Every 6 months a calculation is made to see which social media is used the most. In the Netherlands we see, rather unsurprisingly, the usual suspects in the top three: Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp. It is striking that specifically messenger apps — applications that you can use to send messages — are becoming increasingly popular. This creates momentum for chatbots, the automated (and optimised) variant of messenger applications. How can organisations, but also festivals and DJs, respond to this?
Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp
The figures for social media usage in the Netherlands show it. Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp are unquestionably on the winners’ podium, coming in first, second and third place respectively. Each of these social media used by more than 60% percent of Dutch people. Facebook Messenger, the free messenger application from Facebook, is used by more than one in three Dutch people. It leaves Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Skype, Snapchat and Twitch behind.
Growth of messenger apps
Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and FB Messenger are also the four most used social media platforms worldwide. Internationally, it is striking that Chinese messaging apps WeChat and QQ are exceptionally popular as well, while these applications cannot be found in the Dutch top ten. This is hardly surprising in light of the Chinese origins of these apps.
However, this international perspective shows an important development: messenger apps, such as QQ, WeChat, WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, are becoming ever more popular. That’s why it appears that there are new opportunities for organisations, festivals and artists. Thanks to the growing popularity of messenger apps, they are able to create a relationship with (potential) fans in another way, namely by way of chatbots.
This relationship is the most important (economic) value in the digital culture and the personalisation of this relationship is the holy grail for both DJs, festivals and organisations. After all, it is the only lifeline for an organisation’s business model.
Online, the social ecosystem is always on. To make optimal use of it, you have to make people, resources (knowledge, tools and money) and time available. The use of bots via Messenger-apps to optimise the relationship is a logical consequence.
First DJ with a bot
Hardwell’s bot was launched mid-2016. The first in the dance industry. This made him a pioneer. Quickly after we heard that Redfoo from pop duo LMFAO had launched a bot. Bots are certainly on the rise this year. For parties such as Facebook and Microsoft, the bot will be the main priority for the coming years. Primarily due to the enormous popularity of apps such as: Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Fans can ask Hardwell about anything. In addition, they can participate in competitions and are the first to get the new music releases and news updates. They can also send fan art to Hardwell, where the best submissions are posted on Instagram or Twitter every week. In addition, you can also purchase merchandise. It is expected that soon even more activities will take place within the app environment, even ticket sales for shows.
People versus bots
Many organisations may have the feeling they can replace their staff with bots. However, they should think properly before they do this. In the ideal scenario, people and bots should work together, allowing a bot to do its work in the most effective way. The questions Hardwell’s bot answers have first been analysed by people from earlier messages, before answers have been added to the bot. This increases the relevance of the answers and the dialogue duration.
While some see bots as the next big thing for customer service, most bots are not sufficiently equipped to provide comprehensive answers to the increasing requirements fans or customers have for their relationships with organisations. This is due to the limited dialogue that some bots have. This is rather apparent with the bot that Redfoo from LMFAO uses. This bot is rather limited. It lacks relevant answers, which means the dialogue quickly flounders. If you do not get an adequate answer to your question, then you stop asking questions. Try for yourself.
Fully self-directed bots are not possible either, so it appears from Microsoft’s bot Tay that was trained to be a Nazi in a short period of time. For now, there is still a human aspect at play. Questions that cannot yet be answered, must be reviewed and missing relevant answers must be added. A bot must literally be trained constantly by providing it with data and contextual information.
This is a process that occurs almost every day with Hardwell’s bot, states Sebastien Lintz from Hardwell’s management Sorted.
“By analysing the messages on a daily basis and adding more answers that were missing, dialogues become longer and more relevant. We built a system with wemakeawesomesh.it where we automatically record messages that were not answered. We initialise a response together with Robbert (Hardwell, editor). This means that Hardwell’s bot improves a little every day.”
Pointless without data and context
The abovementioned process is required to develop the artificial intelligence of a bot. The use of a bot for marketing, communication and/or sales purposes has infinite possibilities. Before you can enjoy the artificial intelligence of a bot you need mountains of data. The data that is required for this comes from the ecosystem of the organisation and further afield. When using characteristics of fans or customers for marketing, communication, and/or sales activities in a bot you must do the following with the data: validate, enrich, profile, segment, match, localise and decide.
Only after this process does the right context exist and the chance of reach, interaction, relevance and transaction increases. Contextual insights, that is what it is ultimately all about when discussing bots. Only with those insights can you increase the intelligence of a bot and achieve improved relationships and collaborations with fans and customers by using a bot. As a DJ, have you still not invested in data collection and providing context? Then there is a big chance that you can never use a bot optimally. Moreover, no other form of communication with fans can take place without you making use of data. Almost a pointless exercise.
Organisations should focus on using technology when that is useful — not only technology for the sake of technology. This does not mean to say that bots do not have value yet. They must be used strategically at this stage. Organisations must know when to use answers from a bot or a human. Or as a blend of both. The latter is currently the case with Hardwell. The DJ cares about the answers his bot gives. By contrast, Redfoo’s bot simply does not yet know what you are asking.
It is about balance more than anything else. Use bots to carry out process-oriented tasks and to save more complex questions. One can have these more complex questions analysed by people, who in turn are able to make the experience richer for fans or customers by adding relevant answers. The combination of human and technological processes will in time help to converge to the most effective, automated solution.
Bots are built with the intention of creating better, seamless experiences between organisations and fans or customers. This brings the responsibility of using bots in a way that actually improves the experience for the fan or customer. Will bots start a new revolution in the personal artist-fan relationship? Hardwell’s bot in any case already shows all the potential of the technology.
- This post is a pre-read of Part 4 — Chapter 6 of my new book ‘Digital Assets’ the translation of the Dutch publication ‘Digitaal Vermogen’.
- Also read the publication ‘EDM and the Digital Domain’