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The evolution of conversational AI

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By Steffen Svartberg, CEO of Cavai

How does a CEO respond to an evolving digital post-COVID world? With brands looking for innovative ways to engage with consumers, savvy marketers are waking up to the many benefits of conversational AI. Discover how conversational marketing enables brands to create more meaningful customer experiences and find out how the channel is evolving to provide more valuable conversions for brands. 

Conversational advertising finds its calling in a reshaped world

Conversational AI made a remarkable argument for its value during the pandemic, disseminating information and resolving uncertainties in real-time. Even as COVID slowly comes under control, the need for interactive conversational tools will remain in a cautious world, setting the scene for an imminent surge in commercial conversational advertising. Gartner has foreseen as much, predicting last year that “by 2025, customer service organisations that embed AI in their multichannel customer engagement platform will elevate operational efficiency by 25%.” Indeed, it’s becoming quite clear that conversational ads are the advertising solution for our times as they enable brands to adapt to the compromises of our reshaped reality.

Advertisers must stay on the front foot in this altered landscape and leverage innovative advertising formats in order to stay ahead. With marketing budgets having taken a hit, advertising will have to work harder than ever in order to drive revenue. Conversational is one format destined to thrive in this ‘new normal’ since it focuses on real engagement over a crude measurement of click rate alone. At a time when genuine connections have never mattered more, conversational marketing goes beyond static brand messages to enable authentic interactions that are closer to human dialogue. 

How organisations and brands are using conversational advertising successfully 

Any service offering where there is a lot of pre-qualification will see the conversational format come into its own. So as a result of the pandemic we are seeing financial and public sector bodies utilise conversational ads to create a simple dialogue around complicated queries.

It can be challenging to effectively answer these questions in traditional display formats but a rolling conversation format is highly effective for disseminating relevant information for a consumer. The fallout of the pandemic has proven the true value of conversational mechanics as brands turned to formats that enabled them to impart useful information in a natural way. This matters more during a crisis when consumers expect quick responses when accessing essential products and services.  

Generally speaking, brands often turn to Cavai with objectives in mind that may not always be tied to promoting a new service or product. BMW approached Cavai to develop an engaging campaign encouraging consumers to provide opt-in consent for marketing campaigns as a result of newly enforced GDPR regulations. 

A consent-based customer base of 200,000 by 2025 had become the most important performance target for the Norwegian marketing department of BMW (in addition to selling cars, of course). Unlike previous new model launch campaigns that enabled the brand to collect several new consents, this time round BMW didn’t have a new model to promote, so they couldn’t rely on price and product in the campaign. 

This led them to partner with Cavai on a fun BMW-related quiz that users completed to be in with a chance of winning a grand prize. On completion of the quiz, they were led to a landing page to register their contact details to be entered into the prize draw and consent to receiving marketing material from BMW. 

The results were impressive.

In total, 5,847 users registered their consent to receive marketing material from BMW, much higher than anticipated. An unbelievable 18,975 users clicked through to the landing page, giving an amazing conversion rate of 30.81%.

Brands like BMW and public sector organisations are wising up to the value that conversational brings to increase engagement and ultimately drive conversions.

The evolving nature of conversational marketing and what it means for advertisers

Brands have taken advantage of the evolving conversational advertising mechanism to create more meaningful customer experiences. Marketers hoping to thrive in a post-COVID world must adopt an always-on conversational strategy and leverage the insights to refine future campaigns. Our technology is developing rapidly, encompassing conversations across display and social ecosystems, with dialogue and video, to create a full-service, conversational ‘cloud’. Innovations like our Cavai Bubble replicate social media chat functionality in a contextual mobile format to help brands reach their consumers in a more familiar way. The future will see exciting partnerships with social media platforms and more of a shift beyond display ads. Particularly at a time of crisis, it will be this move away from static brand monologues that will really show your customers you are listening when they are longing to be heard.

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