Mobile messaging has come a long way. It has evolved from simple SMS to everyone’s favorite services such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, and Line. While social media and mobile applications are constantly covered in the news, messaging is starting to look like the next big wave for marketers to take note of.
Facebook itself has two messaging services: Messenger and WhatsApp. These two services are used by 1 billion users worldwide—each. Mark Zuckerberg saw this coming. In 2014 he said, “Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.” Today, more people use messaging apps than social networks thanks to more affordable devices, falling data costs, and innovative and fun features.
Now that these messaging apps have attracted billions of users and have kept them active and returning, the platform will now enter its next phase. As evidenced by the success of stickers and other fun additions, these features will continue to be added to keep users engaged in their conversations. From the brand side, one of the components of this phase will be bots. With AI software now reaching advanced heights, bots are going to be big.
But what are they? Bots are software in messaging apps that automate tasks a person would normally do. Some bots automate conversations, others facilitate transactions, and a few even help with workflows. Bots can read, write back, and create fun, immersive, experiences for a brand’s fans.
For example, Domino’s Pizza released a chatbot that allowed people to make entire orders through Messenger. So instead of ordering a pizza via a phone call, website, or even a specific mobile app, people can now literally chat with a bot.
Other brands that have jumped on the bot bandwagon include GE, American Express, Pizza Hut, Trolli, and Whole Foods.
Messaging as a platform is huge, and bots are going to continue getting more complex, fun, and reliable. Brands are already starting to create and release bots of their own, and it’s only a matter of time until they’re the next biggest thing since the App Store and social media.
Do you think messaging bots will become more integrated in consumers’ daily lives? What chatbots have you seen and/or used?