Brands know that to advertise effectively on mobile, they need to gain access to consumers through the few apps that dominate daily smartphone use. This is one reason why brands have embraced Facebook's recent announcement that it plans to support chatbots on Messenger.
WeChat, a messenger app in China, already has more than 10 million official accounts, including banks, hotels and even celebrities that are registered to interact with users through chatbots. While Chinese consumers are currently a more enthusiastic audience for messenger apps and bots, it's likely that U.S. consumers will warm up to them as the technology and the accessibility improves. Brands certainly hope so. They want to be able to reach a wider audience more directly through chatbots than currently possible with Facebook's newsfeed, where recent tweaks to the algorithm could limit their access to consumers even further.
If business bots on Facebook end up looking anything like the applications on WeChat, we can expect to see mostly service and subscription bots. Service bots allow consumers to transact with businesses, book a flight, order a meal or review a movie. Subscription bots are focused on delivering pre-selected categories of content to users.