Using Facebook Messenger chatbots for research

June 8, 2018

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Research is a powerful tool. It’s often at the centre of any strategic marketing planning (or it should be!) and forms the backbone of many marketing campaigns.

For example, when designing our hero content for clients, we look at the data. What does the data tell us to do? We have plenty of content marketing tools that we can use to help us. But often, there’s one data set that we are crucially missing – first party.

Research from our client’s audience. What do they like? What do they think? What interests them?

Getting the answers to these questions can often be either quite costly or quite time-consuming (or both!) But luckily, using Facebook Messenger can cut down on both of these costs.

By using a chatbot, you largely automate the process and – depending on how you incentivise participation – it can be mostly cost-free.

Additionally, chatbots allow you to collate data on the fly, and not have to wait months for your research to be analysed and fed back to you.

Facebook Messager, someone is typing

Setting up your Messenger chatbots

Hopefully conducting research isn’t new to you – but if it is, make sure you read up on the basics of how to conduct good, reliable qualitative research first.

Once you’ve done that, you should be ready to start making your chatbot. But there are a couple of things you should keep in mind before you start.

You’ll need to drive participation

Let’s be honest, most people will only engage with your research if you offer them something. You can either go down the free stuff route, or you can give away coupons. Coupons tend to work better, as you are still driving sales and you also only appeal to people who would buy something from your site – i.e. actual customers.

However, the problem with this is that if you give away something too good, everyone will sign up to answer your questions and then your data becomes skewed. It’s a fine line to walk.

The easiest way to drive participation is through Facebook ads – shockingly. But these can really help you reach a lot of people quickly.

Make it chatty

It’s a chatbot, after all, so make your questions seem conversational! Make sure you say hello, and structure all of your questions to be chatty.

There is a danger, however, of overusing emojis and GIFs. These can skew your data, so try and make sure that your questions do not favour one response over the other.

Typical question that can seem conversational

Don’t forget to go granular

Bot analytics platforms like Chatbase and Botanalytics both allow you to go pretty granular with the responses you can get from your bots, and they integrate with Facebook Messenger very easily.

These tools allow you to simply see where people are confused or don’t understand the question, as well as where people are dropping off.

Fight fatigue at every step

If you do find that a lot of people are dropping off, you can easily restructure the question. Don’t forget to remind people how far in they are. Using a conversational tone – something like “You’re halfway now!” – can help combat fatigue in your participants.

Facebook messenger symbol with exlamation mark icon

Get GDPR compliant

GDPR is now upon us, so don’t forget to have people opt-in to having their data used. It is also a wise idea to have your bot present the privacy policy upfront, before the first question. That way, users know exactly what they’re getting into and you won’t get slapped with a huge fine.

Make it mobile friendly!

Most people will be accessing Facebook Messenger on their phones, so make sure your chatbot is mobile friendly. For multiple choice questions, buttons really are your friend and can help stop the fatigue of writing the same thing over and over.

A mobile phone loading the content

Marketers are always going to have to find new ways to grab the attention of their audiences, and I think chatbots are a great way to drive interaction with the brand and conduct market research quickly and for minimal cost.

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