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A new level of consumer engagement: Conversational ads

Guest Column: Rita Sahajpaul, National Head- Product & Marketing Science, Xaxis India, shares that conversational media offers a personalised experience, deepening customer's relationships with brands

e4m by Rita Sahajpaul
Updated: Apr 27, 2021 9:35 AM
Rita SahajPaul

The pandemic has contributed to consumers watching more digital media and making a larger share of their purchases online, accelerating e-commerce growth across India. These changes in media consumption and purchase behaviour have created immense opportunities for brands to attract new customers. But the competition for the attention of those customers is also immense, so brands are seeking new ways to drive engagement. Dynamic display and video ads are becoming increasingly popular because they offer greater interactivity within ads. Through chatbots and other AI-driven applications, consumers can quickly obtain information about products they are interested in without having to click through to another site. 

It is in this environment that AI-powered conversational media has emerged; combining the best of these technologies to deliver ads that enable a simple, two-way interaction with consumers. This on demand technology allows consumers to converse with brands proactively and organically. Marketers also gain a powerful way to engage with consumers beyond the initial impression, enabling them to gather new data, shorten sales cycles, and drive real, productive outcomes. 

A deeper level of engagement with consumers 

Digital media consumption rose significantly last year as Indians spent more time at home. According to eMarketer, adults in India spent 37.7% of their daily media time on digital platforms in 2020, or 1 hour and 39 minutes per day. That amount is expected to surpass 3 hours by 2022. As mobile internet usage increases, digital media consumption will grow faster than traditional media. 

Previous economic downturns suggest that brands that do not capitalize on this shift in behaviour by maintaining ad spends may miss out on growth. Instead of cutting back on advertising budgets, now is the time for brands to seize this opportunity to develop more meaningful interactions with their target audiences. 

Conversational media has opened the door to a level of engagement with consumers. These new ads enhance traditional display, audio, and video placements by making them interactive, and they use AI  to make them conversational from within their creative elements. Consumers are no longer required to open a chat app, visit another website, or ask a smart speaker some questions.  

These interactions can take multiple forms beyond simple chatbots. New display ads can include pre-defined buttons for consumers to select, allow them to type questions about the product, or directing them to a tailored website where their desired information is immediately available. The ad will provide the answers, using the same types of AI and natural language processing technologies as chatbots. Voice-enabled audio ads can prompt consumers to engage directly with the advertisement using their own voice, while conversational video ads increase sharing on social networks through customizable hashtags and call-to-action buttons.  

This approach deepens customers' relationships with brands because they experience more personalized interactions that they can control to a greater degree than before. From the first touchpoint and throughout the entire purchase journey, and even as a return customer, people have more control to direct their interactions with brands through these advertisements. AI makes this possible by analyzing data such as customer preferences and where the most valuable interactions are taking place, helping marketers understand which ads are performing well. Marketers are then able to build on this knowledge to improve the ads, keep consumers engaged, optimize and tailor future campaigns, and shorten sales cycles.  

Two-way interactions strengthen digital advertising for everyone 

As brands seek ways to form deeper relationships with customers, conversational media allows marketers to personalize ads for the masses with a mix of creatives and data-driven, two-way engagement. These ads also enable flexible billing models based on cost-per-engagement and other metrics including click-outs, PDF downloads, or sales. The technology prequalifies consumers while cutting down waste. 

The amount of internet users in India is projected to grow rapidly over the next decade. To truly understand what those consumers want and effectively convey their message to target audiences,  brands need to maximize their data and leverage the available technologies. Conversational media has the capability to deliver personalized, two-way engagement for consumers, while marketers gain valuable data to optimize ads and impact business outcomes.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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