Botumentary: how media companies are using bots for personalisation

In a world filled with fake news and an abundance of content, publishers are faced with a huge challenge. How can they cut through all the noise to deliver personalised messaging to the right consumers at exactly the right time?

As a result, The Drum has released a short film exploring how media companies are using bots to personalise content for consumers.This film, containing interviews with Dennis Publishing, Facebook and OgilvyOne, explains how bots are helping consumers by filtering news stories and choosing the right products for them.

Take one of the biggest shopping events of the year: Black Friday. Shoppers are usually overwhelmed with non-stop deals and have no idea which one to choose.

For Paul Hood, head of digital, technology division at Dennis Publishing, chatbots can be useful in filtering relevant content.

“Bots can personalise that experience to help bring us just the products we’re interested in and perhaps send us notification alerts when there’s a particular deal on, or when an offer falls into the price range that we’ve specified. That can be a useful service for end users,” he says.

The e-commerce opportunity offered by chatbots for publishers is huge too.

As Kemal El Moujahid, lead product manager at Facebook messenger platform notes in the film: “Messaging is eating the world. There are 1.3 billion people on messenger today and next year 2 billion people are estimated to be messaging across all apps globally.”

Bots are not for everyone

But this does not mean that bots will be helpful – or right – for every organisation. Publishers still need to think about the value add for the consumer – will it improve reach or help facilitate a transaction?

“Perhaps where we’ve gone wrong in the past, of course with the benefit of hindsight, is that we’ve published for volume, so we’ve gone after ever-increasing audience sizes without really understanding the value of those eyeballs.

“I think we need to be much more careful about the value proposition for the content that we’re creating,” says Hood.

The film follows the release of a Facebook bot for The Drum, developed by OgilvyOne, which taps into the value proposition offered by messaging apps as readers spend more time there – giving ample opportunities for news organisations to target them with relevant content.

For deeper insights, watch the full film above.

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