As we enter an age of automation and innovation, it feels as if all the chat is about bots, when in fact, we have been talking to machines since the 1960s! So why are chatbots so popular, and why should brands invest?
1. Messaging is a natural behaviour
As consumers use mobile less for phone calls and more for messaging, messaging apps have become the preferred point of contact, and have the highest retention rates of most mobile apps.  Chatbots tap into this existing mobile behaviour.
2. Consumers opt in
Consumers must start the conversation for a brand to able to interact with them, but once the conversation has started, brands can message the consumer openly. This means in-market, engaged consumers.
3. Think of all that data
Chatbots provide a whole range of data (gender, name, email address, language, time, consumer journey, questions asked and dwell time). Smart brands can use this data to either retarget at a later date, or build lookalike audiences.
4. It’s money spent wisely
Chatbots can be used in any industry to provide value, and are set to save the customer service industry £2.6bn by 2020 , by reducing the amount of staff time needed to answer queries. In fact, 69% of consumers would rather interact with a chatbot than a human!
5. Bots allow for creativity
Chatbots can be campaign based or always on. Campaign chatbots tell a story of a specific campaign such as the fantastic Channel 4 Humans chatbot.  Alternatively, ‘Always on’ chatbots are a permanent bot that act as an assistant, shopfront and consumer service all in one place.
6. Chatbots here, chatbots there, chatbots everywhere
Brands can drive consumers to chatbots from all digital channels (social, search, SMS, and display). If that’s not enough, brands can add Facebook Messenger scan codes to their in-store, OOH, and print media, which can be scanned through the Messenger app to direct the user to the chatbot, thereby connecting online and offline media.
7. Future proofing
Messaging apps and voice control will continue to grow in popularity, ultimately leading to the development of more advanced chatbots that will be used in different ways in different situations. By investing in chatbots now, brands can gain invaluable learnings that will help in the future as the technology matures.
So to recap, brands can improve ROI, be category leaders, drive consideration and awareness, increase engagement, gain a whole wealth of data and keep consumers happy.
Next stop, chatbot?