- Tommy Hilfiger, the fashion brand with $6.6 billion in sales last year, added a chatbot that operates within autoplay video ads using custom artificial intelligence (AI) developed by adtech company Teads, The Drum reported. The chatbot invites viewers to engage directly by clicking a time-sensitive greeting that's overlaid upon the video.
- Viewers who respond to the offer can browse Tommy Hilfiger's latest products by answering a series of questions about fashion tastes and sizes. Selected products are then automatically transferred to Tommy.com for users to purchase.
- Teads CEO Bertrand Quesada said he expects other brands discover to integrate chatbots with their video ads.
The Tommy Hilfiger chatbot shows how adtech companies are developing the technology to provide better opportunities to engage with consumers who see a video ad. While bots can be clunky and limited in their conversational abilities, they're being rapidly adopted to handle more complex interactions with customers, such as driving clothing sales. In this way, they have the potential to replicate the experience of a knowledgeable in-store associate if well executed.
Chatbots have received mixed reviews on Facebook since the social network introduced a software development kit last year to encourage publishers to develop bots for its platform. Since then, about 100,000 bots have been developed of varying quality and capabilities, according to VentureBeat, and they're being rapidly adopted to handle simple interactions between businesses and their customers, such as handling transactions and sharing personalized content. By making bots more interactive, brands like Tommy Hilfiger will be able to learn more about what consumers want from the technology and better optimize experiences. A number of other marketers are also leveraging chatbots, including BET, Mastercard and L'Oreal.
This year, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have announced new ways to find and use bots on their different chat platforms, VentureBeat reported. Microsoft said last month at its annual developers conference that the 130,000 software programmers using the company's Bot Framework can publish their bots on its Bing search engine. With that kind of progress in support for bots, they'll likely continue to expand in use as more companies and users grow accustomed to the new tech and bots become increasingly human-like. Incorporating the tech into video ads, rather than buried in a downloaded app or messaging platform, will also likely boost the odds that a user will see the bot since a major challenge is letting consumers know when one is available.