One of the newest trends to infiltrate the digital marketing space is the use of chatbots, automated chat solutions driven by artificial intelligence or pre-drafted answers meant to proactively respond to common user questions in real time.
As users come to further expect and demand a personalized digital experience with instant gratification, many brands are finding themselves struggling to keep up with it all. When you think about the work required to craft a personal experience for every online user who interacts with your brand, it does begin to seem a bit daunting. Chatbots are designed to take some of the heavy lifting off your marketing shoulders by interacting with these users in a more automated way while still giving your brand a hint of personality that users crave. While chatbots are widely used in an organic setting, there are increasing opportunities to utilize the technology within online media buying as well.
Current Use of Chatbots
Chatbots are slowly becoming more commonplace for consumers and more widespread in usage. They are most widely implemented within websites or on Facebook Messenger. Several brands across different industry categories are starting to integrate them in many ways to automate common functions, cut costs, and simplify the buyer’s journey.
Chatbot technology can be utilized by companies on their websites to allow users to perform a wide range of actions, from ordering pizza, to reserving an appointment, to purchasing an airline ticket. They can also be programmed to automatically answer frequently asked questions from consumers so they don’t have to wait for a response or dial a number. Again, users expect instant gratification and knowledge from their online experiences, and it is up to brands to give them that immediate feedback.
Where Paid Media Comes In
So, now you have a chatbot fully programmed and set up on your website or on Facebook. Congratulations! What’s next? You need to find the best and most efficient way to harness the power of the technology to help achieve your business goals. That is where paid media comes in. There are a growing number of options to employ the effectiveness of chatbots in online media buying, whether on your website or on Facebook. The technology can be used to assist with upper-funnel goals (gathering information), all the way down to generating purchases (offering a coupon). The easiest of these is to implement a call-to-action within your digital ads to guide a user to the chatbot.
Consider this scenario: You are a furniture business and want to increase in-store traffic. With a small advertising budget, you don’t have enough to reach the minimum spend required to track store visits from digital advertising. With chatbots, you could guide users from your ads with a call-to-action to the chatbot and allow the user to reserve a time to come to the store for a personalized showing of items of interest.
Another innovative use of chatbots within the context of online media buying is with rich media display ads. This option requires a little more technical setup, but when done correctly, gives users the ability to engage with the chatbot directly within the ad unit. This would allow the user to obtain extra information about the company before clicking to the site, leading to higher quality site traffic.
As chatbot technology continues to evolve, opportunities for inclusion in digital advertising are sure to rapidly expand as well.
Things to Remember
One thing to keep in mind before implementing a chatbot: Make sure you have the resources in-house to intervene when necessary. There will inevitably be times where the chatbot will not be able to answer a user’s questions. If the chatbot ever becomes “stumped” by a consumer, there needs to be a person ready to step in within a reasonable amount of time.
Chatbot technology provides a new way for advertisers to capture user attention and to guide consumers down a path to a desired action or conversion. The digital advertising specialists at The Ward Group are always looking for innovative ways to utilize new technology like chatbots to achieve the goals of our clients.