Your New Assistant Could Be Coming to a Phone Near You!
Have you heard? Rumor has it that Facebook will be launching a new Artificial Intelligence “Bot” within their Messenger app next week at their F8 conference. Facebook’s new bot, called “M,” is an AI service overseen and trained by real people. M could be your new best friend, or at least your assistant. You’ll be able to ask “M” questions about products and services and she will offer you the best options and be able to complete tasks for you, such as making a purchase.
So how will this impact your Facebook strategy as a marketer? Hard to say for sure as it’s still a bit speculative at this point, but understanding what a bot is (and isn’t) as well as how a bot works will be our first step.
There are several kinds of bots, but most common in marketing is the Chatterbot. Chatterbots are used to automate conversations with consumers, acting as a customer service agent. They are designed to simulate intelligent conversation via text or auditory messages and give users a programmed response. Remember Clippy from MS Word, the paperclip that would help you learn how to use the program? He is a great example of the early uses of a Chatterbot in computer software.
Today, the use of bots has gotten more dynamic. As people are becoming more dependent on smartphones, applications are creating ways to add bots to existing services to make finding information faster. For example, Taco Bell and Slack (another messenger app) are partnering together to create Tacobot. Tacobot will be a service on Slack where consumers can order tacos and even converse with the bot, if desired. The bot uses artificial intelligence to learn more about the consumer and their ordering habits, so when the consumer comes back, the process will be even faster.
Many experts are predicting that, eventually, bots may replace apps. They offer a more interactive service than apps, including instant-messaging customer service, the ability to buy products and services, learn additional information, and ask questions directly related to the brand. Because Facebook Messenger already has 900 Million users (and growing!), M could be the new black and be a game changer for mobile platforms becoming the new standard across all devices.