If you haven’t noticed, chat bots are the latest trend in customer service on Twitter, and the social media site is now giving companies a new way to promote their automated assistants. Twitter announced this week that they were introducing a new feature for brands: an advertisement that’s designed to draw users in to interacting with their bot.
One such promoted Tweet is for Patron Tequila, and touts a virtual bartender that helps people choose a cocktail based on occasion and flavor preference. The new “direct message cards” can be customized with a photo or video, and can include up to four initial options for users to choose from. The Patron, for example, asks whether the user is at the pool, at a party, in the mountains, or at a cookout.
These chat bots aren’t necessarily of the customer service variety like we’ve seen some airline utilize, or even about promoting a product. They’re simply about getting users to interact with a brand. The focus isn’t on a transaction, but on having fun.
Of course, once a user’s interaction with a bot comes to an end, they’ll have the chance to Tweet their result (in the case of Patron, reveal their perfect cocktail) and encourage others to join in.
Twitter isn’t the first social media site to go down this avenue. Facebook tried this feature before with mixed results, but a lot of criticism there came from interactions when a chat bot would pretend to be a person with poor results. With Twitter, brands are clear that the user is messaging a bot, so perhaps results will be better.
Right now, this feature is still in beta testing, and is only open to certain advertisers. But if users respond, expect to see the feature rolled out on a larger scale.