Conversational AI has proliferated in recent years and promises plenty of opportunities for marketers to connect with their customers. Here are 5 ways conversational AI will impact marketing in 2019.
Conversational AI enables brands to use chatbots, messaging apps, and digital assistants to deliver personalized communication at scale. The biggest strength of these interfaces lies in their ability to carry out human-like conversations, round the clock. Whether you are looking for gift recommendations, places to eat, the status of your order, or ways to resolve a problem with the product you recently bought, conversational AI interfaces can help you with it all.
As these interfaces continue to become more ubiquitous with every passing day, let’s look at the top 5 ways conversational AI will impact marketing in 2019.
1. Brands Will Increasingly Embrace Chatbots
Organizations have been proactive about adopting chatbots to improve the efficiency of their customer service departments. This is one of the primary applications of Conversational AI. Due to their machine learning capabilities, chatbots will continue to evolve in 2019.
Brands will also use chatbots to humanize themselves by injecting their brand voice into their chatbot. Chatbots can help brands deliver an end-to-end conversational experience as entire conversations can be designed based on possible communications use cases.
Pavel Dmitriev, VP of Data Science, at Outreach spoke to MTA about this: “Conversational AI has been perhaps the hottest marketing topic of 2018. Chatbots created a new capability of not only giving information to buyers, but also learning from them, and adjusting the interaction to each buyer’s unique context and needs. This promise, however, has remained largely unfulfilled. Most chatbots today are rigid rule-based systems forcing users to interact with them in an unnaturally structured way, which often ends up being a frustrating experience. While I do not expect all the problems to be solved in 2019, I believe significant progress will be made in the following three ways:
- Improved ability to gather buyer context. This will be achieved by both switching from rigid rules to more flexible natural language understanding technologies, and by improving chatbots’ ability to integrate with other marketing tools, such as CRM, to obtain a more complete picture of buyers’ interactions with brands.
- Increased specialization. Chatbots will become more specialized thus reducing the complexity of the task they need to handle. Combined with #1 above, this will result in increased accuracy in understanding the buyer, leading to a better buyer experience and higher conversion rates.
- Focus on building long-term relationships. Currently most chatbots are narrowly focused on a single conversion. With improved understanding of buyer context and needs, chatbots will be able to go beyond the short-term focus of a single transaction and optimize for building long-term relationships with customers.”
2. Messaging Apps Will Further Dominate
Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Slack, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, LINE, Telegram, etc. have grown significantly in the past couple of years. The number of messaging app users will grow up to an estimated 2.18 billion by 2019.
Most of these apps allow you to build chatbots on their platforms. Therefore, along with placing standalone chatbots on the website and/or mobile app, brands have the opportunity to connect with their users on these messaging apps throughout their buying journey.
3. Digital Assistants Will Rise in Popularity
In just over 2 years since the technology became available, more than 43 million Americans now own a digital assistant or a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home (Source). Digital assistant owners currently use the device to get news and weather updates, play music, control devices, order food or other items, listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and get flight information, to name a few.
With voice-driven conversational AI able to help its users to find daily deals, recommended products, track order status’, locate restaurants, stores, events, etc., its popularity will continue to soar in 2019, giving marketers ample opportunities to tap into a growing market.
4. Voice Search Will Continue to Grow
According to some research conducted by Alpine.ai (now acquired by Headspace), approximately 1 billion voice searches were performed each month as of January 2018. An even more staggering fact is that, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches.
This has also given rise to something called micro-moments (a term coined by Google), which is defined as intent-rich instances where the searcher turns to their smartphone to take action right away. They are divided into 4 categories, viz.:
- I want to know
- I want to go
- I want to do
- I want to buy
Marketers need to devise their strategies in a way that the brand connects with the searcher at the right moment. To this effect, Christopher Hansen, Chief Product Officer, at IgnitionOne says, speaking to MTA:
“With a growing increase in voice-dominated devices, including Alexa and Google Home, marketers need to understand how to incorporate voice search into their marketing strategies, including building applications and determining key search terms. Voice search has the potential to disrupt the way we market to consumers in 2019 and can play a crucial role in achieving relevant, consistent omnichannel engagement. Each touchpoint is an opportunity for marketers to enhance their customer intelligence to learn more about their customers, and with more and more channels emerging on a regular basis, these touchpoints are invaluable.”
Also Read: Voice Search – How to Get your Brand Started
5. Conversational AI Will Become More Sophisticated
Increased conversational AI avenues will bring in more data points. Marketers will be able to understand the context of the conversation, analyze customer interactions, user location, preferences, demographic, and transactional data; and use it all to enhance the organization’s marketing activities.
Audelia Boker, Global VP Marketing for Glassbox Digital had the following insights for our readers:
“The conversational UX trend will continue, enabling people (users) to interact with organizations, combining chat, voice or any other natural language interfaces. Moreover, on the back of the likes of Alexa (Amazon Echo), Google Home, or Erica from Bank of America, voice commands will play a larger role in how customers engage with service providers and e-tailers. We will also see a wider adoption of machine learning applied to analytics in real time, which will make it easier for enterprises to detect – as it happens – when and why online visitors are struggling on digital channels, or when technical anomalies are occurring; and remedy these in an agile way. This will all be part of an industry trend towards more holistic digital customer management, that will encompass not only enhancing technical performance and availability of digital channels, but also optimizing online customer experiences, increasing customer service effectiveness, protecting customers and organizations from a compliance angle, fighting against online fraud, and much more.”
The conversational data collected from messaging apps, chatbots, and voice assistant apps can be used to fuel your content creation process. By analyzing the most asked queries, you can create or improve your chatbot’s responses by creating relevant content around such topics.
Also Read: Data-Driven B2B Marketing: 4 Keys to Success
The most significant impact of conversational AI will be the scale at which marketers will be able to enhance the customer experience aspect of their brand. The goal is to establish a framework where marketers will be able to extract relevant user data and use it to improve every conversational opportunity.