The Future of User Interface — Voice Meets the Screen

WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel speaking at the Landmark CIO Summit in NYC, May 4, 2017. In “The Future of User Interface,” he addresses how to engage customers through a variety of targeted technologies like conversational interfaces. Instead of typing, tapping or using a mouse, we will primarily use our voices, but the response from our devices will vary among voice, text and graphics, depending on our context. “Multi-Modal UX” will be the biggest change in human interface design since the iPhone revolutionized mobile 10 years ago, and will change everything from how consumers buy online or consume content, to how employees in the field rapidly access information.

Think small: the new metrics of engagement for news

“And small numbers of loyal users can mean big revenues:

  • The 22,000 “partners” who pay 60 euros a year for eldiario.es in Spain represent nearly 40% of their revenues but less than 1% of their total unique users, according to the CEO (in Spanish).
  • The 2.5 million digital-only subscribers to the New York Times represent less than 3% of their total users but now generate more revenue than print advertising, a historic milestone.”

 

Read full blog post by James Breiner

Politics publisher The Canary is converting text articles to audio to find new audiences

To broaden its audience, British left-leaning news site The Canary has been converting all its text articles to audio since last September. In time, it plans to make its audio articles available on voice assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, where publishers are increasingly making more content available. Continue reading “Politics publisher The Canary is converting text articles to audio to find new audiences”

4 things I learned building chatbots for major brands in 2017

In 2017, my team powered chatbots and voice skills for leading brands like Nike, Vice, Jameson, Marriott Rewards, Simon, Gatorade, and more. We witnessed new user behaviors and uncovered an evolved set of best practices to build a chatbot. Here are four actionable learnings from our work that you should consider when launching your own chatbot in 2018.

1. Personalization drives engagement

Bots that are designed to segment and engage customers throughout the entire conversation drive higher metrics than chatbots that do not personalize the conversation. For example, in our testing, personalized results yielded the highest click-through to website, up to 74 percent in some cases.

This year, a leading athletic brand set out to inspire a sneaker style for girls across the globe. The brand launched a customized sneaker builder where the user uploads of a photo of her outfit, and magically, in an instant, the bot pulls up a pair of shoes that matches the uploaded picture. This experience drove a click-through rate 12.5X higher than the global brand average.

Bud Light launched a chatbot with the goal of driving demand and purchase of Bud Light’s team cans on game day throughout the NFL season. A personalized data model and chatbot powered the ordering and delivery of team cans every game day during the NFL season. The Bud Light chatbot acted as a utility to remind fans that it was game time, and to order Bud Light before the game. Bud Light saw an 83 percent engagement rate with personalization.

2. Get to the point quickly

Across multiple chatbots, about half of the first actions that users take is free text entry. Updating the onboarding copy to manage expectations — “this is a bot that can do X and Y,” for example — lowers that initial friction. If the first intent is help-related or a long-form text entry, you can provide a customer service number, FAQs, or an option to “talk to a human” from the very beginning.

When users get into the designed experience, point of sale should be within five clicks. For example, after A/B testing a chatbot across 250,000 users, we noticed a significant drop-off occured when the core focus (click to purchase, etc.) was beyond five clicks.

3. Chatbots go beyond mobile devices

Bots are an effective tool to drive real-world activities or offline conversions, with coupon redemption rates as high as 30 percent.

A leading quick-service restaurant brand launched a new bot that drove users through an immersive content experience with videos, quizzes, recipes, and coupons. This high engagement led to over 71,000 coupons redeemed from the chatbot.

The Jordan Brand aimed to reach elite high school football, basketball, and baseball athletes with an ongoing training chatbot experience for pre-season training. Jordan delivered nightly prep videos and daily workout series to a targeted group of high school athletes in advance of basketball season on Facebook Messenger. Athletes loved receiving push notifications reminding them to work out. Jordan saw an extremely high completion rate as well as a high re-engagement rate compared to regular customer relationship management programs: Over 70 percent of users surveyed enjoyed the experience.

4. Truly understand your users

Understanding why people did or did not enjoy the experience is key. One way to do this is using free text analysis to understand sentiment and drop-off. For example, we launched a new bot with a leading shoe retailer. Most people came to the bot knowing what specific shoe they wanted to buy or with a question about the shoe they already bought. Cater to the specific pain points and make sure your bot handles customer intent at every stage.

Finally, make sure to survey users and learn from both your best purchasers as well as your qualified no’s. One way to do this by asking your users directly. You can use a chatbot for net promoter score surveying.

Jonathan Shriftman is the director of business development at Snaps, a mobile messaging service.

Purch is a publisher with a $24 million business in licensing ad tech

With publishers realizing that they can no longer be wholly dependent on ads for their revenue, Purch is getting more serious about selling proprietary technology to other publishers.

Purch — a commerce-focused publisher that owns tech and product review sites such as Tom’s Guide, Top Ten Reviews and Live Science — is profitable. It makes about $120 million a year in revenue, with about 20 percent coming from ad tech products that it licenses to 25 publisher clients, said Purch CRO Mike Kisseberth. Over the next year, the company plans to grow its number of publisher clients to roughly 40, and have its tech licensing operation account for about 25 percent of its overall revenue, he said. Continue reading “Purch is a publisher with a $24 million business in licensing ad tech”

FT Conversation: the FT at BBC newsHack

Back in October, the BBC organised a hackathon as part of their newsHack series. This time, they focused on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI) and, for the occasion, invited other news organisations to take part. The FT joined in with a pluri-disciplinary team (editorial, UX design, software engineering).

At the end of the 2-day event, we had a prototype ready for FT Conversation, an application running on Google Home, with our users’ comments at its heart. Continue reading “FT Conversation: the FT at BBC newsHack”

My roundup of developments in 2017 that caught my eye.

In my final blog post of the year, I’m going to talk about some of the developments in librarianship and the related domains that caught my eye. Of course, this is by necessity going to be personal and idiosyncratic from my point of view
“Obi-Wan: Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil!
Anakin Skywalker: From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!” – Revenge of the Sith (2005) Continue reading “My roundup of developments in 2017 that caught my eye.”

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