tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/native-apps Latest Native Apps content from Econsultancy 2017-02-14T10:41:36+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68802 2017-02-14T10:41:36+00:00 2017-02-14T10:41:36+00:00 Five content marketing examples from dating sites and apps Nikki Gilliland <p>As online dating services become increasingly popular – with <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/02/11/15-percent-of-american-adults-have-used-online-dating-sites-or-mobile-dating-apps/" target="_blank">15% of all American adults</a> reportedly having used one – these sites are cleverly tapping into customer demand.</p> <p>While some larger dating sites rely on television or PPC advertising, good old fashioned content marketing remains a great way to attract a clientele.</p> <p>Here’s a look at just a few examples. And to learn more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">Content Marketing Training Courses</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-content-marketing/">The Future of Content Marketing Report</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/implementing-content-strategy-digital-best-practice/">Implementing Content Strategy: Digital Best Practice</a></li> </ul> <h3>OKCupid</h3> <p>OKCupid was one of the first online dating websites to use content to drive its overall strategy.</p> <p>The original incarnation – OKTrends – was run by the company's co-founder, Christian Rudder, who used his mathematical background to set the tone of the blog. </p> <p>Essentially, he turned statistics and user data into fascinating articles, generating huge interest from online readers in general - not just those using its main dating service.</p> <p>Since being acquired by Match.com the blog has changed, however data and insight from the dating community remains at the heart of its content.</p> <p>It also regularly posts larger features, designed to poke fun at the perils of modern dating. One recent example is the amusing ‘Dictionary for the Modern Dater’, found on its Medium blog. Managing to steer clear of the clichés of online dating, it uses relatable humour to engage and entertain readers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3867/OKCupid.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="422"></p> <h3>Match.com</h3> <p>Match.com is another site that uses data to inform its content, largely for its annual ‘Singles in America’ study, which surveys over 5,000 US singletons to create informative and in-depth infographics and blog posts.</p> <p>Last year, the ‘Clooney Effect’ was one of the most successful pieces of content to arise, subsequently being picked up by a number of high profile publishers such as Glamour and Business Insider. </p> <p>Stemming from the statistic that 87% of men would date a woman who made ‘considerably more money’ than them (like Clooney and his highly successful wife, Amal Alamuddin) – it built on themes of positivity and empowerment to generate interest. With a reported 38% increase in traffic around the period the study was published, the results speak for themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3868/Match_survey.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="428"></p> <h3>eHarmony</h3> <p>Unlike the aforementioned examples, eHarmony relies on emotive storytelling rather than statistics.</p> <p>With a helpful and thoughtful tone of voice, it aims to stem the fears and general stigmas that surround online dating, using advice-based articles to drive registration on the main site. </p> <p>While some have labelled its style of content as patronising, one area where eHarmony undeniably succeeds is in user-generated content. The 'success stories' page of its website is littered with positive reinforcement, cleverly breaking down content into various categories to target a wide range of demographics and backgrounds.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3870/eharmony.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="720"></p> <h3>Tinder</h3> <p>In just two short years, Tinder acquired more than 50m users – a feat that can perhaps be put down to its shrewd use of third-party integration. </p> <p>By enabling users to sign up with their Facebook login, it cleverly cuts through the frustrations of traditional dating websites, encouraging a younger audience to download and use the app.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, Tinder is also one of the best examples of how to use social media to engage users. Not only does it integrate social on its app (now allowing users to cherry-pick the Instagram photos that they would like to show on their profile) it also populates its own social media with interesting, humorous and decidedly tongue-in-cheek content.</p> <p>For example, its Facebook page continuously drives interest. Last year, a Valentine’s Day post generated over 58,000 likes, 9,600 shares, and 2,900 comments – coming out on top in terms of engagement for online dating sites.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftinder%2Fphotos%2Fa.378789085524216.87768.353659601370498%2F914594031943716%2F%3Ftype%3D3&amp;width=500" width="500" height="589"></iframe></p> <h3>Hinge</h3> <p>Dating app, Hinge, has turned its back on ‘swipe culture’, recently introducing a subscription-based model to help users cultivate meaningful connections. Features of the app, unlike Tinder, are also designed to resonate on a deeper level. For example, users are required to ‘heart’ specific parts of another’s profile such as the book they’re currently reading or their go-to karaoke song.</p> <p>Hinge also builds on its positioning as a ‘relationship app’ rather than a dating app to inform its wider content marketing. </p> <p>A recent email campaign, launched in time for Thanksgiving, asked users what they were thankful for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3874/Hinge.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="787"></p> <p>Using a seasonal theme alongside a message of gratitude – it was a clever example of how to use content to reinforce brand values and reignite user interest. </p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64270-five-dating-tips-you-can-apply-to-your-email-marketing/" target="_blank">Five dating tips you can apply to your email marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68068-four-ways-brands-are-marketing-through-dating-services/" target="_blank">Four ways brands are marketing through dating services</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67563-how-tinder-has-changed-ecommerce/" target="_blank">How Tinder has changed ecommerce</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68789 2017-02-09T09:45:36+00:00 2017-02-09T09:45:36+00:00 How smart-switching energy apps are tapping into customer need Nikki Gilliland <p>A new generation of ‘smart switching’ companies are now popping up in order to bridge this gap. Capitalising on so-called consumer inertia, they are using digital technology to make switching even simpler. </p> <p>The question is – is there really a demand?</p> <p>Here’s a bit more info on this new generation of energy-related brands. </p> <h3>What exactly do they do? </h3> <p>Smart switching services essentially act like real-time deal trackers. They mostly monitor and compare energy deals, delivering cheaper tariffs as they appear and offering users the opportunity to directly switch there and then. </p> <p>Some companies do this via a website, but most have a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66837-three-points-to-consider-when-developing-a-mobile-app-strategy/" target="_blank">mobile app</a>, making it even easier and more convenient for consumers to find a cheaper set-up. </p> <h3>How are they marketing their services? </h3> <p>Voltz is one example of a new switching service, designed for the 80% of households who “do not have the time or the inclination to visit a comparison site”. </p> <p>Its positioning is all about ease and convenience, with a tone of voice that almost makes actively switching sound like more hassle than it's worth. This seems slightly misleading, as again, going about it the regular way isn’t that difficult.</p> <p>However, from its ‘super easy registration’ to its ‘tap to switch’ option, it probably does make life slightly easier just by allowing you to use the service on your smartphone. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3777/Voltz.JPG" alt="" width="270" height="554"></p> <p>Voltz makes money by taking a commission from key energy suppliers, meaning that if a cheaper tariff is found with another company, users will be prompted to call in order to switch.  </p> <p>Flipper is a similar company, but one that aims to go a step further by taking control of the entire switching process on behalf of consumers. Instead of commission, it works by charging customers £25 a year – a fairly acceptable amount considering it claims to save you £50 a year at least.  </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">When we make the right decision once, life can be a lot simpler. Join <a href="https://twitter.com/flippercomm">@flippercomm</a> and put energy bills out of your mind once and for all! <a href="https://t.co/81TsHBkWTA">pic.twitter.com/81TsHBkWTA</a></p> — Flipper Community (@flippercomm) <a href="https://twitter.com/flippercomm/status/813464576188698625">December 26, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Like Voltz, the company promotes a sense of convenience, but focuses a little more on the transparency and honesty of its services. I noticed its website and presence on social media is particularly focused on providing reassurance, using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> to instil trust. </p> <p>Finally, Swuto is a service (like Voltz) that works on commission from suppliers. However, its biggest difference is that it also allows customers to switch on behalf of family members such as children living away from home or elderly parents. </p> <h3>What are the implications? </h3> <p>It’s been suggested that the arrival of these new companies could impact how suppliers set out tariffs in future, perhaps offering short-term options with the knowledge that there will be greater demand from smart switching.  </p> <p>For consumers, this can only be a good thing. </p> <p>With favourable reviews from users, and Flipper in particular appearing to gain momentum, we could see many more of these services popping up in future. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Signed up <a href="https://twitter.com/flippercomm">@flippercomm</a> last night for £25. Over night they found a new deal that saves estimated £266 a year. Nice. <a href="https://t.co/UQlqgEB2fK">https://t.co/UQlqgEB2fK</a></p> — Gareth Coxon (@GarethDotDesign) <a href="https://twitter.com/GarethDotDesign/status/784299192680189952">October 7, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>While the concept might sound like it’s merely giving into laziness, it is clear the demand is there. And if it prevents people from paying over the odds on energy bills – why not? </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68729 2017-01-25T10:44:32+00:00 2017-01-25T10:44:32+00:00 A review of Litsy: The social media app for book lovers Nikki Gilliland <p>So, is Litsy worth using instead? Here are my thoughts.</p> <h3>The basics</h3> <p>I didn’t know much about Litsy before downloading it, but it is pretty easy to get to grips with. </p> <p>Essentially, it is a social media network that combines the best features of both <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65939-20-instagram-stats-marketers-need-to-know/" target="_blank">Instagram</a> and Goodreads. I signed up using my Facebook account, which is always a handy feature, and dived in.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3293/Litsy_1.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3294/Litsy_3.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <p>There are two main ways to navigate the app.</p> <p>First, you can scroll through your feed to view posts from the various accounts you follow. I don’t know anyone that already uses it, so I began by following the Litsy account, a couple of big book publishers, and a few random people with high ‘litfluence’ (more on that later).</p> <p>Secondly, you can find discussion topics by searching for specific books, authors or tags.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3295/Litsy_4.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3296/Litsy_5.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <p>There are three ways to post on the app, including a ‘blurb’, a ‘quote’ or a ‘review’. Each one has a 300-character limit and the option to add an image.</p> <p>A blurb can be something like an image caption or a short comment. The other two options are pretty self-explanatory.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3299/Litsy_12.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3301/Litsy_9.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>Building a community</h3> <p>As well as posting content, users can also create their own ‘to-read’ lists and build a ‘litfluence’ score. The latter is influenced by how many books or pages you have read or how many likes you’ve gotten. This gamification element is an added bonus – it adds to the satisfaction of finishing a book and gives users an incentive to keep using the app.</p> <p>Another aspect of Litsy that particularly stands out is its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68720-six-successful-examples-of-online-brand-communities/" target="_blank">community focus</a>.</p> <p>Unlike other social networks where conversation can be random or irrelevant to other users, everything on Litsy is always connected back to the core topic of books, ensuring that the community is built on real and enthusiastic interest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3302/Litsy_6.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3300/Litsy_11.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> </p> <p>There is the chance that it will become very 'fandom'-orientated, with a lot of posts about particularly popular series or characters.</p> <p>However, this is not necessarily a negative, as if you are not interested in the subject, it doesn't have to affect your own experience - you can simply follow more relevant accounts.</p> <h3>Instagram-style features</h3> <p>Another aspect of Litsy that I like is its concise and highly visual nature.</p> <p>If you don’t want to post reviews, you can still be active on the app by posting short comments or images. Its character limit also prevents people from writing rambling reviews. Instead of the standard star rating system, it has a four category options of Pick, So-So, Pan or Bail.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3303/Litsy_16.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> </p> <p>While this might frustrate a lot of people, I actually find it quite useful.</p> <p>So many online reviews are wishy-washy or give a nonchalant three stars, whereas this forces you to come to a concrete conclusion about a book and decide whether or not you’d recommend it to a friend. The option to flag up spoilers is also very clever, and prevents anyone from unwittingly reading reviews they don't want to.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Instagram-style photo editing feature encourages creativity and real-time posting. I came across a lot of people simply sharing what or where they were reading. Again, this builds on the community aspect, with people providing context to simply share in the enjoyment of the reading experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3306/Listy_7.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3307/Litsy_8.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <p>Similar to Instagram or Twitter, the tag feature aids discovery. If you are interested in a particular genre, such as crime fiction, searching this tag will immediately provide you with inspiration or ideas about what to read next. </p> <p>If you're someone who finds it difficult to narrow down books to read, this feature is definitely helpful, as it's very easy to spot popular tags or find Litsy's 'most-stacked' titles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3304/Litsy_14.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3305/Litsy_15.png" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>There’s a lot to enjoy about Litsy. In terms of user experience, its streamlined design and straightforward navigation makes it simple and intuitive to use.</p> <p>While some people might not appreciate its short character limit or over-arching focus on imagery, I think this nicely complements the 'in-the-moment' mobile experience. </p> <p>My lasting impression is also that it’s a very positive app. Unlike Goodreads, there are few scathing or rambling reviews, and in contrast to Instagram, you’ll find no self-obsessed selfies. It is what it says on the tin - a platform to celebrate and indulge in a love of books.</p> <p>Like most communities, its success will depend on whether it generates enough interest and activity to be sustained. So if you're a book worm, it's worth giving it a whirl.</p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66837-three-points-to-consider-when-developing-a-mobile-app-strategy/" target="_blank">Three points to consider when developing a mobile app strategy</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65690-is-there-a-future-for-native-apps/" target="_blank">Is there a future for native apps?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68727 2017-01-20T14:14:00+00:00 2017-01-20T14:14:00+00:00 10 of the best digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Don’t forget, you can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for lots more insight.</p> <p>On we go...</p> <h3>Less than half of consumers satisfied with retail apps</h3> <p>New research from Apadmi has found that retail apps are failing to meet the expectations of consumers, with just 40% of UK consumers being satisfied with the apps they’ve downloaded in the past.</p> <p>Nearly one in five say they would like retailers to invest more heavily in improving apps, while 30% would be more likely to use them if they had a wider range of features. </p> <p>Lastly, 25% of consumers say they would think less of a retailer that failed to update its app regularly.</p> <h3>Online searches for food trends increase</h3> <p>New data from Hitwise has revealed that online searches related to diet, nutrition and super-food have risen by 70% in the past two years. Searches for ‘gluten-free’ have become particular popular, rising 141% since 2014. </p> <p>Meanwhile, searches for ‘paleo’ enjoyed a big spike at the start of 2016, however with New Year’s resolutions waning, interest declined as the months passed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3234/Gluten_Free_Searches.png" alt="" width="624" height="310"></p> <h3>92% of online consumers don’t intend to buy during a first visit </h3> <p>A new report by Episerver has discovered that too much of a focus on conversion means retailers could be missing out on opportunities for engagement.</p> <p>In a survey of over 1,000 consumers, it was found that 92% who visit an ecommerce website or mobile app with the intent of buying rarely or never complete checkout.</p> <p>This reflects the importance of relevant and engaging content that supports the entire purchase journey, rather than content that's geared around getting consumers to buy.</p> <h3>Location &amp; convenience drives supermarket shoppers </h3> <p>Despite continual ‘price wars’ between the big four supermarkets, consumers don’t choose where to shop based on low prices - this is according to a new study by TCC.</p> <p>In a survey of 1,530 UK shoppers, proximity and location was found to have the biggest influence on where consumers shop, with 48% of Brits citing this as the main factor. </p> <p>40% of survey respondents said a decent range of products and services, 39% said habit and familiarity, while just 34% said low prices. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3243/sainsburys.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="433"></p> <h3>Half of students predict online tracking would improve grades</h3> <p>According to new research by Kortext, 47% of students believe that they would achieve better grades if their lecturers were able to track their study habits throughout the academic year.</p> <p>In a survey of over 1,000 current and former students, 91% said they would be happy for universities to use analytics to track weekly progress, while 76% said that a closer monitoring of study habits would lead to fewer university dropouts.</p> <h3>Over 50s spend 71% more per visit than younger shoppers</h3> <p>Coniq has found that shoppers over the age of 50 tend to spend 71% more in shopping centres than younger people, despite visiting 25% less.</p> <p>The research also found that the over 50s complete around 45% of transactions per trip, which is a much higher amount compared to other consumer age groups. Likewise, older consumers were found to make use of 31% more offers than younger age demographics.</p> <p>For retailers, this proves the importance of older consumers, with the over 55s now expected to make up two thirds of all retail activity by 2025.</p> <h3>Advertisers wasted over 600m on non-viewable ads in 2016</h3> <p>According to the latest report from Meetrics, UK advertisers spent approximately £606m on online ads that failed to meet the minimum viewability standards in 2016.</p> <p>In the final quarter of the year, just 49% of banner ads met the recommendation that 50% of the ad is in view for at least one second.</p> <p>Despite the figure being a slight improvement on Q2, it still remains a noticeable drop from the 54% viewability level of Q1 2016.</p> <p>In comparison to other European countries, this means the UK is lagging behind, with Austria and France having 69% and 60% viewability levels respectively. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3229/Viewability.png" alt="" width="540" height="371"></p> <h3>50% of consumers uninspired by finance marketing</h3> <p>A new study by 3radical has delved into consumer perceptions of marketing campaigns across the UK’s largest industries.</p> <p>Efforts from banks and brands within the finance industry were found to be the most ineffective, with 50% of survey respondents citing marketing campaigns as uninspiring. </p> <p>38% of consumers said the same thing about fashion and beauty marketing, making it the second-worst performing industry. In contrast, supermarkets and technology brands both scored well, with 80% of Brits believing supermarkets’ marketing to be effective, and 79% saying the same for technology brands.</p> <h3>Email rated as the best performing marketing channel</h3> <p>According to the DMA’s latest benchmarking report, email remains in good health, with 41% of marketers rating it as the best-performing channel.</p> <p>Now at 98%, email delivery rate is at its highest ever, increasing by 11 percentage points since 2010. </p> <p>Lastly, despite some decline in recent years, unique open rates and unique click-to-open rates remain steady, currently at 15% and 20% respectively.</p> <p><em>Total emails delivered</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3227/DMA_email.JPG" alt="" width="622" height="404"></p> <h3>Aldi named as one of the UK’s most customer-centric retailers</h3> <p>Dunnhumby’s latest global index report has revealed that Aldi, Lidl and Tesco are the UK’s most customer-centric retailers.</p> <p>The findings are based on the key drivers behind a customer’s likelihood to repurchase from a retailer as well as desire to recommend it, including factors like ‘affinity’, ‘range and service’ and ‘rewards’.</p> <p>Aldi was ranked highest for ease and price, Tesco for its customer loyalty programmes, and Lidl for its value-focused approach.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68690 2017-01-10T14:42:41+00:00 2017-01-10T14:42:41+00:00 How three travel brands deliver superior customer service Nikki Gilliland <p>This reflects how the travel sector is leading the way in terms of customer experience innovation. KPMG even commented that “within this sector there is something of an arms race, as companies work hard to woo the more affluent passenger or customer, in particular.”</p> <p>So what exactly are travel brands doing?</p> <p>Here’s a look at a few examples.</p> <h3>Service via social media</h3> <p>Marriott hotels is one brand with a great social media presence.</p> <p>In fact, it has increased its focus in this area with its recently launched M-Live Studio in London – a centre for creating real-time content and generating social engagement with consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2921/M_Live.JPG" alt="" width="630" height="354"></p> <p>Instead of simply reacting to users on Twitter or responding to customer demand, M-Live enables the brand to seek out and tap into conversations online and increase levels of personalisation.</p> <p>It does this by talking about cultural and topical subjects, as well as promoting motivational and inspirational content to engage users. Meanwhile, Marriott often puts its customers in the spotlight, by sharing and replying to those who post positive travel stories online. </p> <p>This might sound like run-of-the-mill <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65478-how-20-top-uk-retailers-handle-social-customer-service/" target="_blank">social service</a>, but Marriott’s laser focus in this area is what makes it stand out from competitors. </p> <p>A <a href="https://www.lireo.com/how-customer-service-can-impact-your-business-infographic/" target="_blank">2015 study</a> found that customers who feel engaged by companies on social media are likely to spend up to 40% more with them than other customers. For travel brands, this extends to loyalty, with travellers even more likely to return if an experience is positive.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Bill Marriott: Take the vacation you deserve; in the end it makes you more fulfilled. <a href="https://t.co/JgRzPZvab9">pic.twitter.com/JgRzPZvab9</a></p> — Marriott Internat'l (@MarriottIntl) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarriottIntl/status/813809710822354944">December 27, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Retail experiences</h3> <p>While there has been a decline in the high-street travel agent, with online booking services becoming the most popular way to book holidays, we’ve also seen an increase in the demand for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/intensive-mastering-customer-experiences/">immersive customer experiences</a>.</p> <p>Virgin Holidays is one brand that has reacted to this by rolling out V Room, its travel outlet concept, in multiple shopping centres across the UK.</p> <p>Designed to look and feel like an airport lounge, V Room aims to provide the one-to-one experience of a travel agent but elevates it to create a truly unique customer experience.</p> <p>With an intangible product, travel brands are recognising the importance of making experiences come alive for consumers. V Room does just that, aiming to give visitors a slice of a Virgin Holiday before they’ve even booked.</p> <p>With a bar for cocktail tasting and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67834-why-virtual-reality-is-the-ultimate-storytelling-tool-for-marketers/" target="_blank">VR technology</a> to give people a view of a destination – it focuses more on the immersive aspect than the actual transaction or booking process.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2923/V_Room.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="399"></p> <h3>Practical functionality </h3> <p>As well as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67952-five-tourism-websites-guaranteed-to-give-you-wanderlust/" target="_blank">inspiration and wanderlust</a>, many travel brands are realising the importance of reducing stress and hassle of holidays, using digital technology to help facilitate the customer journey. </p> <p>Singapore Airlines uses its mobile app to do just that, relaunching it with a real focus on simplifying the customer experience. Now, users can access an integrated flight schedule, see real-time updates on flight statuses and keep track of loyalty rewards.</p> <p>While it's not unusual for airlines to have their own apps, Singapore Airlines has shown its intent to innovate – also launching a separate app specifically for the Apple Watch.  </p> <p>This also demonstrates the brand’s understanding of its customer base, with the airline clearly targeting the aforementioned affluent traveller.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X8embLqZTb0?wmode=transparent" width="600" height="338"></iframe></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>For many travel brands, a superior customer experience is often the key to long-term success.</p> <p>By meeting or even pre-empting the needs and desires of travellers, be it through social media engagement, immersive technology, or even <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">artificial intelligence</a> - many will increase positive brand sentiment and the chances of long-term customer loyalty.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68688 2017-01-09T14:42:12+00:00 2017-01-09T14:42:12+00:00 Four key features to appreciate about Google Trips Nikki Gilliland <p>Google Trips is designed to be every traveller’s ‘personal tour guide’ – but what sets it apart from other travel apps?</p> <p>Here’s a look at some of its key features.</p> <h3>Organisation in one place</h3> <p>While Google Flights wants to disrupt sites like Kayak and Skyscanner (i.e. the places people go to book), Google Trips aims to take the reins immediately after this point, helping travellers to plan and organise their holidays.</p> <p>Once users sign in using their Gmail accounts, the app provides a list of past trips as well as future ones, keeping things like hotel and flight details all in one place. </p> <p>As you might expect, with the same style and design of Google's 'Nearby' search funtion, it's pretty easy to use. And this convenience appears to be one of its biggest selling points – not to mention a reason existing Google account holders might naturally feel inclined to download the app.</p> <p>With more than <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2016/02/01/gmail-now-has-more-than-1b-monthly-active-users/" target="_blank">1bn monthly active users</a>, Gmail gives Trips a ready and waiting audience. So unlike other travel apps such as TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet, it offers the unbeatable incentive of tapping into a service many of us already use and adding a whole heap of extras on top.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2883/Google_Trips_3.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2884/Google_Trips_4.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>Inspiration </h3> <p>Curating travel plans is not Google Trips’ only draw. It’s also designed to offer inspiration, using its ‘Things to Do’ feature to offer a wealth of information about hotspots, restaurants and pretty much everything you need to know about an area.</p> <p>The amount of detail offered is impressive. Again, unsurprising considering Google's gargantuan pool of data.</p> <p>Google has certainly covered all bases, ensuring users will reach for the app during both advanced planning and while in-the-moment.</p> <p>Users can map out daily itineraries, delving down into deeper information such as walking distances and even how long tourists typically spend in locations. There's also a nice real-time element, too. If you’re using it online, the app will update weather conditions, offer relevant suggestions and even give random recommendations if you fancy going off the beaten track.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2887/Google_Trips.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2889/Google_Trips_2.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>Map integration and utility</h3> <p>Another significant feature of Google Trips is the map function, which allows users to easily access Google Maps directly from the app. </p> <p>This functional aspect is very welcome. While many people already use Google to discover nearby places, the tech giant is clearly hoping to be a one-stop travel shop, so to speak, joining the dots in the over-arching 'Google' user experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2885/Google_Trips_5.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2886/Google_Trips_6.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>Offline feature</h3> <p>Lastly, one of my favourite features in Google Trips is the fact that it can be used offline.</p> <p>Users have the option to download itineraries and information to refer to at a later date, solving the problem of international data charges - one reason many people fail to use travel apps while abroad.</p> <p>I've only recently discovered that Google Maps can actually be downloaded already - a fact which Google apparently doesn't like to advertise too much. With Google Trips, however, this comes to the forefront, with the feature being nicely highlighted to let users know that it is there.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ign2GmVEflw?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>So, will Google Trips spell trouble for the likes of TripAdvisor?</p> <p>With popularity and loyalty towards the latter already being well-established, Google might have its work cut out convincing travellers that it can provide the same kind of knowledge and travel expertise. Likewise, let's not forget that Google Trips does not allow bookings from within the app, meaning the user experience will be disrupted at this point.</p> <p>Having said that, with its attention to detail, there's a lot to entice users back. Data is obviously where its real strengths lie, and combined with a familiar interface and easy-to-use design, it could mean a successful step up for Google's travel presence.</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/68614 2016-12-19T15:30:00+00:00 2016-12-19T15:30:00+00:00 Why HotelTonight’s holiday campaign is a humorous hit Nikki Gilliland <p>While most marketing focuses on ‘family togetherness’ at this time of year, HotelTonight is instead promoting the idea that, sometimes, there’s such a thing as <em>too much</em> family time.</p> <p>It was originally launched for Thanksgiving in the US, but it’ll stay relevant throughout Christmas.</p> <p>Here’s just three reasons why it works so well.</p> <h3>Goes against tradition</h3> <p>HotelTonight offers consumers the chance to book last minute hotel rooms via its app or mobile website, similar to the likes of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67402-how-hotels-com-uses-email-to-keep-me-as-a-loyal-customer/" target="_blank">Hotels.com</a> or LateRooms.</p> <p>In contrast to the aforementioned examples, HotelTonight doesn’t tend to focus on inspirational travel content.</p> <p>Instead, it boldly takes a different tack.</p> <p>This year, its "Visit, Don't Stay” campaign is based on the simple idea that you might not want to stay with your family at Christmas time.</p> <p>It has created a variety of funny print ads to demonstrate why.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2204/HotelTonight_1.JPG" alt="" width="390" height="785"></p> <p>Choosing to go against the sickly-sweet theme of family togetherness, it cleverly takes the simple and highly relatable idea – that we might have to put up with family rather than enjoy seeing them – and runs with it. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2205/HotelTonight_2.JPG" alt="" width="390" height="786"></p> <p>It gets the balance right, too.</p> <p>The anti-family feeling comes off as jovial rather than hateful or serious, conveniently promoting the brand's promise of a room whenever you need it.</p> <h3>Gets consumers involved</h3> <p>Alongside humorous print and video ads, HotelTonight has been rolling out efforts to engage consumers on social media.</p> <p>This is in the form of a competition, whereby users are asked to explain their own reasons for not staying the night at a family member’s house, with the best (or worst) winning HotelTonight credits as a rewards.</p> <p>Using the hashtag #HotelTonight on Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to get involved, with a presence on multiple platforms leading to high visibility and increased awareness of the brand. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHotelTonight%2Fposts%2F1170087673026775%3A0&amp;width=500" width="500" height="391"></iframe></p> <h3>Creates something memorable</h3> <p>With most travel brands going for an experience-led approach – building on the idea that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68428-how-travel-brands-are-capturing-millennial-interest-on-mobile/" target="_blank">millennials in particular crave adventure and spontaneit</a>y – HotelTonight’s focus on humour makes a nice change.</p> <p>With CMO, Ray Elias, suggesting that the company’s competition is “big brands with deep war chests that have been advertising for years” – its clearly designed to be disruptive. Its highly visual nature sets it apart.</p> <p>Others try to do this by creating a distinctive tone of voice. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68375-airbnb-how-its-customer-experience-is-revolutionising-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">AirBnB</a> is welcoming and reassuring, for example, while <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68201-how-hostelworld-uses-video-to-connect-with-target-audience-of-young-travellers/">HostelWorld</a> is overly comical. </p> <p>However, words are limited in the “Visit, Don’t Stay” campaign.</p> <p>In fact, the video ads include no spoken words whatsoever.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ya9Tzl0LUYo?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>A bold image and tagline of “Family overload?” is all that’s needed, resulting in a simple but memorable message.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/o88DK3IF90M?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>So, if you’re one of those people who’s a bit concerned about staying with the family in a few weeks’ time – at least you can take comfort in these gloriously relatable ads.</p> <p><em><strong>Now read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68154-16-ad-examples-that-prove-print-isn-t-dead/">16 ad examples that prove print isn't dead </a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68644 2016-12-16T10:37:23+00:00 2016-12-16T10:37:23+00:00 All the digital news stories you missed this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Please enjoy.</p> <h3>Yahoo admits to data hack</h3> <p>Yahoo has admitted that 1bn user accounts may have been affected in a hacking attack dating back to 2013.</p> <p>Separate to the 2014 attack that affected 500m Yahoo accounts, it is said to the biggest data breach of all time.</p> <p>Yahoo has linked the hacking to state-sponsored activity, and has urged account users to change passwords and security questions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2470/Yahoo_Mail.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="333"></p> <h3>Facebook introduces 360-degree live video</h3> <p>Facebook Live and Facebook 360-degree video used to be separate mediums.</p> <p>This week, Facebook has announced the two can now be integrated, with the introduction of 360 video to the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67808-10-pioneering-examples-of-brands-using-facebook-live/" target="_blank">Facebook Live</a> experience.</p> <p>The first ever example has been produced in partnership with National Geographic, giving users an immersive look at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnatgeo%2Fvideos%2F10154187427528951%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Simpsons show Starbucks appreciation with animated shorts</h3> <p>Who knew the Simpsons were such big fans of Starbucks?</p> <p>It’s been revealed that three of the show’s writers have created a mini-series especially for the coffee chain.</p> <p>Since spending over three years drinking lattes and draining the internet at a Los Angeles branch of Starbucks, Joel Cohen, Rob LaZebnik and John Frink decided to create an animation for the Wi-Fi landing page.</p> <p>The series, titled ‘1st and Main’, is made up of eight weekly animated shorts, each about 60 to 90 seconds long.</p> <p>You can catch it on the Starbucks website soon, or via stores' Wi-Fi portals from January.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i8O1XqVop2o?wmode=transparent" width="940" height="529"></iframe></p> <h3>Facebook to hire a head of news</h3> <p>On the back of intense scrutiny over fake news, Facebook is now looking to hire an “experienced news executive” to help combat the problem.</p> <p>The person, with over 20 years of experience required, will be the “public-facing voice of Facebook and its role in the news ecosystem”.</p> <p>Despite Facebook repeatedly denying its role as a news organisation in the past, this is perhaps the first real hint that it is finally accepting the idea.</p> <h3>Apple adds hundreds of new emojis</h3> <p>Whether you love them or hate them, there’s now more <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66547-three-ways-brands-are-using-emojis/" target="_blank">emojis</a> than ever before.</p> <p>This week, Apple unveiled hundreds of new ones along with its iOS 10.2 software update.</p> <p>Along with exotic animals and popular food (including the long-awaited avocado), there are also more professions such as the teacher, scientist and pilot.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2472/new_emojis.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="362"></p> <p>Oh, and let’s not forget the perfect emoji to sum up 2016… the black heart.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2473/Black_heart_emoji.JPG" alt="" width="217" height="179"></p> <h3>Amazon makes first-ever UK drone delivery</h3> <p>Amazon has revealed that it made its first-ever delivery by drone last week, 13 minutes after it was ordered.</p> <p>Part of a trial for Prime Air, it successfully delivered a bag of popcorn and an Amazon Fire TV stick to a man named Richard in Cambridgeshire – who just so happens to live near the drone depot.</p> <p>With strict government regulations in the UK, Amazon is limited in terms of how it can test the service, however, the delivery marks the brand’s intent to hit its 2018 target for widespread launch.</p> <h3>Twitter launches live video </h3> <p>As part of its latest update, Twitter has unveiled a new feature that lets users broadcast live.</p> <p>The feature is ‘powered by Periscope’ - the live streaming app that Twitter acquired for an undisclosed sum last year.</p> <p>Now, as long as users have Periscope installed on their phone, anyone can broadcast live directly within the Twitter app.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2475/Twitter_Go_Live.JPG" alt="" width="480" height="452"></p> <h3>Tinder on your telly box</h3> <p>If Corrie or the Queen’s Speech gets a bit too dull this Christmas, why not spice things up with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67563-how-tinder-has-changed-ecommerce/" target="_blank">a bit of Tinder</a>?</p> <p>The dating app is now available to use on Apple TV, meaning users can swipe right with their Siri remote (and the support of the entire family).</p> <p>Part of Tinder’s efforts to grow and diversify its user-base, it has described it as the “same dynamite swiping experience you know and love - just bigger, better and streaming live from your living room.”</p> <p>Merry Christmas, Nan.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sDIgGqS1VGU?wmode=transparent" width="746" height="420"></iframe></p> <h3>JustEat devours HungryHouse</h3> <p>JustEat is hoping to expand its presence in the food delivery market by buying its biggest UK rival, Hungry House.</p> <p>It is paying £200m for the company, with the promise of a further £40m if it hits performance targets. </p> <p>The deal is still to be cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), but if so, it will rapidly accelerate JustEat’s growth.</p> <p>In a separate deal, JustEat has also announced the acquisition of the Canadian company, SkipTheDishes, for a reported £66.1m.</p> <h3>Chicken Connoisseur goes viral</h3> <p>We love a bit of silly social media news, so what better way to finish off this week’s roundup than by celebrating the viral success of the chicken connoisseur?</p> <p>If you haven’t discovered him yet, he’s a young man who goes around sampling London’s ‘pengest munch’ in search of the city's best chicken shop.</p> <p>Since going viral, and even appearing on ITV London news, the aspiring food critic has seen his YouTube subscribers skyrocket to over 200,000.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/C0_1g5FVYAc?wmode=transparent" width="520" height="293"></iframe></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>