5 Chatbot Trends to Look Out for in 2018

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Andy Wilkins
future chatbots

If the next few years are anything like analysts are suggesting, voice and chat bots are set for epic-sized growth.

Research by consultancy firm Tractica predicts there will be 1.8 billion chatbot and virtual assistant users by 2021, and a market worth more than $600 billion in revenue by 2020.

So what's in store for 2018? Here are my five best bets:

1. Bots for B2C communication will explode

The inclusion of channels like Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp and Snapchat (all expected in 2018) will further broaden the reach of business bots and cement their place as an essential tool for B2C communications.

As customer communication technology, 2018 will see bots transition from the early adopter stage into the mainstream.

2. Bot builder capability to step up (massively!)

In the competitive space of self-serve bot builders (full disclosure, Chatamo is one of them) the bar will be raised.

Features such as actionable analytics, live chat human take-over, multiple language auto-detection and multi-channel single deployment will power businesses to move well beyond a bot as a cool talking point, into the territory of preferred customer comms channel. 

3. Chatbots will become an integral part of websites and native apps

2018 will see businesses providing a chatbot experience embedded within their websites and native apps to answer FAQs, generate qualified leads, conduct instant surveys or as an alternative to the eye-wateringly expensive ‘live chat’ solutions.

For many companies their website is their main customer interaction channel into which they have invested good time and money and rightly want to see a return. Building a better experience on that native environment makes sense not only for existing users but as a hub for an integrated marketing strategy for prospects as well. 

4. Voice based browsing on the up

Large retailers are already creating voice bots for making purchases, checking orders, providing product suggestions or extending brand experience with services like style or recipe suggestions. 

In 2018 we'll see more of this from all sized companies. I'm not sure if we'll see 50% of all web browsing sessions to be voice by 2020 (that's Comscore's prediction) but it's definitely set to grow. I tend to agree with Gartner's more measured 30% forecast.

5. Companies will start to think 'messaging-first'

Rather than messaging channels being an after-thought (as they are still for the majority of companies) businesses will adopt a messaging-first mentality.

They will consider all the spaces where messaging occurs, from social, like Facebook and Twitter, to messaging apps, native apps, web and SMS - and create engaging experiences for their customers. 


As we've seen, with the explosive growth of messaging apps, 2018 will see businesses thinking 'messaging first'.

With bot platforms maturing to deliver custom content through messaging, voice, web or app, not to mention adding features like analytics and live chat, they’re set to forever change how businesses think about customer interaction. 

Exciting times!

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Published by Andy Wilkins

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