91% of Agencies Expect Chatbots to Become Integral
In 1991, the first website was released.
With the rise of the internet, marketing agencies took digital services under their wings and became the go-to for web development, app development, SEO, and more.
Then, a pause.
Due to a lack in new demand for services from clients, it’s been a fair few years since the majority of marketing agencies adopted another big service.
Think of social media marketing or web design, they quickly became a staple in the marketing agencies toolbox. Since then, we haven’t seen another new service become the go-to for a full house agency.
Of course, this is far from pointing a finger at marketing agencies and claiming they’ve become stagnant - that’s far from the truth. New skills are learnt, services are expanded on, and agencies are grown every month.
So, why hasn’t there been a new big service, similar to the boon of development and social media marketing?
There simply hasn’t been any demand for one.
The recent pandemic has left businesses with a desire to do more with less. The tech most businesses are turning to fulfil that desire? Chatbots.
Businesses aren’t yet comfortable deploying chatbots alone, they want to have an expert they can trust and can rely on.
With all this in mind, what impact has the rise of chatbots had on marketing agencies? Is it likely chatbots as a service will become a new revenue stream for marketing agencies?
Recent research, carried out by ubisend, sheds light on these questions.
The data points and quotes within this article have been taken from the 2022 Chatbot and Marketing Agency Industry Report unless otherwise stated. You can grab your copy in full here.
The demand that keeps on rising
The chatbot market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 24.9% until 2028 (Grand View Research, 2021).
Looking back, between 2020 and 2021 the chatbot market saw an explosion in growth, going from $430.9 million to $525.7 million.
This rapid growth hasn’t gone unnoticed, many agencies are already turning their eyes to chatbots, excited to take advantage of the booming market.
When surveyed, 68.2% of agencies confirmed their existing clients have shown an interest in chatbots.
The marketing agency industry is renowned for its flexibility and speed of reaction. When the demand rises, agile agencies are able to quickly meet it.
The more clients request chatbots, the more agencies we will see offering them as a service.
But the demand isn’t just coming from new clients, 53.4% of agencies have experienced new leads requesting chatbot services.
As chatbots continue to become more and more commonplace, it’s likely we’ll see this figure increase. That is until the client’s current agencies start offering chatbots.
At the moment, we are seeing businesses have to stray away from their trusted agency to find one that offers chatbots.
Chatbots are the next go-to for marketing agencies
The rise in demand for chatbots, both in terms of new business requests and upselling opportunities with current clients, has already sparked ideas with marketing agency key decision-makers.
As more and more clients have already begun to request chatbots, many marketing agency figureheads have started to see the potential.
Nate Horgan (digital advertising strategist at Mean Joe Advertising) said he "could see agencies specialising in only delivering chatbots in the next 5-10 years.”
When discussing chatbots as a service, Liam Kingswell (founder of the Norfolk Agency) states “chatbots are great for agencies, it should be a must-have.”
ubisend’s research saw that 91.2% of agencies expect chatbots to become an integral part of business operations.
In addition to that, 86.6% of agencies believe brands will expect them to be able to assist with chatbots or other AI-related projects.
Clearly, agencies are cottoning onto the benefits that chatbots can provide them as a business.
Chatbots provide access to a new revenue stream and are a great way to expand upon retainers.
It will be interesting to see how quickly agencies start to offer chatbots as a service now the tech and world is ready for them.
The gaping hole in the industry
Aside from showcasing high expectations for chatbots as a service, research shows a gaping hole in the industry.
When surveyed, only 40% of agencies have seen their competitors offer chatbot services.
When interviewed on the matter, Jan Golding (lead experience designer at Cohaesus), stated: “There’s a gap in the market for agencies that have specific chatbot-related skills. There aren’t any proper experts yet, no specialists in conversational UI for instance. Even large brands and agencies are not there yet. There’s a big opportunity.”
This surprising lack of adoption by marketing agencies could be caused by the time-consuming nature of creating proprietary chatbot technology.
Diving into natural language processing to create a custom-built chatbot is off the cards for most agencies. This, coupled with the fact that open-source projects aren’t always an option for many businesses, may have dissuaded marketing agencies from capitalising on the chatbot opportunity.
With the arrival of partner programmes, such as ubisend’s white label partner programme, it’s easy for agencies to offer high-end chatbot services.
Rather than requiring to build something from the ground up, marketing agencies can take advantage of powerful, pre-existing platforms.