Why Kik’s Young Users Have Swapped 350 Million Texts – With Bots
When you’re one of the most popular messaging apps among teens in the United States, you can’t resort to traditional banner ads. You probably can’t use cutting-edge, programmatic advertising techniques that track, divvy up and target your users with just the right personalised ad, either.
You need the next big thing in mobile advertising, and right now that just might be brand bots.
Brand bots are automated accounts that run on messaging services like Kik that “chat” one-on-one with thousands of human users. The bot marketing phenomenon has been gaining strength on messaging apps that skew towards younger users, like Kik and Tinder, which has an estimated 50 million monthly active users.
Kik has 200 million registered users, more than a third of whom are aged between 16 and 24, and it’s taking on 250,000 new users each day. More than 10 million of them have already chatted with brand bots since Kik introduced Promoted Chats in November 2014. (Unsanctioned bots, typically porn bots run by spammers, had been running rampant on the mobile chatting platform for years.)
In the seven months since Kik launched Promoted Chats, more than 350 million messages have been sent and received between human users and promoted chat accounts. That’s a lot of chatting with completely artificial entities. Many of the brands behind these bots are media companies like Funny or Die, Moviefone, or content platform Massively.
One example of the brand bots at play: Massively recently launched a campaign to promote horror flick Insidious 3. Instead of the usual static or video ads, it created a bot that represented the movie’s heroine Quinn Brenner. The Brenner bot can hold a stilted conversation with a Kik user, telling them things like, “Some weird stuff has been going on.”