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Conversational MarketingJune 22, 2016Written by Dean Withey

Chatbots and their Place in the New Conversational Marketing Era

Robots can talk too... or can they?

Line is doing it. Viber and Telegram, too. Even Facebook has started. It looks like 2016 will be the year of chat bots and conversational marketing. Perfect timing for ubisend’s chatbot development services!

According to the latest data from Business Insider, messaging applications have recently outgrown social media apps.

Messaging apps surpassed social networks BI intelligence

Conversational marketing

Before I start getting geeky, I want to briefly explaining what we think conversational marketing is.

Conversational marketing is the use of natural language by business, brands, or services to interact and engage with people using voice and chat messaging applications, such as Facebook messenger, Line, Viber, (among others) SMS and good old telephone calls.

The goal for our conversational marketing platform is to empower everybody to talk to businesses and brands through any channel they choose. We also believe every business should be willing and able to communicate back 24 hours a day, whether it be through the use of AI and bots, or a real human response.

The near future

We predict that by the end of 2017 it will be completely normal for you to drop your dentist a Facebook message asking if they have an appointment available. It will be completely normal for you to get an update of a new post on your favourite blog via your WeChat account. Sending a Telegram message to ASOS to see if they have those lovely shoes in size 8 will be more acceptable than sending an email.

We’re not suggesting overnight artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will take over all business to person interaction; it will take many years for that to happen. We know that as AI and ML improves it will take over more and more of the role, to the point where average joe probably won’t be able to tell the difference between bot and human led conversation. We’re less interested in the who does it and whether the conversation is led by human or bot, or a combination of both. What we’re interested in is the process of how it happens, the vehicles the conversation can take place on and the quality of the conversation.

Just talk normally…

If you listen to a typical conversation between two people talking about a brand you might hear things like:

“Just download their app.”

“You need to install their software.”

“Oh, I put that app in the trash.

They’re not the typical words you’d hear non-computer-y people say. They’re modern, technology-based words that people have to learn rather than words they already know.

Conversational marketing allows people to say:

“Just drop them a message on Telegram.”

“You can contact them on FB messenger.”

“If you invite them into your group you can ask.”

Conversational language aids diffusion, it opens up interaction between companies and people to a broader market. People don’t have to search, download and install, they just contact and message.

People are familiar with receiving messages, whether it’s through SMS, FB, WhatsApp, WeChat or others. It’s a small step for them to receive messages through the same applications from a business.

As a side note, interestingly this also removes the threat and fear of viruses, malware and the downloading of dodgy apps and software as everything is done through a familiar and already downloaded application.

Just another app

If you’re anything like me (and I think I’m a pretty regular kinda guy) you’re pretty sick of “just download our app” or “keep in touch through our app” or even “book using our app”.


I just want to talk, to ask you a question and, if you answer it to my liking, order what I want.

By the end of 2017, with the help of our conversational marketing platform, we will remove 90% of the reasons to download an app. Most things that can be done through an app will be done through our platform and messaging applications.

Ordering a pizza, asking if your hairdresser is free this afternoon, checking to see if a hotel has availability next week, leaving a comment on a blog or even buying your holiday for next year. Almost every interaction you’ll have with a business will be done through your favourite messaging application in a natural language, conversational way.

How will businesses deal with bots and conversational marketing?

At first, particularly for SMEs, conversational marketing will be done manually. A member of your staff (probably the social media exec) will be using our platform’s two-way messaging functionality to engage with your audience and customers.

For larger businesses with in-house developers (or healthier budgets) conversational marketing will move much quicker to be led by a hybrid of bot and human, in the very near future these conversations will be led purely by bot with a human responsible for monitoring the bot.

But I’ve just got the hang of email marketing!

Things change. People change, so does technology. The average open rate for an email is around 20%.

On average an SMS (and probably most messaging applications, we’ll let you know when we’ve got the stats) has an open rate of 98% and read within 3 minutes.

Conversational marketing through the ubisend platform is easy. You can start with 10 minutes a day to interact and engage your audience. The tracking and reporting built into the platform will prove the ROI and you’ll soon realise the power of just talking to your customers.

Your turn!

How quickly do you think bots will take over the day-to-day chat with brands? Would you feel comfortable chatting with a bot?