ActiveBuddy also built bots for commercial clients including Radiohead, Intel, Keebler, Microsoft, Comcast and Austin Powers. I think that there are three key reasons that agencies should consider getting into the bot space: First, bots and related hot startup activity in the A.I. Bots are a conversational platform. Bots are about your understanding of human and consumer communications. OK, one more big reason to consider bots: Large-scale messaging platforms including Microsoft's Bot Framework and Facebook have embraced and are promoting bots. Getting in early is a good thing. "We’re very early in the evolution of conversation user interfaces, and while it is clear that the vast majority of consumers use messaging apps -- and consider them necessary -- the bots themselves leave a lot to be desired." The key takeaway that my team took from our ActiveBuddy and SmarterChild experience was that bots had to have a compelling personality to grab the attention and repeat usage of their human buddies. A user had to want to talk with the bot. Remember, the great advantage of bots is their conversational interface.
Sixteen years ago, I was the founder and CEO of ActiveBuddy, the first commercial bot — or chatbot — company. Our uber human natural language bot SmarterChild grew to having over 20 million users across the AOL and Microsoft Instant Messaging networks.
There is a very good chance that you had one of our bots in your Buddy List.
SmarterChild proved that people liked having a conversation with a smart, opinionated computer. ActiveBuddy also built bots for commercial clients including Radiohead, Intel, Keebler, Microsoft, Comcast and Austin Powers.
We had a great run. But, we were way too early and eventually sold our technology to Microsoft.
Marketing Agencies and Bots
The good news for savvy marketing agencies is that due to advances in natural language processing, A.I. and the ubiquity of messaging platforms -- including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack -- bots are back and have become one of today's most hyped marketing platforms.
The pitch to marketers that ActiveBuddy used in 2001 -- "Now, your brand can have an active 1:1 conversation with a customer" -- is a daily fact of life in 2016.
I think that there are three key reasons that agencies should consider getting into the bot space:
First, bots and related hot startup activity in the A.I. space are, well, hot. Here is a quote from the always-prescient research firm L2's discussion of winners and losers:
“Loser: social apps. Looking at the most popular words
startups use to describe themselves when trying to raise money, it
appears that ‘app’ and ‘social’ have given way to ‘artificial
intelligence’ and ‘machine learning.'”
The second reason that you should consider entering the bot space is that bots are more like traditional advertising than apps ever were. Bots are a conversational platform. Because of this, agencies have the right skill sets for bot development. You know how to write, create compelling content and...