Our experts reveal what it takes for a chatbot to be successful, the challenges it can bring, and what to expect from computer-simulated conversations in the future.

A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate human conversation. It’s something that many in the media and marketing worlds will be familiar with. Chatbots are taking over; companies such as H&M;, Amazon and Microsoft are experimenting with them, using them to interact with customers about everything from complaints to personal style tips.

Here, four brands and publishers that are using chatbots share their lessons from working with them.

“Creating a chatbot that understands a consumer’s intent is a real challenge. When is it appropriate for our CNN chatbot, for example, to alert you? When should it stay quiet? For us, chatbots are a powerful way to deliver real-time, personal news to our audience. But we want the conversation to feel personal. The most effective chatbots in the publishing space bring the right mix of editorial curation and technological automation.

“During the Rio Olympics, we created a choose-your-own-adventure tour of Copacabana Beach on mobile messenger app Kik. We programmed a bot to talk with users, who could choose to talk to passers by, ask them questions, or continue walking along. We were able to reach a new audience of 13-17 year olds.

“The next frontier is real-time multimedia chat bots that return intelligent audio or video responses across mobile, the internet of things, and connected TVs. Amazon Echo [a voice controlled personal digital assistant] is the first example of this. CNN is unveiling a feature that will provide a real-time personalised news experience, called Ask CNN. Our homegrown bot will enable consumers to turn to our well-known journalists and chat about the latest news.”

The experience should be effortless

“As a provider of augmented reality (AR) technology to the beauty industry, we recently launched a new app that analyses photos to find relevant beauty products. Customers can send any photo – faces, lips, dresses, products, accessories or flowers – and it automatically recognises the most relevant shade, matches it to real beauty products, and shows the results directly to users, so they can buy them. It enables brands to converse with customers via messaging apps.

Read the original article: telegraph.co.uk