tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/messaging Latest Messaging content from Econsultancy 2017-01-12T14:50:39+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68695 2017-01-12T14:50:39+00:00 2017-01-12T14:50:39+00:00 How brands are using WhatsApp for marketing Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a look at a few examples.</p> <h3>Clarks</h3> <p>Shoe retailer Clarks was one of the first brands to use WhatsApp for marketing purposes.</p> <p>In 2015, it rolled out an interactive storytelling campaign to promote its popular Desert Boot, using WhatsApp to connect customers with ‘key figures from subcultures of the past 65 years’. </p> <p>The campaign involved live-chatting with three characters with links to the Desert Boot and its place in history, taking users on a journey back to 1960s Paris, the Mod era, and the Reggae generation of Jamaica.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2965/Clarks.JPG" alt="" width="380" height="675"></p> <p>Aiming to change people’s perception of the brand, the decision to use WhatsApp was related to an increased targeting of millennials, with Clarks using the medium of live chat to better engage with a young demographic. </p> <p>By focusing on the idea that millennials crave rich and engaging ‘experiences’ rather than one-sided marketing, it cleverly brought storytelling into the world of <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>.</p> <h3>Hellman’s</h3> <p>Tapping into common cooking dilemmas, mayonnaise brand Hellman’s used WhatsApp to give Brazilian consumers a customized experience. </p> <p>Once they signed up for the WhatsCook campaign online, users were asked to take photos of the contents of their refrigerator so that chefs could offer tips and advice on what to make with the ingredients. </p> <p>While users could also access the service via social media platforms, using WhatsApp enabled a much more direct and personal element, with questions being answered in the moment of need. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xYN9A09iy5Y?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>With 13,000 signing up for the service and <a href="http://www.digitaltrainingacademy.com/casestudies/2016/03/social_messaging_case_study_hellmanns_successfully_taps_into_whatsapp.php" target="_blank">99.5% of users reporting approval</a>, the campaign proved to be a success in Brazil. As a result, it was then launched in Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.</p> <p>An early adopter of WhatsApp, Hellman’s proves that mobile messaging can be an ideal platform to solve specific needs of consumers. </p> <p>It also shows how brands can use WhatsApp as a place for educational content, similar to the vein of cookery videos or beauty tutorials on YouTube. </p> <h3>Agent Provocateur</h3> <p>As part of its 2016 Christmas campaign, British lingerie brand Agent Provocateur rolled out ‘Ménage à Trois’ – a personal shopping service on WhatsApp.</p> <p>Designed to increase levels of personalisation, the service involved couples partaking in a three-way conversation with an Agent Provocateur agent, who would then offer lingerie suggestions based on personality and preferences.</p> <p>As you might expect from the brand, it’s a rather a risqué example, but by asking people to actively seek out the service, it ensured only those who were keen would get involved.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2964/Agent_Provocateur.JPG" alt="" width="340" height="703"></p> <p>It's also a good example of how WhatsApp can be used for shopping inspiration as well as direct customer service. </p> <p>With mobile traffic reportedly <a href="http://www.startupdonut.co.uk/news/startup/christmas-2016-sees-surge-mobile-shopping" target="_blank">rising 26% last Christmas</a>, Agent Provocateur cleverly capitalised on consumers searching for gifts via their smartphone.</p> <h3>Buyagift</h3> <p>Last year, online gift retailer Buyagift began experimenting with WhatsApp to inform customers about deals and discounts on the site.</p> <p>By sending alerts direct to WhatsApp, the service was a way of prompting immediate action from customers, building on the idea that receiving a personal message on mobile feels more exclusive than an email.</p> <p>Despite the sales-driven nature of the service, it’s an interesting case of a brand using the app to promote consumer perks like deals and competitions. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2963/Buyagift.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="473"></p> <h3>BBC</h3> <p>The BBC first used WhatsApp during the 2014 Ebola crisis to update people about the virus in West Africa.</p> <p>More recently, BBC Africa launched an innovative WhatsApp series titled ‘Young, Angry and Connected’, telling the story of marginalized young Africans who are using social media and messaging apps to get their voices heard.</p> <p>Sending a short daily clip to anyone subscribed to the service, ‘Young, Angry and Connected’ is a powerful illustration of how news sites and publishers can instantly reach users.</p> <p>While it is reliant on getting people to subscribe, the opt-in element is also part of its appeal, with the assurance that users will already be invested and engaged.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Young, angry and connected</p> <p>Did you miss our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WhatsApp?src=hash">#WhatsApp</a> series from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DRCongo?src=hash">#DRCongo</a>?</p> <p>Watch:</p> <p><a href="https://t.co/Lm9JrFzz0Q">https://t.co/Lm9JrFzz0Q</a></p> — BBC Africa (@BBCAfrica) <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCAfrica/status/711512932572667904">March 20, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>It’s clear that consumers are now more willing than ever to interact with brands on messaging apps. Since <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots/">chatbot technology</a> launched on Facebook Messenger, 30,000 bots have been built for the platform, with many brands concentrating <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68636-pizza-express-channel-4-and-tfl-three-examples-of-brand-chatbots/" target="_blank">efforts in this area</a>.</p> <p>That doesn’t mean that WhatsApp should be ignored, with the previous examples showing its potential for engaging consumers in a more intimate way.</p> <p>While WhatsApp remains a bot-free zone for the time being, it’s worth keeping an eye on how brands make use of the service in future.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68678 2017-01-09T14:07:00+00:00 2017-01-09T14:07:00+00:00 The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry Nikki Gilliland <p>More specifically, the use of artificial intelligence in the travel industry. Why? Well, it’s already making waves. </p> <p>Providing travel brands the perfect opportunity to connect with consumers and enhance customer service - we’ve seen a number of businesses experimenting with the technology.</p> <p>Here’s how, along with a few of the most interesting examples to catch my eye.</p> <h3>Customer service</h3> <p>Customer service can make or break a hotel’s reputation. Consequently, AI’s ability to pre-empt and predict exactly what the customer needs and wants is one reason why hotels are cottoning on to the idea.</p> <p>Hilton is one of the most well-known examples, last year teaming up with IBM’s Watson to create Connie – a robot that provides help and information to hotel guests during their stay.</p> <p>Connie works by drawing on information from Wayblazer – a travel advice tool that also uses Watson – as well as human speech. Essentially, the more people talk to Connie, the more it will be able to interpret and analyse natural language.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jC0I08qt5VU?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It’s certainly an original and innovative new concept for guests. The question is – will people be put off by speaking to a robot rather than a human?</p> <p>According to a <a href="http://press.travelzoo.com/robophiles--robophobes--britons-divided-over-use-of-robots-in-travel" target="_blank">recent study by Travelzoo</a>, this is becoming less of an issue as time goes on. From a survey of more than 6,000 travellers, it found that two thirds of respondents would be comfortable with robots being used in the travel industry.</p> <p>What’s more, 80% expect robots to play a part in many aspects of life by 2020.</p> <h3>Data analysis</h3> <p>Dorchester Collection is another hotel chain to make use of AI. However, instead of using it to provide a front-of-house service, it has adopted it to interpret and analyse customer behaviour in the form of raw data.</p> <p>Partnering with technology company, RicheyTX, Dorchester Collection has helped to develop an AI platform called Metis.</p> <p>Delving into swathes of customer feedback such as surveys and reviews (which would take an inordinate amount of time to manually find and analyse) it is able to measure performance and instantly discover what really matters to guests.</p> <p>For example, Metis helped Dorchester to discover that breakfast it not merely an expectation – but something guests place huge importance on. As a result, the hotels began to think about how they could enhance and personalise the breakfast experience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The first cup of the day is the best... <a href="https://twitter.com/TheDorchester">@TheDorchester</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Parcafe?src=hash">#Parcafe</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Coffee?src=hash">#Coffee</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheDorchester?src=hash">#TheDorchester</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DCMoments?src=hash">#DCMoments</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/London?src=hash">#London</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParkLane?src=hash">#ParkLane</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LuxuryHotels?src=hash">#LuxuryHotels</a> <a href="https://t.co/FL505EmlaF">pic.twitter.com/FL505EmlaF</a></p> — Nathan Lewis (@_Nathan_Lewis_) <a href="https://twitter.com/_Nathan_Lewis_/status/803941091112288256">November 30, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>With 81% of people believing that robots would be better at handling data than humans, there is also a certain level of confidence in this area from consumers.</p> <h3>Direct messaging</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/" target="_blank">Chatbot technology</a> is another big strand of AI, and unsurprisingly, many travel brands have already launched their own versions in the past year or so.</p> <p>Skyscanner is just one example, creating a bot to help consumers find flights in Facebook Messenger. Users can also use it to request travel recommendations and random suggestions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2811/Skyscanner.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="528">  </p> <p>Unlike ecommerce or retail brands using chatbots, which can appear gimmicky, there is an argument that examples like Skyscanner are much more relevant and useful for everyday consumers.</p> <p>After all, with the arrival of many more travel search websites, consumers are being overwhelmed by choice – not necessarily helped by it. </p> <p>Consequently, a bot like Skyscanner is able to cut through the noise, connecting with consumers in their own time and in the social media spaces they most frequently visit.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2812/Skyscanner_2.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="523"></p> <h3>Future potential</h3> <p>So, we’ve already seen the travel industry capitalise on AI to a certain extent. But how will it evolve in the coming year?</p> <p>Here are a few suggestions:</p> <h4>Business travel</h4> <p>Undoubtedly, we’ll see many more brands using AI for data analysis as well as launching their own chatbots. There’s already been a <a href="https://skift.com/2016/10/11/expedia-plans-to-use-artificial-intelligence-for-customer-service/" target="_blank">suggestion that Expedia is next</a> in line, but it is reportedly set to focus on business travel rather than holidaymakers.</p> <p>Due to the greater need for structure and less of a desire for discovery, it certainly makes sense that artificial intelligence would be more suited to business travellers. </p> <p>Specifically, it could help to simplify the booking process for companies, as well as help eliminate discrepancies around employee expenses. </p> <p>With reducing costs and improving efficiency two of the biggest benefits, AI could start to infiltrate business travel even more so than leisure in the next 12 months.</p> <h4>Voice technology</h4> <p>Lastly, we can expect to see greater development in voice-activated technology.</p> <p>With voice-activated search, the experience of researching and booking travel has the potential to become quicker and easier than ever before. Similarly, as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68499-the-problem-with-voice-user-interfaces-like-amazon-alexa/">Amazon Echo</a> and Google Home start to become commonplace, more hotels could start to experiment with speech recognition to ramp up customer service.</p> <p>This means devices and bots (like the aforementioned Connie) could become the norm for brands in the travel industry.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/" target="_blank">15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68466-could-ai-kill-off-the-conversion-optimisation-consultant/" target="_blank">Could AI kill off the conversion optimisation consultant?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68158-five-ways-artificial-intelligence-can-help-marketers-enhance-the-customer-experience/" target="_blank">Five ways Artificial Intelligence can help marketers enhance the customer experience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68662 2016-12-23T10:06:08+00:00 2016-12-23T10:06:08+00:00 10 festive digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Oh, and don’t forget to check out the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for lots more!</p> <p>Here goes nothing…</p> <h3>Second week in December generates more conversions for online retailers</h3> <p>New data from Qubit has revealed the trends impacting online retail this Christmas.</p> <p>From analysis of 74m visits to 120 UK and US online retailers, it found that the third and fourth of December was the most popular Christmas shopping weekend for consumers to visit online retailers.</p> <p>However, the 10th and 11th of December was more successful overall, with online retailers converting a smaller number of consumers for slightly higher levels of revenue. Despite there being 5.51% fewer visitors than the previous weekend, conversion rates were 10.36% higher, with 0.92% more revenue generated.</p> <h3>Half of UK Christmas shoppers looking for last-minute bargains</h3> <p>According to recent research by SAS, nearly half of British consumers joining the Christmas shopping rush this week will be holding out for bargains.</p> <p>Despite the biggest discounting weekend of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, already being behind us, nearly a quarter of UK consumers will be leaving it until the last week before Christmas to buy gifts. </p> <p>What’s more, with 46% of shoppers citing the economy as having the biggest impact on how they will shop for gifts this year, nearly half will be on the look-out for last minute bargains.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2630/christmas_shopping.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="433"></p> <h3>The impact of ‘Smart Christmas’ for marketers</h3> <p>Based on this year’s Black Friday sales, the Chartered Institute of Marketing has predicted that smart devices – e.g. health devices and virtual reality – will be the top selling gifts this Christmas.</p> <p>However, it has also indicated that while this presents opportunity for marketers in 2017 – it could also pose problems.</p> <p>When it comes to health devices, the CIM suggest that brands need to be wary of data handling, as 57% of consumers do not trust organisations to use their data responsibly.</p> <p>Similarly, despite the growing popularity of virtual reality – and the Oculus headset set to be a popular gifting option – marketers need to consider whether or not virtual reality is truly an appropriate way to engage customers, or whether they are just jumping on the bandwagon.</p> <h3>Nearly a third of influencers regularly promote charities</h3> <p>According to new data from Buzzoole, social media influencers are challenging the perception of younger generations by regularly supporting charities.</p> <p>It found that 28% of social media influencers regularly support charities on their channels, with 74% saying that raising awareness of the causes they care about was a key priority for them. Likewise, 87% said sharing their own personal experiences is important, while 61% agreed that helping people is a big factor in what they do.</p> <p>Children’s and cancer charities are the most popular charities to talk about, with 19% and 21% of influencers citing these respectively.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/Zoella">@Zoella</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/PointlessBlog">@PointlessBlog</a> for granting 5wishes yesterday &amp; to <a href="https://twitter.com/lolascupcakes">@lolascupcakes</a> for the fab cupcake workshop! <a href="https://t.co/s04ZeyA2qY">pic.twitter.com/s04ZeyA2qY</a></p> — Rays of Sunshine (@RaysofSunshine) <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysofSunshine/status/720207773586321408">April 13, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Period between Christmas and New Year predicted for peer-to-peer shopping surge </h3> <p>Unwanted gifts are set to power a surge in online shopping between Christmas and New Year, according to new data released by eBay Advertising.</p> <p>In 2015, consumers were looking to snap up a bargain as early as Christmas Day, with “unwanted christmas present” being the most searched for item on eBay, dropping no lower than number two until 9pm that evening. </p> <p>If that is anything to go by, 2016 looks set to provide a similar opportunity for disappointed folk.</p> <h3>Amazon is the most valuable retail brand in the world</h3> <p>In a report on the <a href="http://www.kantarretail.com/brandz-top-25-most-valuable-global-retail-brands-20162017/">top 25 most valuable retail brands</a> in the world, BrandZ’s has named Amazon as the number one.</p> <p>With an estimated value of $98.98bn, the online retailer’s brand value has gone up by 59% year-on-year, outperforming others like Alibaba, Home Depot and Walmart.</p> <p>Though the list mainly features US brands, UK retailers Tesco and Marks &amp; Spencers were featured, coming in at numbers 15 and 24 respectively.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2628/Tesco.JPG" alt="" width="250" height="369"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2629/M_S.JPG" alt="" width="250" height="368"></p> <h3>53% of consumers happy to interact with brands on messaging apps</h3> <p>In a poll of 2,000 consumers in the UK and France, Kenshoo found that just over half are open to interacting with brands on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger – as long as they can block brands they are not interested in.</p> <p>The study found that 51% of app users see messaging as faster and more immediate than email interactions, while 48% feel it is less hassle than speaking to a company on the phone.</p> <p>Another advantage of brands using messaging apps could be convenience for joint purchases, with 15% of consumers liking the idea of a group interaction to discuss travel research, for example.</p> <p>Similarly, finding information quickly is also a positive, with 33% liking the fact that messaging apps retain conversations, meaning there is no need to search through previous emails or notes from telephone calls.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2625/Most_used_apps.JPG" alt="" width="571" height="464"></p> <p><em>(Most used apps)</em></p> <h3>Black Friday results in growth rate of 22.9% in Novemeber YoY </h3> <p>The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index have revealed how retailers slashed prices throughout Black Friday weekend.</p> <p>The category which saw the sharpest drop in prices was electricals, with the average basket value falling to £119 in November – a decrease of 18.5% on the previous month and 22.7% from November 2015.</p> <p>Average basket values decreased in all sectors from the previous month, apart from home &amp; garden, resulting in a year-on-year growth rate of 22.9% in November.</p> <h3>Boohoo is the top brand for Facebook Live video in 2016</h3> <p>With <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68640-why-live-video-was-the-biggest-social-trend-of-2016">live streaming truly taking off in 2016</a>, Socialbakers has rounded up the brands whose Facebook Live videos performed the best.</p> <p>With 313,282 interactions, Boohoo’s black Friday giveaway comes in at the top spot, followed by the Body Coach’s Live Hiit, which generated 22,303 interactions.</p> <p>Here is the top five:</p> <ol> <li>Boohoo.com – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/boohoo.com/videos/1442411715776720/" target="_blank">Live Black Friday give away</a> (313,282 interactions)</li> <li>The Body Coach – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/JoeWicksTheBodyCoach/videos/1064153536991915/">Live Hiit</a> (22,303 interactions)</li> <li>Xbox UK – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/xboxuk/videos/10153935439346344/">Forza Horizon 3</a> (18,554 interactions)</li> <li>Oh Polly – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ohpollyfashion/videos/927381400731700/">Online competition</a> (11,345 interactions)</li> <li>Chain Reaction Cycles – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChainReactionCycles/videos/10154549688487359/">Online competition</a>: Unior toolkit (9,343 interactions)</li> </ol> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fboohoo.com%2Fvideos%2F1442411715776720%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Online searches for cocktails peak on Christmas Day and NYE </h3> <p>According to Equimedia, drinks and spirits brands should be doing more to capitalise on search interest in the run up to Christmas.</p> <p>From research of 39 separate cocktail types categorised by their main spirit ingredient, it found that searches for cocktail recipes are at their peak on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.</p> <p>However, with conversions unlikely at this point, brands should be engaging consumers as interest ramps up throughout the festive period – with the aim of inspiring them to stock up in advance.</p> <p>Equimedia has also highlighted the dominance of major brands, with Smirnoff Vodka outranking all other types of vodka, and Jack Daniels doing the same for whiskey. Despite this, the rise in popularity of artisan gin shows there is opportunity for smaller brands, with Sipsmith now within striking distance of Gordons Gin as the most-searched for in the cateogory.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68641 2016-12-20T14:00:00+00:00 2016-12-20T14:00:00+00:00 Mobile marketing in 2017: Five expert predictions Nikki Gilliland <p>If you want to learn more about mobile marketing, be sure to check out the following resources from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-marketing/" target="_blank">Mobile Marketing Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-user-experience-mobile-marketing/" target="_blank">Mobile UX (User Experience) &amp; Marketing Training</a></li> </ul> <h3>1. Contextual marketing</h3> <p><strong>Carl Uminski, Co-Founder &amp; COO at SOMO Agency:</strong></p> <p>I foresee a greater emphasis on context for marketing through third party or OS level apps. </p> <p>Apple’s emphasis on providing access to third parties through its owned services such as Maps, Siri and iMessage in iOS10 creates a new opportunity to market to people during the process of performing an activity – and these ‘contextuals’ are likely to be more easy to convert than via reach alone. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2430/Mobile_marketing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="363"></p> <h3>2. Location-based services</h3> <p><strong>Martin Harrison, head of strategy at Huge:</strong></p> <p>Location-based services. Simple things like being able to see, split and pay the bill via mobile.</p> <p>Obviously, there will be a huge amount of badly targeted 10% off offers, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn’t it?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2427/Splittable.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="388"></p> <h3>3. Smart speakers</h3> <p><strong>Carl Uminski, SOMO Agency:</strong></p> <p>The launch of Google Home and the continuing success of Alexa provide new platforms for users to engage with brands via voice.</p> <p>Voice interfaces will continue to grow and grow in 2017, particularly with the launch of Pixel, Google Home and Alexa’s continuing improvement. </p> <p>Brands that aren’t in some way embracing the different interactions afforded by voice when compared to touch will lose out as it becomes more ingrained in consumer behaviour and starts to dominate specific types of interaction, such as commands, searches and questions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2428/Echo.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="452"></p> <h3>4. Integrating UX</h3> <p><strong>Steffan Aquarone, author of Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-marketing-best-practice-guide/">Mobile Marketing Best Practice Guide</a></strong></p> <p>I think a lot more mobile teams will be better organised to be able to work with user experience in mind.</p> <p>Constantly testing, getting feedback, building better products and then getting stuff out there - rather than trying to just plan and launch like in the late 2000s.</p> <p>I also see many of the principles of good product design becoming increasingly relevant to the way modern organisations organise themselves.</p> <h3>5. Push notifications</h3> <p><strong>Martin Harrison, Huge</strong></p> <p>I think push notifications could be the new pop-ups, with the caveat that some are useful, therefore the ones that are not useful will be even more infuriating.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2429/Push_notification.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="439"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68631 2016-12-15T11:07:00+00:00 2016-12-15T11:07:00+00:00 What were the biggest mobile marketing trends of 2016? Nikki Gilliland <h3>Chatbots </h3> <h4><strong>Carl Uminski, co-founder &amp; COO at SOMO Agency</strong></h4> <p>In terms of mobile, we’ve definitely seen the domination of messenger services leading to the onset of hype around chatbots. </p> <h4><strong>Tim Fidgeon, trainer of Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-marketing/" target="_blank">Mobile Marketing</a> course</strong></h4> <p>The emergence of chatbots has undoubtedly been one of the biggest trends of this year, with the amount of startups working on bot-related activities leading to talk of “<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68532-the-case-for-chatbots-being-the-new-apps-notes-from-websummit2016/" target="_blank">bots being the new apps</a>”.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2376/chatbots.JPG" alt="" width="461" height="671"></p> <p><em>For more chat about bots:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care" target="_blank">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/" target="_blank">Five pioneering examples of how brands are using chatbots</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68458-why-chatbots-are-an-important-opportunity-for-retailers" target="_blank">Why chatbots are an important opportunity for retailers</a></em></li> <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</a></em></li> </ul> <h3>AR and VR</h3> <h4><strong>Carl Uminski, SOMO Agency:</strong></h4> <p>Mobile’s part in the VR story has been apparent. VR has come of age with high-end launches for Vive and Oculus, while mobile has democratised the VR and 360 experience through Cardboard, Daydream, and Gear VR.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality/">Pokemon GO also resurrected AR</a> and context-based elements for gaming, reviving a technology that has been dormant for many years. </p> <h3>Improving UX</h3> <h4> <strong>Steffan Aquarone,</strong><strong> <a href="http://steffanaquarone.com/">entrepreneur</a> and author of Econsultancy’s guide on </strong><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/user-experience-and-interaction-design-for-mobile-and-web/">User Experience and Interaction Design for Mobile and Web</a></strong><strong>.</strong> </h4> <p>Successful products are entering the market and winning faster than ever before.</p> <p>It's partly down to the usual key ingredients - freedom from corporate restriction, incumbency and vested interests. But it's also because talented designers just seem to care more about the user experience, and are prepared to test their assumptions by talking to people rather than using PowerPoint presentations.</p> <p>It took me a while to get this, but it's the single biggest thing I've noticed define success in 2016.</p> <h4><strong>Josh Salvage, SEO manager at Jellyfish:</strong></h4> <p>The biggest mobile marketing trends this year have been around improving mobile UX, with speed being one of the most crucial elements.</p> <p>Google has heavily supported <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68490-google-s-accelerated-mobile-pages-12-pros-and-cons/">the Accelerated Mobile Pages project</a> - which currently supports news and recipe websites in search results.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2380/coding.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="400"></p> <h3>Mobile in-store</h3> <h4><strong>Carl Uminski, SOMO Agency:</strong></h4> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67418-what-is-location-based-advertising-why-is-it-the-next-big-thing/">Location-based marketing</a> and video have been two big trends in mobile this year, location adding another layer of contextual relevance and allowing for dynamic content to be pushed to users for personalisation.</p> <p>Video has taken off, with vertical video being driven by Snapchat and advertisers understanding the potential of short form, snackable video content to drive ROI on ad spend.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2378/snapchat_2.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="550"></p> <h3>Head spinning strategies</h3> <h4><strong>Martin Harrison, head of strategy at Huge</strong></h4> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67076-the-rise-and-rise-of-ad-blockers-stats/">Ad blocking</a>, people hating mobile ads, the growth of video, having to make an app but having no real reason to make an app.</p> <p>I think the technology is moving so fast that marketers’ heads are spinning.</p> <p>I think we’re also reaching that point where having “mobile” in front of the word marketing is not helping anyone.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68636 2016-12-14T14:02:00+00:00 2016-12-14T14:02:00+00:00 Pizza Express, Channel 4 and TFL: Three examples of brand chatbots Nikki Gilliland <p>For now, let’s take a look at some of the latest examples to pop up, from three very different UK brands.</p> <h3>Pizza Express</h3> <p>Following on from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68184-domino-s-introduces-dom-the-pizza-bot-for-facebook-messenger/" target="_blank">Domino's</a> and Pizza Hut, Pizza Express is the latest pizza chain to join the chatbot brigade.</p> <p>It has recently launched a bot as part of its Christmas marketing campaign, allowing restaurant diners to play the 'Dough Baubles' game via Messenger.</p> <p>By asking the bot to #shakethetree, customers will receive a personalised video along with the chance to win free pizzas as well as the restaurant’s famous dough balls. </p> <p>The game has already proved to be popular, with 75,000 people reportedly using it in first two weeks.</p> <p>Despite the bot mainly being promoted to diners in restaurants by a special code to scan on phones, I was also able to get involved simply by messaging Pizza Express on Facebook.</p> <p>There's not much to say about it other than that it's a fun bit of marketing - customers are likely to enjoy the light-hearted tone (and chance of a free meal).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2390/Pizza_Express_chat_bot.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="561"></p> <p>For Pizza Express, it is a great way to interact with consumers on social media as well as gain more in-depth data. Apparently, this bot only marks the start of the restaurant using the technology, with the brand also keen to adopt payment via Messenger in future.</p> <p>Of course, it is one thing to play a game via a chatbot, but will customers be as keen to use it to pay for food? A big stumbling block might be the public's willingness to put their trust in Facebook as a payment service. </p> <p>So far, it is unclear how many users have passed on card details via the platform, but with recent <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68332-should-marketers-be-more-concerned-about-facebook-s-video-metrics-faux-pas/" target="_blank">controversy over inflated metrics</a>, fake news, as well as a history of privacy issues, it might not be as many as brands might hope. </p> <p>However, regardless of whether the social commerce aspect takes off, Pizza Express’s success with #ShakeTheTree still shows that users are keen to use chatbots in different ways – <em>and</em> in different environments.</p> <p>What’s more, it is also hoping that the technology will help enhance its reputation for customer service, allowing the chain to easily respond to enquiries about opening hours and bookings. </p> <h3>Channel 4</h3> <p>A few months ago, Channel 4 created a Messenger chatbot to promote the second series of its acclaimed drama <em>Humans</em>.</p> <p>If you didn’t see the first series, the broadcaster also created an advert suggesting that robotic humans called ‘Synths’ were actually arriving in shops. This time around, its campaign is based around the notion that the Synths are malfunctioning. </p> <p>As well as an interview between the real editor-in-chief of the New Scientist and a fictional spokesperson from Persona Synthetics, other activity included placing trucks in cities across the country in pretence of being the “synthetic human collection service” for malfunctioning Synths.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9TrkZln4eyY?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>All of this marketing pointed people towards the <a href="http://www.personasynthetics.com/productrecall/" target="_blank">Persona Synthetics website</a>, where they can chat with Synths over Facebook Messenger.  </p> <p>Despite the fact that I’ve never even seen <em>Humans</em> before, I decided to check it out, resulting in a rather interesting conversation with ‘Walter’, my chosen Synth. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2420/Walter_3.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="526"></p> <p>And yes, things got weird, with Walter quickly playing up to his creepy robot persona.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2421/Walter_2.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="539"></p> <p>Some have suggested that Channel 4’s bot is a little self-indulgent, questioning whether or not the premise will be too confusing to viewers who haven’t seen the show - or a case of overkill for existing fans.</p> <p>However, I think it’s incredibly well done, and regardless of my awareness of the TV program it's definitely one of the best bots I’ve experienced.</p> <p>Most chatbots tend to have a limited amount of responses or say fairly basic things, but Walter definitely impressed with his creativity (and ability to tell a joke). That said, the conversation did seem to continue on the designated theme regardless of my responses.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2422/Walter_4.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="552"></p> <p>A great example of a chatbot being used for advertising purposes – it shows that the technology doesn’t have to be used purely for customer service.</p> <h3>TFL</h3> <p>Speaking of customer service, Twitter has recently announced the introduction of new chatbot features into its direct messaging service, designed to lure more brands into using it for this purpose.</p> <p>The features allows brands to set up automatic welcome messages whenever a user starts a conversation, as well as use quick replies to prompt the best ways to reply to a DM.</p> <p>One company to already get on board is Transport for London.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2388/TFL_bot.png" alt="" width="400" height="710"></p> <p>Now, travellers can instantly check the status of a tube line by clicking ‘check status now’ within a direct message. Even better, travellers can also subscribe to receive alerts, meaning that they’ll automatically be alerted whenever there is problem on the line.</p> <p>It’s a slick tool, and certainly makes sense for people who already use their phone (and Twitter) to check travel information on a daily basis. It also nicely prompts customers - when you search for a specific tube line, the 'provides support' description indicates the new feature is there.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2386/TFL_bot_4.png" alt="" width="350" height="622"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2387/TFL_bot_5.png" alt="" width="350" height="622"></p> <p>Another positive is that, even if you're talking to a specific line such as the Jubilee, you can also check the status of other lines in the same conversation.</p> <p>This will certainly be a time-saver for anyone who uses multiple tube lines within a single journey.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2389/TFL_bot_3.png" alt="" width="400" height="711"></p> <p>As well as creating a seamless customer experience, Twitter’s new bot feature is also an attempt to move conversations away from the public sphere into a private context, allowing for a greater exchange of information between brands and users.</p> <p>Likewise, with many brands now using Messenger for customer service, it is a strategic attempt from Twitter to catch up with Facebook's progress on bots.</p> <p>With many more predicted to launch in 2017, it'll certainly be interesting to see where chatbots reign supreme in 2017.</p> <p><em><strong>More chat about bots:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care" target="_blank">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/" target="_blank">Five pioneering examples of how brands are using chatbots</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68458-why-chatbots-are-an-important-opportunity-for-retailers" target="_blank">Why chatbots are an important opportunity for retailers</a></em></li> <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</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68630 2016-12-14T11:22:00+00:00 2016-12-14T11:22:00+00:00 Social media in 2017: What do the experts predict? Nikki Gilliland <p>We’ve asked some industry experts for their predictions on social media trends in 2017. The people offering up their opinions are:</p> <ul> <li>Kirsty Price, senior community manager at PSONA Social.</li> <li>Alice Reeves, associate director of social and outreach at Jellyfish.</li> <li>Jordan Stone, deputy head of strategy at We Are Social.</li> <li>Joanna Halton, head of client strategy at MyClever.</li> <li>Will Francis, founder of Vandal London.</li> <li>Michelle Goodall, social media consultant and tutor of Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-and-online-pr/" target="_blank">Social Media &amp; Online PR Training</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>Lots more live video</h3> <h4><strong>Kirsty Price:</strong></h4> <p>Gary Vaynerchuk called it over a year ago and it’s becoming clearer by the day that TV’s biggest competitor is live video on social media platforms.</p> <p>2016 has been the year of development and experimentation, with the launch of Facebook Live and platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram releasing video capture and live streaming products in Q4.</p> <p>However, 2017 is likely to be the year that live video shifts from early adopter to mass market use. There’s so much room for innovation in the live video space and I’m really excited to see how brands will use this medium creatively in 2017. </p> <h4><strong>Alice Reeves:</strong></h4> <p>Live video is going to continue to grow as a way of interacting with your audience in real time.</p> <p>I think people are bored of seeing traditional, highly polished, carefully constructed marketing all the time. Live video allows a more genuine connection with brands. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FNBCNews%2Fvideos%2F1562519697101388%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Micro-Influencers</h3> <h4><strong>Kirsty Price:</strong></h4> <p>On social media, attention is the currency and in 2017 everyone has the opportunity to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68608-could-l-oreal-s-beauty-squad-mark-a-shift-for-influencer-marketing/" target="_blank">become an influencer.</a> Savvy brands are starting to realise that they can generate an impressive return on investment working in partnership with people with around 1,000 followers, not just people with celebrity status.</p> <p>Off the back of this, we’ll see more and more influencer matchmaking tools popping up and (hopefully) more sophisticated social media disclosure tools.</p> <p><em>(For more on this topic see: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67807-is-micro-influencer-marketing-viable/">Is micro-influencer marketing viable?</a>)</em></p> <h3>AI and VR</h3> <h4><strong>Jordan Stone:</strong></h4> <p>There’s a lot of talk about artificial intelligence, but we haven’t really seen much true AI as of yet - just clever parlour tricks. The real story is automation, which will have a greater impact on marketing, with all elements of the agency process becoming ripe for potential automation.</p> <p>IBM’s Watson used automation to create a movie trailer earlier this year - ultimately the work needed a human touch to bring all the elements together but the project had huge implications for the creative industries.</p> <p>I’d expect augmented reality to continue to develop - Pokemon Go and Snapchat were such huge successes in 2016 that developers would be mad not to find use for them in 2017.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gJEzuYynaiw?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h4><strong>Alice Reeves:</strong></h4> <p>The biggest trend for next year has got to be <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketers-guide-to-virtual-reality/">virtual reality</a>. We saw the explosion of Pokémon Go this year and I can’t wait to see what’s going to be the next AR/VR craze.</p> <p>We’ve already got the first VR social network, vTime, and it’ll be interesting to see how this develops and what other contenders step into the market</p> <h4><strong>Joanna Halton:</strong></h4> <p>I also think that VR will start to reach a tipping point with consumers through the likes of Samsung headsets, Google Cardboard and Playstation VR.</p> <p>Live video and vertical video recording (not just horizontal video) are things that content creators and brand managers should begin to look at - if they aren’t already!</p> <h4><strong>Michelle Goodall:</strong></h4> <p>We'll see many more creative, transmedia campaigns incorporating AI and platforms like Facebook Messenger next year.</p> <p>One of my personal favourite integrated campaigns of 2016 was Channel 4's 'Human 2' fake product recall campaign. This example showcases the move towards AI and Bot integration in creative social media campaigns.</p> <p>Channel 4 ran print, TV and outdoor ads for Persona Synthetics, the fictional company recalling faulty synthetic humans or synths. All ads led to a website with a live chat function linked to Facebook Messenger, where the user has progressively creepy and realistic conversations with a malfunctioning synth.</p> <p>It's <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_reality_game">ARG</a> for the Facebook generation and a really brilliantly executed campaign to promote a second series to both existing and new viewers.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wvnrD3MHz4s?wmode=transparent" width="741" height="417"></iframe></p> <h3>Chatbots</h3> <h4><strong>Jordan Stone:</strong></h4> <p>Chatbots will show no sign of slowing down and with the launch of WhatsApp for business planned in 2017, I’d expect to see an explosion in the Instant Messaging Marketing world - perhaps even the opening of chatbot agencies.</p> <h4><strong>Will Francis:</strong></h4> <p>Automation of marketing triggers can be incredibly effective and efficient. With tools like Hubspot and Mailchimp making personalised lifecycle marketing (i.e. receiving communications based on your behaviour and your stage in the funnel) so cheap and easy, this will further extend into social in 2017.</p> <p>Expect more chatbots and intelligent communications through email and social from the brands you engage with.</p> <h3>Social being taken seriously</h3> <h4><strong>Joanna Halton:</strong></h4> <p>In 2017 I expect spend for social platforms to increase. This week has seen reports that digital will overtake linear TV spend and WPP reporting that Facebook is likely to be its second biggest supplier in 2017.</p> <p>It's all indicative of social being taken more seriously as a channel, with brand managers adopting large scale social inclusive campaigns and budgets that match.</p> <h4><strong>Kirsty Price: </strong></h4> <p>Social media marketing is such a fast-paced and ever-evolving industry and it’s so important to practice daily self-education and experimentation.</p> <p>That being said, I believe that we’re finally starting to see the ‘professionalisation’ of social media as a career with the release of certification programs from platforms and social media tools.</p> <p>As social media comes of age, it would be great to see more training and development opportunities arise that focus on both the theory and practice of social media, and how it fits into the overall marketing strategy. </p> <p><strong><em>On that note, make sure to check out Econsultancy’s range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/social/">social media training courses</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68458 2016-10-28T11:40:50+01:00 2016-10-28T11:40:50+01:00 Why chatbots are an important opportunity for retailers Bart Mroz <p dir="ltr">This is huge. As of February of this year, Facebook Messenger <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/417295/facebook-messenger-monthly-active-users/">surpassed 1bn</a> monthly active users, and WhatsApp <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/260819/number-of-monthly-active-whatsapp-users/">hit that same mark</a> in July.</p> <p dir="ltr">For many years messaging platforms like these were void of brand or business integration opportunities, aside from general brand awareness and customer engagement.</p> <p dir="ltr">After all, even the world’s largest corporations don’t have the resources that would be needed to personally engage in conversations with millions of individual consumers simultaneously. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0885/chatbots.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="519"></p> <p dir="ltr">At least, that <em>was</em> true. But in the past several months, everything has changed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now that Facebook opened its platform to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">chatbots</a>, companies have tremendous new opportunities not just to interact with consumers on massive scale.</p> <p dir="ltr">They can now transact as well — directly and in real time.   </p> <h3 dir="ltr">A mobile-driven opportunity</h3> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67767-will-conversational-marketing-become-a-reality-in-2016/">Conversational commerce</a> opens up new opportunities for retail brands to tap into the strong growth that we’re already seeing in <a href="https://www.internetretailer.com/2015/08/18/mobile-commerce-now-30-all-us-e-commerce">mobile commerce, a growth that amounted to 29.7% last year</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">With such large growth, brands should be selling to consumers through any app, especially those that are used most frequently, such as messaging.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now that brands are free to enter messaging channels across nearly all major platforms, they can engage consumers one-on-one in the places where they already spend large amounts of time and create new buying opportunities. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">The race begins</h3> <p dir="ltr">Since the playing field is so new, best practices are still in flux, but a number of brands have quickly jumped on this opportunity and experimented with the channel.</p> <p dir="ltr">One example is <a href="http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/messaging/22588.html">H&amp;M</a>, which created a chatbot that suggests various outfits to users and directs them to buy through the messaging platform.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/13/12170682/pizza-hut-chatbot-catch-up">Pizza Hut</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68184-domino-s-introduces-dom-the-pizza-bot-for-facebook-messenger/">Domino's</a> are also testing out chat commerce by allowing customers to select and order pizzas through a few text-based commands.</p> <p dir="ltr">So now it’s easier than ever to get dinner while chatting with friends at the same time.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Enabling frictionless shopping</h3> <p dir="ltr">What do all these new chat-based shopping options mean for consumers?</p> <p dir="ltr">For one, it’s way easier to purchase products now, because the number of steps has been cut down.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>A conversation with the Domino's Pizza chatbot</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0887/dom_pizzabot.png" alt="" width="750" height="516"></p> <p dir="ltr">Instead of thinking about a purchase, navigating to a mobile app or website, finding the exact product you want, and then entering payment information — you simply open a conversation in your messenger app (which you were probably using already) and type what you’re looking for.</p> <p dir="ltr">Instantly, you see relevant products and have the ability to buy. The transaction friction of old is now greatly reduced. </p> <h3 dir="ltr">Tools for creation</h3> <p dir="ltr">Ready to take the plunge? There are already a number of different platforms that brands can use to create commerce-enabled chatbots.</p> <p dir="ltr">Which one to use depends on your objective and how complex you want the experience to be.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.mrchatbot.com/">Mr. Chatbot</a> is a chatbot platform that easily integrates with Facebook Messenger.</p> <p dir="ltr">All your customers have to do is send a message to your Facebook page and they’ll automatically receive information about your store and its products through a chatbot.</p> <p dir="ltr">For brands wanting a more integrated approach that resides on a pre-existing website, a more customizable platform might be better.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.botcommerce.io/">Botcommerce</a> integrates with Magento and Shopify-based sites directly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Its chatbot capabilities have built-in features (e.g. custom welcome messages, order status updates, tracking number requests, and simple FAQ searches) that are similar to that of a full ecommerce site.</p> <p dir="ltr">There are also plenty of other bot platforms like <a href="http://msg.ai/">Msg.ai</a> that don’t enable direct transactions but still guide shoppers through the search and discovery stage of the journey.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Improvements to come</h3> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to providing shopping capabilities, these first generation conversational commerce experiences are pretty okay.</p> <p dir="ltr">But by virtue of their newness, there’s lots of room for improvement and innovation. </p> <p dir="ltr">Chatbots are more than just information-providing, transactional computer programs. They offer companies the opportunity to create a personality that reinforces the brand.</p> <p dir="ltr">The deeper the relationship that a chatbot can create with the consumer, the the more likely she or he is to accept product suggestions, thereby increasing the average basket size.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, there aren’t many chatbots that infuse commerce capabilities with authentic and engaging personalities.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://imperson.com/">Imperson</a> doesn’t yet enable commerce but is the current leader in creating personality-driven chatbots, and the company has extensive experience working with some of the entertainment industry’s most famous personalities like <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/chat-bots-could-make-facebook-money-2016-1">Miss Piggy</a> and <a href="http://digiday.com/brands/great-scott-doc-brown-facebook-messenger-talk-future/">Doc Brown</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr">Introducing realistic personalities such as these boosts brands’ rapport with their constituents, who in turn become more comfortable transacting en masse through the messaging platform.</p> <p dir="ltr">Personality is the missing piece in ecommerce transactions, and now is the perfect time to start experimenting with it.</p> <p dir="ltr">The brands that create connections are the ones that will come out on top.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">In conclusion...</h3> <p dir="ltr">Messaging platforms and the retail industry are now being revolutionized with the advent of conversational commerce.</p> <p dir="ltr">The playing field has not been defined yet but as more and more people get used to transacting on chat, we’ll see a plethora of new and exciting chatbots.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is the time to get in, to be an early adopter, to write the rules and blaze the trail of chatbots.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68415 2016-10-14T11:26:53+01:00 2016-10-14T11:26:53+01:00 The low-down on Facebook Marketplace: Is it any good? Nikki Gilliland <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0303/notification.PNG" alt="" width="640" height="219"></p> <p>While people have been buying and selling on the platform for a while, the activity previously took place within separate Facebook Groups. </p> <p>Now aiming to streamline the process, as well as open up items to millions more users, Facebook is hoping its marketplace will rival the likes of Craigslist and eBay.</p> <p>So, is it any good?</p> <p>And more to the point, will anyone actually use it?</p> <p>Here’s a closer look.</p> <h3>How does it work?</h3> <p>The premise of Facebook Marketplace is pretty simple, and like the rest of the app, it is pretty easy to use.</p> <p>If your location service is enabled, on entering the marketplace you will automatically be shown what people are selling nearest to you.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0306/buy_and_sell.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <p>The top header is split into sell, categories, search and 'your items' - where you can view anything you have bid on or are selling.</p> <p>The amount of categories is quite vast, with everything from bikes to books on offer.</p> <p>There's even a classifieds section for housing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0307/categories.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <p>Since the launch of the app, there's been a lot in the press about people using the app to sell drugs and other dodgy stuff.</p> <p>While I've not come across anything too bad, I have seen a few strange items, including the recent trend of selling the new £5 note.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0308/five_pounds.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <p>If anything, this just shows how easy the feature is to use.</p> <p>It only takes a few minutes to set up an item to sell, so, naturally people are also using it as a solution for their own boredom.</p> <h3>How easy is it to buy and sell?</h3> <p>To find out just how simple it is, I decided to sell a rather charming backgammon set.</p> <p>I managed to post it within the space of about two minutes.</p> <p>I took a snap, included a description as well as my location, and that was that. As easy as updating your status or posting a photo.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0309/selling.PNG" alt="" width="250"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0310/ted_baker_set.PNG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>Nobody has responded just yet, though I can see how many people have viewed the item. </p> <p>Buying - or at least bidding on something - is just as easy.</p> <p>Clicking onto any item, you are met with the seller's location as well as a very basic profile.</p> <p>Here you can ask questions about the sale or place a bid.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0311/location.PNG" alt="" width="250"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0312/profile.PNG" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>At this point, it is entirely left up to the buyer and seller to negotiate the final details.</p> <p>There is no involvement from Facebook about how you pay or collect the items, meaning the process involves quite a bit of negotiation in Messenger.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0313/notifications.PNG" alt="" width="300"></p> <h3>Will people use it?</h3> <p>As well as issues relating to privacy and safety, the main issue about Facebook Marketplace is whether people will actually follow through with purchases.</p> <p>Without an in-built payment feature, users are more likely to abandon items. </p> <p>Having this option would also encourage more spontaneous buying as well as take away the negotiation aspect.</p> <p>Without it, the experience has the potential to become frustrating and less than clear-cut.</p> <p>Another feature it could definitely do with is some sort of review system.</p> <p>As it stands, users can only see what items a person is selling - there is no indication of how successful or reliable they actually are.</p> <p>On the flip side, there is also nothing to reassure sellers that a potential buyer is not leading them on.</p> <p>All in all, it feels like a bit of a gamble.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>If Facebook figures out the aforementioned issues, Facebook Marketplace has great potential to disrupt the likes of Craiglist and eBay.</p> <p>The real-time element, combined with the unbeatable convenience of living inside the app itself, means that it could easily become the first port of call for buying and selling locally.</p> <p>Until then, you know where to go if you're in the market for a £5 note.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68196 2016-08-18T01:00:00+01:00 2016-08-18T01:00:00+01:00 The latest messaging app unicorn: India's Hike Jeff Rajeck <p>But now India has its own homegrown messaging app, Hike.</p> <p>Hike has recently been in the news as the company just received a whopping $175m in investment from WeChat's parent, Tencent, and iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn.  </p> <p><strong>This investment values Hike at $1.4bn</strong>, firmly pushing the company into unicorn territory.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8090/banner.png" alt="" width="523" height="226"></p> <h3>Hike's origins</h3> <p>Originally launched in December 2012 (12/12/12), Hike was set up as a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Softbank.  </p> <p>Its founder and CEO is a young, outspoken entrepreneur, Kavin Bharti Mittal.  </p> <p>Mittal's father, Sunil Bharti Mittal, founded India's largest telco, Bharti Airtel, and is, consequently, one of India's richest men.</p> <p>Hike's background and subsequent funding means that Hike not only has deep pockets, but it also has strong telco industry connections in India.  </p> <p>Because of this, it is likely that the messaging app will gain marketshare and continue to be a strong challenger in the country for some time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8091/2016-08-17_12_07_13-blank.pptx_-_PowerPoint.png" alt="" width="538" height="301"></p> <p>Also interesting is that Hike has been able to attract Western investment, sponsorship and talent to its advisory board.  </p> <p>Quora, WordPress, and Dropbox have been confirmed as investors in the app and PepsiCo, Amazon, Unilever, and Zynga are partnered with the app.  </p> <p>Additionally, Crunchbase lists Quora founder Adam D'Angelo and Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg as members of Hike's board and advisors.</p> <h3>The Hike app</h3> <p>Hike offers many of the features we have grown to expect in messaging apps: chat, free voice calls, filesharing, and the now nearly ubiquitous stickers.</p> <p>The company also emphasizes that <strong>Hike works well in a slow internet environment (2G and 3G)</strong> and users can contact friends not already on Hike via SMS.  </p> <p>This is particularly important in India where mobile internet connectivity lags many other countries and those who are online often experience slow internet speeds.</p> <p>To help its financially-challenged user base, Hike also offers a limited number of free SMS messages to its members.  </p> <p>Users get some free SMS just for joining, but are able to earn more by inviting others and spending more time using the app.</p> <p>SMSs have to be sent via the app, natch.</p> <h3>Hike's numbers</h3> <p>Though Hike does not report monthly active users, it has regularly given updates about the growth of its userbase and usage statistics.</p> <p>The latest figures are from January 2016, when Hike announced that it had 100m users who, collectively, send 40bn messages per month.</p> <p>Hike's users are also overwhelming Indian (95%) and (heads up marketers) <strong>90% are under the age of 30.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8092/2016-08-17_12_08_15-blank.pptx_-_PowerPoint.png" alt="" width="521" height="316"></p> <h3>Trying out Hike</h3> <p>Though mostly used in India, Hike is available worldwide through Google Play (Android) and the App Store (iOS).</p> <p>App registration is straightforward and fairly typical of messaging apps these days. You give Hike your phone number, it texts you a code, and you're pretty much done.</p> <p>Once registered, you simply allow it to snoop through your phonebook and the app adds your contacts who are already on Hike to the app.</p> <p>Using it is simply a matter of updating your profile, posting updates, and initiating private chats or calls with your friends. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8093/hike-messenger-L.jpg" alt="" width="465" height="310"></p> <p>Hike also offers integrated apps for users in India such as news, games, coupons, and a carpooling app.  </p> <h3>Hidden chats</h3> <p>One interesting feature is that Hike lets you 'hide' chats using 'Hidden Mode'.  In order to see hidden chats afterwards, Hike requires that users enter a pre-set passcode.  </p> <p>Hike can also delete all hidden chats upon exit, offering extra protection for the security conscious.</p> <p>Apparently this feature attracts young adults in India to allow them to chat whilst being observed by overbearing parents.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8094/hidden.png" alt="" width="400" height="286"></p> <p>This feature, along with the integrated apps, distinguishes Hike from WhatsApp and has helped it build up its user numbers quickly.</p> <h3>What does Hike mean for marketers?</h3> <h4>1. Messaging is going local</h4> <p>Whereas at one time it seemed like one or two players could dominate globally, <strong>the messaging app market is now looking like a multi-horse race.</strong></p> <p>China, Japan, Korea, and now India all have their own chat apps along with the investment dollars necessary to play the long game.</p> <p>Also, <strong>it would not be wise to underestimate how these apps can benefit from patriotic tendencies</strong>.  </p> <p>Given the choice of equals, we may find that people are more prone to use apps which originate from and benefit their home countries.</p> <p>Ultimately, this means that global marketers should become familiar with the functionality, nuances, and reach of these homegrown apps.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8095/Hike-Messenger-App.jpg" alt="" width="438" height="274"></p> <h4>2. Messaging apps are not as sticky as once thought</h4> <p>You can argue that Hike offers no new messaging features for consumers (besides that cool Hidden Mode), but that is missing the point.</p> <p>Sure, people in various countries could use one of Facebook's apps, but <strong>there is clearly a trend favoring these new upstarts.</strong></p> <p>Additionally, slick apps with lots of features seem to be much easier for local markets to imitate than was previously thought. Even the intricate Snapchat <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68144-five-things-you-should-know-about-snow-asia-s-snapchat/">now has local competition in China</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it seems that <strong>the 'stickiness' of network effects are not as strong as most suspected</strong>.</p> <p>Apps with critical mass in one demographic in a market can indeed be overtaken by another who can reach the younger demographic.  </p> <p>We have heard this about Snapchat in the West, this may now be true for Hike in India.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8097/Hike_messenger.jpg" alt="" width="459" height="306"></p> <h4>3. Marketers now need to know another platform</h4> <p>Just last year, it all seemed so easy. Get up to speed on Google, Facebook, and maybe Twitter and the world was your (marketing) oyster.</p> <p>Now, things are different. Many markets are now in the process of adopting a new messaging platform and so marketers with a global focus have some catching up to do.</p> <p>(For subscribers, Econsultancy helpfully offers 2016 guides on the digital landscape in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-china-digital-report">China</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-japan-digital-report">Japan</a>.)</p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>There is no doubt about it.  The $175m investment at a $1.4bn valuation has put Hike on the messaging map.</p> <p>Though the app offers very little in new features, Hike is experiencing massive growth in India and is now a significant part of India's digital future.  </p> <p>Its founder's ties to the telecom industry in India is further evidence that Hike is not going away any time soon.</p> <p>So, for those who are marketing in India or plan to do so in the future, meet your new platform - Hike.</p>