Since Facebook and Kik debuted their chatbot channels last year, thousands of bots have been built by brands, media companies and developers on the platforms, with more expected in 2017. (Just last week, Facebook unveiled its Messenger 2.0, with brands like Subway, Aeromexico and Food Network coming onboard.)
However, while bots might seem like just another extension on social media, there is still a lot to figure out in terms of performance and measurement. And just like the early days of social media, understanding what clicks and what doesn’t is still a work in progress.
“When we were creating chatbots and thinking about it as a new medium, we wanted to go back to the drawing board to assess how these things should be measured,” said Kik product manager Laura Newton. “Although bots are still a niche product and aren’t super widespread, they cover a vast variety of use cases and we think they need to be treated different.”
Despite all the early hype, brands need to be careful to set realistic expectations for what bots can do now and what they can do a year from now.