Facebook Starts Developing Chatbots For Group Chat

What Happened
Facebook is reportedly ready to introduce some new chatbots at its upcoming F8 developer conference that will appear in group chats on Messenger. These group bots are not intended to be part of the conversation, but to keep users informed about real-time news such as a sports game’s progress, e-commerce deliveries and more. Previously, Facebook had a similar vision for its virtual assistant M to pop up in group Messenger chats whenever it’s needed. But these new bots seem to be more specialized in their functionalities.

What Brands Need To Do
According to eMarketer’s forecast, the number of messaging app users worldwide will reach 2 billion by 2018, which will be 80% of smartphone users. A significant portion of today’s mobile communications happen on messaging apps, yet many brands are missing out on this so-called “dark social” channel. This new group chat bot initiative underscores Facebook’s commitment to building out its Messenger bot platform, giving brands an opportunities to reach more mobile customers by providing useful services in group chats.

The Lab has extensive knowledge about reaching consumers on mobile messaging apps and building branded chatbots. The new NiroBot we build in collaboration with Ansible for Kia delivers comprehensive product information about the all-new Niro model via friendly chats. If you’re interested in reaching your audience on messaging apps and better serving them with a chatbot, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett (samantha@ipglab.com) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Facebook Chatbot Offers Discounts On Prom Tuxedo Rentals Based On Grades

What Happened
The Black Tux, a startup specializing in online tuxedo and suit rentals, has created a chatbot that hands out discounts based on school grades. Available on Facebook Messenger, the Suit Up Bot “uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) via the Tesseract OCR engine” to scan the report cards that customers uploaded and authenticate them for potential discounts. (In our test, the bot couldn’t recognize the random report card we found online but proceeded to offer up a code for $20 off at The Black Tux’s website.)

What Brands Need To Do
This new chatbot is a fun example of designing ecommerce chatbots. Inspired by the nostalgia of receiving rewards for good grades, the discount scheme fits well with the brand’s young adults-centric customer demo. As consumers continue to embrace messaging apps and chatbot services, brands need to consider developing useful bots with distinct features and personalities to reach customers on the popular messaging apps they’re already using.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building chatbots to reach consumers on messaging interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: US Weekly

Header image courtesy of The Black Tux

Microsoft Launches Teams With Bot Integration To Take On Slack

What Happened
Microsoft has officially launched Teams to take on other enterprise chat apps such as Slack and Hipchat. The app is now available on iOS and Android smartphones and also downloadable for desktop devices running Windows and Mac. At launch, Microsoft Teams comes with about a dozen chatbots, most of which are also available on Slack.

Among the usual suspects, there is the Polly bot for conducting a quick poll among coworkers, the Statsbot for pulling data and reports from sources like Google Analytics and Salesforce, a Zenefits bot for managing vacation days, and a Kayak bot for checking flight information, all without leaving Teams. Microsoft says around 150 integrations with software and service are planned and will be added to Teams over the rest of the year.

What Brands Need To Do
The rise of workplace chat apps, influenced by the mass adoption of messaging apps as the primary communication channel on mobile, is quickly changing the way people communicate at work or in other professional contexts. They also offer brands a valuable inroad to reach customers at work and provide value. As they continue to overtake email as the primary communication tool at work and blur the line between private and professional communications, it is important that brands take the initiative to come up with a chatbot strategy to more effectively reach their customers via conversational interactions.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

Header image courtesy of Microsoft Team’s website

Capital One Launches ‘Eno’ SMS Chatbot For Basic Banking Tasks

What Happened
On Friday, Capital One launched “Eno,” a text message-based chatbot for handling basic banking tasks such as checking account balances, managing credit card payments, and reviewing recent purchases and payment history. The bot is now available to a limited number of customers, with further roll-out planned for the coming months. According to Capital One, “Eno” is the first natural language SMS chatbot created by a U.S. bank. Last summer, Singaporean bank DBS launched a chatbot to let customers handle basic banking tasks via text.

What Brands Need To Do
This is not the first time Capital One has experimented with conversational interfaces. Previously, the McLean, Virginia-based bank announced an integration of its banking app with Alexa to allow customers to handle their banking needs via voice command. According to a report from analytics firm VoiceLabs, about 33 million voice-first devices will be in circulation by the end of 2017. Therefore, It is up to brands to figure out their brand voice and incorporate conversational tools into their services to provide a better customer experience.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: 9to5 Mac

 

Facebook Updates Messenger Platform To Enable Menu-Guided Chatbots

What Happened
Facebook has updated its Messenger platform to allow chatbot developers to disable the natural text input in bot conversations, instead relying on a pre-configured menu of topics and replies to guide users to discover the information they need or perform a certain task. Facebook Messenger first introduced Quick Reply buttons to speed up conversations, and has since expanded it to guide more parts of consumer-bot conversations. With the latest update, now brands can devise a chatbot experience that feels less like chatting to a friend and more akin to navigating a barebone mobile app.  

What Brands Need To Do
The move away from conversational replies, whether already formatted or freely typed, diminishes the magic of chatbots by limiting the conversations to pre-set topics. At the moment, it is too early to tell whether this update marks a shift in Facebook’s strategy in building its chatbot platform, or whether a significant amount of brands will take the easy way out and opt for a less native and conversational experience. Nevertheless, this update reveals two important trends in branded chatbot – one being that brands are having difficulties to craft a natural conversation flow to adequately serve customers, and another being that most AI powering the chatbots not mature enough to handle a freestyle conversation in natural languages.

At the end of the day, this is a symptom of growing pains in the development of conversational services, and Facebook’s update will serve as a temporary fix for brands wishing to establish the presence on Messenger but don’t necessary have the resources or technological capability to build a full-blown chatbot.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The “Miller Time” Alexa Skill we developed with Drizly for Miller Lite is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Marketing Land

Header image courtesy of Facebook’s Messenger blog

Amazon Launches Alexa In U.K. & Germany, Starts Sharing Limited Alexa User Data

What Happened
Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is going to Europe as the ecommerce giant announced the launch of Alexa Voice Service (AVS), which was launched in the U.S. in June 2015 and allows device manufacturers to install Alexa inside their products, in the U.K. and Germany. With this international expansion, Alexa now also understands German and British English, making it possible for Amazon to reach more users in foreign markets.

In related news, Amazon has also started sharing some high-level Alexa data with third-party developers, digital consultancies, and analytics startups as it continues to woo developers to develop more Alexa skills. Developers and brands now can track usage patterns such as the number of unique customers accessing the skills or the total number of “utterances” related to their skills, to help them gauge user intent and track skill performance.

What Brands Need To Do
Expanding Alexa into global markets offers internationally-minded brands a new channel to leverage conversational experience to reach foreign markets at scale. Although Amazon is still very tight-lipped about the user data that Alexa collects, the high-level information it now opts to share is a welcome start. Alexa dominated CES this year, and according to a report from analytics firm VoiceLabs, about 33 million voice-first devices will be in circulation by the end of 2017. Therefore, It is up to brands to start working with developers to figure out their brand voice and incorporate conversational tools into their marketing efforts.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The “Miller Time” Alexa Skill we developed with Drizly for Miller Lite is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: TechCrunch & AdAge

PayPal Debuts Slack Bot For Convenient P2P Payments

What Happened
PayPal ventures deeper into the world of conversational services by launching its first branded bot on team communication platform Slack. Designed to facilitate easy peer-to-peer payments among coworkers and friends, the PayPal bot let Slack users send and receive up to $10,000 with one simple message of the shortcode “/paypal” and a Slack user handle. The bot is now available to Slack users in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

Although this is its first entry into branded chatbot, PayPal is no stranger to conversational platforms. Last October, PayPal joined Facebook Messenger’s beta program to allow bots to accept payments via its service. A month later, it integrated with Siri to let iOS users send and receive p2p payments via voice command.

What Brands Need To Do
Slack currently enjoys five million daily active users and 1.5 million paying subscribers. While that pales in comparison to Messenger’s one billion monthly active users, Slack’s unique positioning as a popular workplace chat app gives it an edge to help brands reach a certain upscale, professional demographic at work. Thanks to semi-open productivity tools like Slack, the workplace is becoming newly accessible to brands. While it’s an obvious place for B2B brands to explore, it may also make sense for some consumer-facing brands to reach their target audience in a work context.

How We Can Help
Based on our extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers, the Lab has developed a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data. If you’re interested in learning more about this or have a client opportunity, please reach out to our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 

 


Source: VentureBeat

Domino’s Adds Full Menu And Customizable Orders To Messenger Bot

What Happened
Gearing up for the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday, the busiest day of the year for pizza deliveries, Domino’s Pizza has updated its Facebook Messenger chatbot to add more ordering options. The Dom pizza bot was launched in August last year and only supported reordering the default order saved on a Domino’s customer account. Now with this update, Messenger users can chat with the bot to put together a customized order from a full menu without a Domino’s account. One caveat remains, however, that all orders made from the bot will have to be paid with cash, as Domino’s opted not to integrate the bot with Messenger’s existing payment system.

What Brands Need To Do
Domino’s latest move in improving its chatbot reaffirms its commitment to developing chat-based ordering tools to better serve mobile customers. The pizza chain also launched an Alexa skill last year to allow customer to place order via voice. It also shows how brands may consider a tiered release strategy when it comes to creating branded chatbots. After all, no bots are totally perfect at launch, and it is crucial that brands continue to put resources and efforts into maintaining and improving the bot based on customer feedback long after the initial launch.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers on messaging apps. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related clients and learning opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

 

Kia To Launch Super Bowl Spot Via Messenger Chatbot

What Happened
Kia announced Monday that it will release its Super Bowl spot via NiroBot, the Facebook Messenger chatbot that the Lab created in collaboration with Ansible, as the auto brand looks to bolster the technologically advanced image of its new Niro crossover. Starting this Wednesday, Messenger users will be able to ask NiroBot to play Kia’s Super Bowl spot for Niro crossover starring Melissa McCarthy ahead of the game day.

What Brands Need To Do
Designed as a customer engagement tool, the NiroBot packs some great customer service functions including a guided vehicle discovery, comprehensive technical knowledge, and test-drive scheduling. Choosing the NiroBot as the place to launch its anticipated Super Bowl spot is a good way for Kia to draw attention to this new chatbot and send more customers on the discovery journey to learn more about its Niro model.

Facebook Messenger is used by more than one billion consumers worldwide monthly, and study has shown that more and more customers are opting to communicate with brands on social and chat apps. For brands looking to connect with customers on those messaging platforms, a well-designed chatbot is an effective tool that brands should consider for handling basic customer service and boosting engagement.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. We’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue, which aims to help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related clients and learning opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: AdAge

Header image courtesy of Kia’s YouTube

Sony Pictures Launches AI-Powered Chatbot To Promote Resident Evil Movie

What Happened
Sony Pictures has created an AI version of the Red Queen character from its film Resident Evil: The Final Chapter to promote its impending theatrical release. Partnering with artificial intelligence agency IV.AI, the companies created a chatbot across messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and Telegram and social media in multiple languages to engage with fans to build up buzz. This is not the first time sony has created a chatbot to promote one of its movies. Previously, it worked with our sibling agency UM to create a Facebook chatbot to promote the Goosebumps movie.

What Brands Need To Do
Sony’s latest chatbot effort offers another example of an entertainment brand seeking engagement with their prospective audience with a chatbot, following the Kik chatbot that Paramount created to promote the Teenage Ninja Turtle movie. As consumers continue to embrace messaging apps and chatbot services, brands need to consider developing useful bots to reach customers on the popular messaging apps they’re already using.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related clients and learning opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Marketing Dive