Tag Archive | "interactions"

Chat Bots Have Marketers Talking, and It’s Not Why You Think

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Over the past few months, there has been a media swarm around chat bots. Some wonder if the simulated computer software programs (most recently popularized within messaging applications like Facebook Messenger) will replace humans in a variety of jobs, while others speculate about just how helpful the technology really is to businesses. It seems that virtually everyone is talking about bots, including marketers.

Chat bots are the latest evolution in a long legacy of technologies changing the way consumers interact with companies. Every invention from telephones to social media has made businesses more accessible to consumers, and chat bots are no exception. I’ve been fascinated by the coverage for two reasons. One, the technology behind bots has been around for years, and some companies are doing a good job of marketing it. And two, bots—when done right—can help us do our jobs as marketers.

Not all bots are created equal, however, and marketers must carefully consider both the strengths and hurdles of bot technology before embracing it with open arms.

This is especially true within messaging apps, which have great potential to change the way businesses and consumers communicate. Messaging apps are perhaps the last remaining space on our mobile phones where users are in complete control of the interactions.

Messaging apps like Messenger and WhatsApp are popular for a reason–they’re easy to use, frictionless and convenient. This makes it all the more important for marketers to get their chat bot implementation right the first time. With already limited budgets, the costs of improving customer satisfaction are high for marketers, and they risk turning consumers away from a technology that has a lot of merit if they release a poor, ineffective chat bot.

In the world of online customer service, even a single bad experience is like food poisoning for marketers. No matter how delicious the food (or digital channel), consumers are not likely to give it a second chance if it has negative side effects. Bots will become yet another fad if they are not engaging and useful, which is why implementing the right bot technology is a business-critical decision.

In addition to choosing intelligent bots, integrating them with agent assistance and future-proofing investments in bot technology, marketers also have to ensure a customer-service experience that allows consumers to resolve challenges online, on their own terms and, ideally, within a single channel.

In today’s wave of “DIY” companies like Uber and Amazon, shoppers want to self-serve, and chat bots can make it easy for consumers to get answers and information on their own terms, and within widely used, convenient channels. Bots are very capable of offering this kind of personalized, on-brand customer service experience, but only if they can understand natural language, predict intent and know when to escalate that person’s query to a live agent.

For example, imagine you’ve hit a roadblock while booking a trip from New York to Chicago on an airline’s website. Rather than just saying something generic such as, “how can I help you?,” an intelligent bot would say, “Scott, I noticed you are trying to book a trip to Chicago, but your usual flight time is not available–is that why you messaged me?” It’s a powerful, compelling moment for the consumer–the kind we (as consumers) want more of.

To provide this level of compelling customer service, bots must be able to predict consumer intent, as well as know when to escalate a service request to human assistance without losing past context. The amount of data available to marketers about consumers is astounding, and businesses do their customers (and themselves) a disservice when they fail to leverage this technology to make real-time decisions about how to deliver the right treatment, and when.

When the app store first emerged on the scene, developers rushed to create an app for just about everything. But the ones that we still use today (and often) are ones that actually help us do something of value.

In the same vein, bot technology will become more mainstream, but its success will be dependent on its usefulness. Smart companies, and smart marketers, are looking at bots as an intriguing piece of an intent-driven engagement strategy that cuts across channels. But it’s only one piece. It’s essential that the front-end–where consumers first interact with a brand–be integrated with a platform that can serve up this predictive data.

Marketers have the opportunity to find great value from the chat bot trend and help solidify the technology as a key part of the customer-service experience, but only if they get it right the first time. In the world of customer service, second chances are no guarantee.

Scott Horn is the chief marketing officer at customer acquisition and engagement provider [24]7.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Longer-Form Articles Work on Smartphones (Study)

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Good news for publishers dabbling in Facebook Instant Articles: A new study from Pew Research Center found that long-form news articles are more effective among smartphone users.

The study was conducted by Pew in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, using audience behavior metrics from web analytics provider Parse.ly.

According to Pew, total engaged time (time spent scrolling, clicking or tapping) with news stories 1,000 words and longer averaged about twice that with stories of 101 to 999 words—123 seconds, compared with 57 seconds.

Pew added that while 76 percent of the articles it studied were of the shorter variety, long-form stories attracted visitors at nearly the same rate as short-form stories—1,530 complete interactions (URL to definition) versus 1,576.

Other findings included:

  • 36 percent of interactions with long-form news lasted more than two minutes, compared with 10 percent for short-form news.
  • 66 percent of complete interactions with short-form stories were one minute or shorter, compared with 42 percent for long-form news.
  • Long-form news readers spent an average of 148 seconds on new articles arrived at via internal links, dropping to: 132 seconds for those visiting articles directly or vie email links; 125 seconds for those arriving from external websites; 119 seconds from search; and 111 seconds from social media, However, social media sites drive the most traffic overall, roughly 40 percent for stories of both lengths.
  • While Facebook delivers more readers—accounting for some eight out of 10 initial visits from social networks, compared with around 15 percent for Twitter—users who arrive from Facebook spend an average of 107 seconds in longer-form stories, rising to 133 seconds when they come via Twitter. Those figures are 51 percent and 58 percent, respectively, for shorter-form stories.
  • Late-night and morning are the times of the day with the highest engagement: Readers spend 128 seconds on stories 1,000 words or longer and 60 seconds on those shorter than 1,000 words late at night, and the morning figures are 126 seconds and 59 seconds, respectively.
  • Only 4 percent of readers of long-form stories and 3 percent of readers of short-form stories return to those stories on their smartphones, but when they do, they stick around: Return visitors to long-form articles spend an average of 277 seconds, compared with 123 seconds for overall visitors, and those figures for short-form stories are 110 seconds and 57 seconds, respectively.
  • Stories of both lengths have short life spans, as 82 percent of interactions with short-form articles occur within two days after publication, as do 74 percent of interactions with long-form stories. By day three, those figures are 89 percent and 83 percent, respectively.
  • 72 percent of long-form readers and 79 percent of short-form readers view just one article from a given site on their smartphones over the course of one month. Long-form readers are more likely to view multiple articles on their smartphones than short-form readers, but those figures are just 28 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

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Pew director of journalism research Amy Mitchell said in a release introducing the study:

These findings suggest that on small, phone-sized screens, the public does not automatically turn away from an article at a certain point in time or reject digging into a longer-length news article. Instead, the average user tends to stay engaged past the point of where short-form reading would end, suggesting that readers may be willing to commit more time to a longer piece of work.

Readers: How do your reading habits on your smartphones match up with the findings by Pew?

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Instagram Interactions Plummet in 2015 (Study)

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Interactions with Instagram posts from a group of 10,000 profiles studied by social analytics provider Quintly plummeted over the course of 2015.

Quintly found that the interaction rate per Instagram post fell to 3.10 at the end of 2015 from 4.96 at the beginning of the year, offering its thoughts on why this happened in a blog post:

First, due to the higher post frequency of the average profile, timelines get increasingly crowded. If you followed the same profiles in January and December 2015, you most likely see more posts now than you did 12 months ago. But as you see in this study, more posts do not always mean more interactions. The second factor here is caused by the formula that calculates the interaction rate, which is all interactions divided by posts and followers. This means the more followers each profile gets, the smaller the interaction rate will get.

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Other findings by Quintly included:

  • The frequency of posts from the accounts it studied rose from 0.89 at the beginning of 2015 to 1.04 at year-end.
  • Posts containing images rose slightly during 2015, while video posts nearly doubled.
  • Follower growth for the average profile slipped from 21 percent at the beginning of the year to 16 percent at the end of 2015.

Quintly co-founder and CEO Alexander Peiniger said in a release introducing the study:

We think Instagram gets more grown-up, where decreasing growth and interaction rates are a normal phenomenon.

Readers: Did any of the findings by Quintly surprise you?

Image courtesy of 10 FACE / Shutterstock.com.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes

Facebook Best Professional Services: A Stealth Shot at Yelp, Angie’s List?

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Facebook is quietly testing a Best Professional Services page that taps reviews and ratings by users of the social network.

The potential alternative to similar services from Yelp, Angie’s List, Amazon and Google was initially spotted by Acodez IT Solutions social media manager Sreedev Sharma.

More than 80 options are available for searching, divided into the following categories:

  • Arts and marketing
  • Automotive
  • Business services
  • Event planning
  • Financial services
  • Home improvement
  • Lifestyle services
  • Medical and health
  • Pet services
  • Spa, beauty and personal care

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Clicking on any of the options brings up a ranked list of local businesses in that category, but Search Engine Land pointed out that while ratings from Facebook users via the social network’s five-star ratings system are factored into results from Best Professional Services, those results appear to be customized for individual users based on their interactions or their friends’ interactions with pages, as searches yielded different results when logged into Facebook or logged out.

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And TechCrunch pointed out that unlike most new features tested by Facebook, Best Professional Services appears to be available globally, and not limited to the U.S.

Readers: What are your initial impressions of Best Professional Services?

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Report: Social Media Platforms Are Becoming Too Complicated

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There is power in simplicity — at least that’s the premise behind the Siegel+Gale simplicity index.

The study uses survey data from more than 12,000 consumers in eight countries about the perceived simplicity or complexity of their interactions with more than 500 brands, and why simplicity pays off.

In this sixth annual report, Siegel+Gale included a social media specific portion.

Overall, social media ranked among the most complex with Instagram coming in at 48 as the most simple network, while LinkedIn ranked most complex at 108.

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According to the report, most people use social media to connect with friends and family, with older users finding social platforms more complex than younger generations. The survey results also indicated that Facebook and Pinterest were platforms use most by consumers as a discovery tool; however, Pinterest makes the process of discovery simple.

The report also indicates that marketers have a hard time developing social media ads that get noticed. This especially true for Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. Perhaps this is just a trade off for native advertising, which is by its nature, meant to integrate seamlessly into the social networking experience. When it came to YouTube and Facebook though, users were more likely to say ads disrupted their experience.

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Despite reports that the majority requests online go unanswered, only 12 percent of the survey respondents said they used social for customer service, and 86 percent said their requests were resolved successfully.

The report offered a few key takeaways for brands using social media:

  • Entertain before you sell. Besides connecting with friends and family, the majority of social media users are looking for new sources of entertainment.
  • Get noticed but don’t be disruptive. Consumers are frustrated with ads that disrupt their experience. Understanding the medium is the best way to create ads that get noticed without impacting the user experience negatively.
  • Use social for customer service. As noted previously, only a small percentage of survey respondents use social for customer service, but most are happy with the results.

Download the report for more insights from Siegel+Gale’s 2015 Simplicity Index.

Readers: Which social network is the simplest? Which is the most confusing?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Brands on Instagram Grew Followers, Posted More in Q2

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

INFOGRAPHIC: Which Super Bowl XLIX Advertisers Generated the Most Buzz?

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McDonald’s was the most discussed advertiser on Facebook and Twitter during Super Bowl XLIX Sunday night, while T-Mobile USA was the most engaging, according to analysis by real-time customer-engagement platform Engagor.

Engagor also found that:

  • There were 1,915,081 total mentions of Super Bowl ads Sunday, 1,513,527 on Facebook and 361,467 on Twitter.
  • 77 percent of social buzz related to Super Bowl ads came from mobile devices.
  • 68 percent of buzz came from males, versus 32 percent from females.
  • The top five states for Super Bowl ad buzz were: California, Texas, New York, Georgia and Illinois.

Readers: Did you post anything related to Super Bowl ads on Facebook or Twitter Sunday?

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

Are mobile users moving away from sharing content via Facebook?

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A new report by Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Adobe shows that people may be moving away from Facebook’s public content sharing methods in favor of more private methods, such as messaging.

Adobe’s latest Mobile Benchmark Report shows that, among digital magazine publishers, Facebook sharing on mobile is down 42.6 percent year over year, while sharing via iMessage has risen 259 percent. Sharing through Pinterest rose 131 percent in that time period.

Tamara Gaffney, Principal Analyst for Adobe Digital Index, talked with Inside Facebook about how people seem to be preferring more private methods of sharing via mobile than Facebook:

Facebook, to a certain degree, is a victim of its own success. We have so many friends from all walks of life in it. The fact that all of the interactions going on between mobile devices and Facebook are having problems with getting smaller sets out this big thing that Facebook has become is likely to create a dampening on the amount of sharing. If you’re a media company, that’s a problem. All that sharing is how you get traffic. You want sharing to happen on Facebook because Facebook is broader and you’re more likely to get more people clicking through an article.

Gaffney noted that as users acquire more and more friends, something that person shares probably won’t be relevant to 100 percent of their connection base. By sharing a story through a program like iMessage, it assures that only the intended audiences sees the content. While expert users know to create friend lists, it can be a confusing process on mobile.

Though Facebook talks about being a mobile company, Adobe also found that most referrals from the site still come from desktop.

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Adobe’s study shows that 60 percent of Facebook referrals come from PC, while only 25 percent come on a smartphone. That figure is third to Twitter and Pinterest.

Facebook is doing better with the average revenue per visit to retail sites, especially on tablets, where the average tablet user generated $1.55 when they were referred to a retail site from the social network. Tumblr paced the field in terms of RPV on tablets, with $2.57.

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Readers: Do you now prefer to share via more private channels, when you’re on mobile?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

STUDY: Facebook ads sequenced like stories lead to increased view-throughs

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A new study by Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Adaptly, in partnership with Facebook and Refinery29, shows that advertisers who position and sequence their Facebook ads to take customers down the conversion funnel can experience an uplift in view-through and subscription rates.

Adaptly worked with lifestyle website Refinery29, testing ads that were sequenced like stories, receiving an 87 percent rise in overall view-throughs and a 56 percent conversion lift.

Adaptly CEO Nikhil Sethi commented on the study:

As fundamental as this question is, it’s amazing that so little has been published on the topic of sequencing vs. sustained messaging. And although the research findings might sound like an obvious outcome, some advertisers may find it counterintuitive to elongate a campaign as a way to more gradually bring their audience through the purchase funnel, rather than more immediately delivering a call-to-action. But we have proven that this classic brand-building approach it is both effective and efficient, even for direct response advertising.

Here’s how Adaptly and Refinery29 helped consumers down the conversion funnel.

Adaptly worked with Refinery29 to get users to sign up for its service, which inspires millennial-minded women to live a more mindful and enlightened life. The two companies created a campaign using Custom Audiences to target ads at Refinery29′s best email subscribers (the most active 5 percent). Then, Adaptly built a Facebook lookalike audience of more than 2 million people who were also likely to become high-value customers. Facebook helped to split this audience into 3 treatment groups.

The ad group that saw sequenced posts saw messages across 12 days, split evenly to lead people down the funnel, from top to bottom.

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Facebook Audience Insights gives marketers an overview of their potential audiences

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IntroducingFacebookAudienceInsights650Facebook introduced a way for brands to learn more about the audiences they are targeted with their ads on the social network in order to refine their strategies, and the new Audience Insights tool will begin rolling out to U.S. users of Ads Manager Thursday, with access outside of the U.S. to be added “in the coming months.” Audience Insights will offer brands aggregate and anonymous information on Facebook users, including:

  • Demographics — age and gender, lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role, and household size.
  • Page likes — the top pages people like in different categories, like women’s apparel or sports.
  • Location and language — where do people live, and what languages do they speak?
  • Facebook usage — how frequently are people in your target audience logging onto Facebook, and what device(s) they are using when they log on?
  • Purchases activity — past purchase behavior (i.e. heavy buyers of women’s apparel) and purchase methods (i.e., in-store, online).

The aggregate and anonymous information can be viewed for three different groups of people:

  • People on Facebook (the general Facebook audience).
  • People connected to brands’ pages or events.
  • People in custom audiences brands have already created (audiences made up of current customers).

Facebook said in a post on its Facebook for Business page introducing Audience Insights:

The more customer insights you have, the better you’re equipped to deliver meaningful messages to people. That’s the thinking behind Facebook Audience Insights, a new tool designed to help marketers learn more about their target audiences, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, purchase behavior, and more.

Say you want to raise awareness for your women’s luxury fashion brand, and you sell your products in-store. You’d want to know how many people on Facebook live near your stores, as well as their interests, their past purchase behavior, and how they tend to shop (online vs. in-store).

Audience Insights is different from Page Insights because it looks at trends about your current or potential customers across Facebook, whereas Page Insights looks at the interactions with your page (i.e., likes, comments, and shares).

We built Audience Insights with privacy in mind. It surfaces aggregated information people already express on Facebook, along with information from trusted third-party partners — like Axciom – through our partner categories targeting. Like Page Insights, Audience Insights shows information about groups of people without the need to share which individual people are in those groups. This allows marketers to view aggregate and anonymous insights while keeping people’s personal information private.

Marketers on Facebook: Are you excited about the potential uses for Audience Insights?

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Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

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