The first banner ad ran in 1994 by AT & T and it said ‘click on this’, generating a 44% CTR. What is surprising, and not in a good way is that we are still running banner ads today and are disappointingly happy to accept a CTR of 0.044%. We need to change the perception of advertising and stem the flow of ineffective advertising and of users turning to ad blockers to turn us off.
Online advertising is designed to take you away from where you want to be or block you from what you want to see. Users do not want to be taken away from the content that they are viewing and it is a big no no for brands to be aligned with intrusive and creepy advertising.
Buzzwords of AI, big data and blockchain mean nothing to the end user and 1 billion people adopted ad blockers in 2019 with an estimated cost of $35bn ( eMarketer). Effectiveness has fallen in line with the rise of irritating ads. Marc Pritchard confirmed this recently when he said: “We targeted too much, and we went too narrow. The bigger your brand, the more you need broad reach and less targeted media.” That’s the bad news.
So what’s the good news?
One answer is ‘chatvertising’ for a number of very good reasons. But firstly, what is ‘chatvertising’? In simple terms, it is conversational-style advertising, delivered in a chatbot-like experience. Cavai is a platform pioneering conversational-style advertising, using a decision-tree based model, and we are seeing first-hand how this highly engaging advertising model is growing mainly in response to the needs of the consumer. Those needs are for example expressed by 9/10 consumers globally who want to use messaging to talk to businesses. 72 trillion messages were sent via chat apps in 2018, surpassing social media and browser interactions. Also, 53% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy from a company that they can contact via a chat app ( eMarketer).
Consumers now demand instant forms of communications via messaging apps and social media, with chatbots having almost replaced phone and mail. This is where conversational-style advertising delivered in a chatbot-like frame, really comes into its own.
Marketers need to harness this trend and whilst online advertising has traditionally focused on one-way advertising, the dramatic rise of ‘chatvertising’ is increasing the number of customers who buy, interact, view and respond to advertising messages. Des it beat the 0.044% CTR of the banner? Hell yes. Our clients have found a dramatic improvement in consumer engagement with a chat rate of 3.2% - 4.4%.
Customer experience has changed radically over the last 2 - 3 years and consumer interaction has spilled over into digital channels. Vodafone introduced chatbot Tobi in 11 countries and five more markets are expected over the next year and this has been driven by the fact that consumers want 1-2-1 contact and marketers need to consider their emotional and rational considerations.
Travel is one sector which has embraced chatbots and automation has dramatically improved customer experience, retention and sales. Cavai has a number of hotel clients who use chatverising to engage with customers before they get to a hotel, providing them with an enhanced experience. By creating a personal connection via ‘chatvertising’, the hotels use the data to personalise their experience before, during and after their visit.
The value seen by CMOs who embrace conversational-style advertising are reaping the rewards and are creating a strong, emotional connection with their customers. The future of marketing is about connecting with your customer and one of the best ways to do that is to have a conversation with them through advertising. Watch this space as we see conversational-style advertising turning the tide on ineffectiveness and once again, putting consumer engagement and therefore de facto, the customer experience first.
Steffen Svartberg, CEO, Cavai