Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Successful conversational advertising sits at the sweet spot between art and science

By  Sophie Gunyon, Sales Director, Cavai

Advertising is littered with straplines that have become synonymous with the brands they were designed to promote. We can all name a major TV or radio ad with a snappy strapline you just can’t forget, or a maddeningly catchy jingle as a call to action. These are all the work of some incredibly talented creatives who have been hired because they know how to craft powerful, impactful prose which will drive a deeper connection between brand and consumer. 

What will surprise many is that this expertise is also utilised in conversational advertising where the most successful providers employ the services not of bots or AI but of Conversational Designers, namely skilled writers who bring an air of magic to their messaging.

Creative roles within an adtech environment are rare, with many assuming the success of conversational advertising is all down to science and is simply a case of selecting the most appropriate phrase from a predetermined list of responses before serving them to the consumer.

While this chatbot-style drag and drop approach is of course an option, it will always ensure a brand’s ad engagement falls significantly short of its potential. 

Instead, what is needed for effective conversational advertising is a degree of the human touch that is behind every memorable advertising campaign in history. Because while it is not a billboard, or a 30-second spot, the interaction someone has with a brand online is as important as any focused ad campaign they will encounter elsewhere. 

The internet is the digital shop window, the portal through which the consumer can step to engage with a product, and the interaction that takes place there should be treated with the appropriate degree of respect. 

That does not mean churning out an automated series of pleasantries followed by some generic and unhelpful signposting. It means engaging in cleverly crafted and intelligently created conversation that has the ability to not only engage the consumer from the outset but then carry them through a conversation to a positive and satisfactory conclusion. 

This is a constant process that involves optimisation, tweaking and adapting as you go; a dynamic undertaking which requires careful design and tailored messaging bespoke to the product, brand or service the client is looking to promote. 

For decades advertising has required the coming together of two key components: a copywriter and a layout designer. Conversational advertising is a modern take on that process: data-informed dialogue blended with visually-compelling techniques that, together, capture the attention of the digital consumer. 

The secret is to create something that doesn’t stray too far from a live messaging experience so that people know intuitively how to interact with it. Every time brands move too far away from the familiar they miss the mark and risk losing a potential customer. 

When attention is such a sparse commodity, investing in conversational advertising can make the difference between an online shopper dropping in and passing on, or stopping to look around. It can convert a browser into a buyer or can be the reason behind a basket being checked out rather than abandoned. In short, for e-commerce brands it can be the difference between red and black. 

At Cavai we define conversational advertising as smart technology that uses bespoke creative assets, made by real people. Today we want to reclaim conversational advertising as an artform that is facilitated by technology. Original work showcased on a unique platform. It is not exclusively art, nor solely science, but represents the perfect meeting point for the two disciplines, and at its heart is the human touch.

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