At Mic, we’re always working on new ways to tell stories and engage our readers. Over the past few months, messaging apps have become a much-discussed medium for business-to-consumer interaction. The business case for paying attention to these apps is that their user bases are large and relatively young. But as a publisher, we’re especially excited about messaging app because this new, popular user interface is language-based. The core functionality is the exchange of information, which opens many possibilities for rethinking how people get news.
Today we’re launching our first chatbot in the Kik Bot Shop. It’s called DisOrDatBot. It’s a fun and simple way to weigh in on today’s issues and learn about them in the process. You can start chatting with it right now by sending a message to the username “DisOrDatBot” or simply by scanning the Kik code below.
The interface is extremely simple: our bot asks you which of two things you like more. You pick one thing, and our bot tells you what percentage of other users agree with you. You can choose from four question categories, and each day, the voting ends on one question and the final results are tallied and sent out.
What separates DisOrDat from a simple either-or bot is that most DisOrDatBot questions also have an option to ask for more information. If the user taps “Huh?” in response to these questions, the bot sends a Mic link that explains the subject of the question.
We’ve had some pretty great engagement with this bot in testing: each user sent an average of 65 replies. 28 of those replies were answers to questions. Compare this to Microsoft’s WeChat bot, which averages 12 replies per session.
With our official release today in the Kik bot store, we hope to bring our bot to tons of new users and continue to push the boundaries of online editorial content. As bots become more widespread across platforms like Kik and Facebook Messenger, we’ll be experimenting with different approaches to this emerging medium. Stay tuned!