Conversational ads provide a welcome disruption to digital

By Verity Bouette | 23 Mar 2020

The rise of customer-centric metrics and a younger generations’ growing distain at online ad experiences is the antithesis to traditional banner ads. For brands to engage and resonate with people online they must deliver meaningful interactions. 

Conversational ads enable two-way messaging through artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, rendering authentic conversation within standard Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) units like the billboard or half-page ad. They offer brands a powerful way to grab people’s attention online and shorten that all-important sales cycle. 

And in terms of creativity? The technology has come a long way, with some now even supporting GIFs. Gen Z, eat your heart out!

With customers willing to engage in non-traditional activities online now more than ever, there’s no better time to try new things with your digital strategy.

So, what is the appeal? Real-time personalisation. With 71% feeling frustrated that their shopping experiences are impersonal, conversational ads provide a welcome change to the static display banners we’re used to.

A better understanding of customer problems

To influence a person’s purchase decision, advertisers must first understand their needs.

Embedding a chatbot within an ad means you can ask questions that lead you to the right solution in a matter of minutes. For example, a skincare brand might ask a few basic questions around dryness or sensitivity before revealing the most appropriate product. The customer is driven down the buying funnel while not requiring them to leave the original content they were consuming.

Continuing the conversation

The retargeting possibilities of conversational ads far outweigh the usual use of third-party data with people engaging in conversation with the unit. By engaging in conversation, they’re actively revealing their purchase intent.

The personalisation tightrope

Despite the potential ability to use this data to present people with perfectly personalised messages immediately, using personal data to tailor initial conversations could mean customers finding themselves in the ‘uncanny valley’ - a term first used in robotics to describe the sense of unease when technology is too life-like.

A growing distrust of advertisers’ use of data and privacy concerns also means it’s important to be mindful of how you use conversational ads – there’s a fine line between clever and creepy.