“Just Google it”.hats what most people would do when they are looking for new information nowadays. However, chatbots may very well replace that notion and one day we can expect people to start saying “just chatbot it”. In the 2000s the internet was a revolution and it completely changed the way people access information. We now live in the generation where information flows in high speed and people are constantly craving for instant access to any information they can get their hands on.
As more people search for information through their smartphones and through social media, there’s a higher chance they will engage with a chatbot. Where chatbots can provide information on the latest news stories, manage customer’s online subscription, or even receive customer service assistance.
Change in user habits
In the digital age that we are in now, teens are spending close to 9 hours a day online especially on social media. 30% of all online traffic is from social media and 60% via a mobile device. Using social media is the trendy way for teens and adults alike to not only connect with family and friends but also read news and articles. The internet is now available at all times via mobile phones and the most downloaded apps on the app store are usually messenger apps.
The change in user habits has opened up a market for chatbots. Chatbots have a chance to provide real-time push notification, snippets and allow companies to stay more connected with the customers. Chatbots also have the ability to allow for better and more reliable interactions. A lot of companies in the industry use chatbots but they each have a unique way of adopting the AI technology.
Different uses of chatbots in the industry
Techcrunch is one of the early adopters of chatbots in the industry. It makes a lot of sense for TechCrunch to use chatbot technology because of its tech-savvy audience. They originally saw chatbots as an alternative to a newsletter. How you can set up a time for an article to be delivered and it will send you an update which you can then subscribe to different topics. Subscribers can receive news on the topic of their choice, anything from AI, messenger bots, to Tim Cook. Their way of using chatbots were an instant success where they gained over 100,000 chatbot subscribers that use the service five or six times a month.
Washington Post is another successful user of chatbots. Although their functions are very limited compared to chatbot users in the industry, instead the simplicity of the bot is its biggest strength. The post’s chatbot is very user-friendly as it offers the users the options of showing more info about the chatbot, most popular story on the site, and a card for latest headlines. They promise to be able to answer any question that you ask for with its “ask me anything” function. One of the most unique features is the chatbot ability to subscribe for updates on the night of US presidential election.
CNN made a chatbot that is also straightforward which includes all the necessary functions that you would want on a chatbot in the media industry. However, what is unique about their chatbot is the integration of the “get a summary” button on story cards. By clicking on it you can see a short summary of the story in the conversation feed. Which you can then follow that link and be able to read the full article.
Facebook instant articles
A huge advantage that companies such as TechCrunch is capitalizing is how messenger bots allow information to come up as facebook instant article. Which is a feature that Facebook launched in 2015 which allow publishers to post interactive articles in a format that loads quickly. What makes them ideal for modern day users is how it loads 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles and readers are 70% less likely to abandon articles according to Facebook. Wall street journal is one of the companies to adopt this partnership with Facebook, where they realize that it has the chance to improve user count and subscriptions.
However, there are still some concerns about this feature which is why companies in the industry such as CBS news and Bloomberg refuse to implement this feature. Instead of collaborating with Facebook, Bloomberg decided to create its own fast mobile template.
Chatbots can improve user engagement
Some of the first publishers in the industry such as Wall Street Journal and NBC news have been some of the first companies to integrate a successful chatbot. The biggest improvement they saw was in user engagement rates. Chatbots have the ability to add quasi-human interaction to the user experience. They are able to resemble human interaction even though they are computer programmed. Users can message the bots to receive information about certain topics, such as “What’s happening in Egypt?” or “What’s the latest news on finance?”. Chatbots provide a personalized experience for users and are proven to be a driving force in both user traffic and user engagement.
Additional channels for monetization
As companies invest their hard earned money on implementing a chatbot, one of their concerns is how they can find a way to make the chatbots worth investing or find additional channels for monetization. There is also the fear that chatbots have a potential to diminish ad revenue. The goal of having a chatbot is to resemble human interaction and to create a personal experience. Therefore, messaging a banner ad would ruin the user experience that chatbots are trying to create. Publishers will have to find ways to earn revenue or they can instead face a decline in revenue.
However, there are solutions to this advertising problem such as in-image advertising and native advertising. Where in image advertising offers the user a more interesting ad experience in how they display ads in the most engaging parts of a site. While advertisers benefit in an increased engagement rate and viewability.
In this day and age where everyone is constantly craving for the latest news and updates on the topics they follow, it is important for publishing companies to have a system to deliver that in a timely manner. Chatbots are proving to be a way for publishing companies to both increase customer engagement and provide instant access to information in a personalized way.
Companies such as Techcrunch, CNN and Washington Post are successfully deploying their own chatbots. Techcrunch has one of the best chatbots on the market in the way their chatbot serve as an alternative newsletter and will send you updates on topics that you are interested in. The successful implementation of their chatbot has helped them gained over 100,000 chatbot subscribers.
Although chatbots are clearly still in the developmental stages, they have a chance to improve customer engagement and a possibility for companies to find additional channels for monetization. Maybe one day in the near future we will start saying “Just chatbot it” instead of “Just google it”.