGBT emojis are dividing emotions internationally</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68744 2017-01-27T09:56:00+00:00 2017-01-27T09:56:00+00:00 What’s behind the decline in ebook sales? Nikki Gilliland <p>Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to be a generational trend.</p> <p>People under 30 are just as likely to disregard ebooks - a fact reflected by a <a href="http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/72047-adult-books-sales-fell-in-first-half-of-2016.html" target="_blank">35% drop in digital sales of young adult fiction</a> during the first half of 2016, and cemented by an increase of 7.4% in paperback sales of the same genre.</p> <p>So, what’s behind the ebook decline?</p> <h3>A switch-off from social media</h3> <p>Despite being known as the ‘always on’ generation, millennials don’t actually want to be glued to a screen 24/7. </p> <p>In fact, a large proportion of young people are feeling inclined to switch off due to the constant pressure to be active on social media. Ofcom recently found that <a href="https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2016/cmr-uk-2016" target="_blank">34% of internet users have voluntarily gone offline</a> at some point for this very reason.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3393/Ofcom.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="309"></p> <p>In line with this is a greater desire to spend less time on digital devices as a whole.</p> <p>Despite advancements in technology making ebook screens thinner and lighter than ever before - mimicking the paper-thin nature of print - the very concept of reading on an electronic device is still a step too far for some. </p> <p>Unlike watching a film, having the option to read print over digital means that many people will naturally revert back to the latter, thereby stemming the sales of ebook devices and digital books.</p> <h3>Desire for a physical customer experience</h3> <p>Research has shown that the implicit understanding of how far along you are in a story increases the enjoyment of reading a physical book. In contrast, the inability to visualise progress arguably makes using an ebook a somewhat shallow and unsatisfactory experience.  </p> <p>Similarly, the tactile element, not only of reading a physical book, but browsing and buying within a real bookstore is also preferable.</p> <p>We’re constantly being told that consumers crave an immersive, interactive shopping experience. As a result, more and more online retailers are meeting the demand by entering into the physical realm.</p> <p>Amazon – a retailer that has dominated the book industry in recent years – opened its first ever bricks-and-mortar book shop in 2015. Waterstones has also stopped selling the Kindle in its UK stores, instead choosing to use the space for hardback and paperback books.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3392/Amazon_Books.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="421"></p> <p>It’s not just large or established brands that are noticing the demand for print either. The trend has trickled down to new and startup businesses, with many combining the best of both digital and traditional publishing.</p> <p>Meanwhile, with just <a href="https://printonpaper.com/10-steps-becoming-media-magnate/" target="_blank">32% of people trusting mainstream news</a> media, companies like AuthorHouse and Print on Paper are tapping into this distrust (and the simultaneous demand for print) by allowing anyone to self-publish books and print their own newspapers.</p> <h3>Popularity of audiobooks</h3> <p>It’s not just a resurgence for print that has contributed to less interest in ebooks. Alongside an increase in physical book sales, interest in audiobooks has also skyrocketed in recent years. </p> <p>Audiobooks are said to be the fastest-growing format in publishing, with <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/business/media/audiobooks-turn-more-readers-into-listeners-as-e-books-slip.html?_r=0" target="_blank">sales rising 35.3%</a> in the first half of 2016. So, why the sudden surge?</p> <p>Meeting the desire for less screen time without compromising on the immersive nature of storytelling, audiobooks are the perfect solution for the aforementioned digital fatigue. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Listen to 'Goodnight Smartphone' free on Audible, then give you &amp; your phone a rest tonight. <a href="https://t.co/QITBOI2WbI">https://t.co/QITBOI2WbI</a> <a href="https://t.co/WY9XJLmQl3">pic.twitter.com/WY9XJLmQl3</a></p> — audible.co.uk (@audibleuk) <a href="https://twitter.com/audibleuk/status/823960768920113152">January 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Moreover, with cars now including Bluetooth as standard, plus smartphones overtaking laptops as the primary device for getting online – consumers are increasingly turning to audiobooks in place of reading or even listening to music. </p> <p>Lastly, it’s also been suggested that we’re are moving towards an ‘agnostic’ channel experience, whereby consumers see little difference between audio, visual and textual platforms, as long as they are able to become fully immersed in the story.</p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>While there is still a place for ebooks in certain contexts, such as travel or in spontaneous need, it’s hard to foresee digital book sales bouncing back to where they once were.</p> <p>Of course, this does not mean that consumers are forgoing digital text entirely – rather that the onslaught of online news, magazines, social media and messaging is more than enough.</p> <p>When it comes to reading a good book, this spells great news for traditionalists.</p>