NBA’s Messenger Bot – It’s All About Convenience
After Facebook introduced Messenger chatbot platform in April, several companies developed their personalized bots for the social networking purposes. The main goal of automatized communication is to provide convenience for both customers and the company itself.
As convenience is so highly rated nowadays, especially in the United States, there is no doubt that this technological advancement is just one step in the process of improving ease of use and bringing information to the customer.
The graphic below shows how NBA is adapting to the market by creating abundant content that is within reach for their fans through smartphones. Since internet usage on the mobile went from 0.3 to an average of 2.8 hours a day in last 5 years, we can see the league’s intention to capture as much of this newly emerged digital media engagement.
The rise in internet usage overall cannot really be noticed on desktops, laptops and other connected devices. Once again, this shows us how it’s all about the convenience.
“An Internet bot, in its most generic sense, is software that performs an automated task over the Internet. More specifically, a bot is an automated application used to perform simple and repetitive tasks that would be time-consuming, mundane or impossible for a human to perform.” ( Techopedia.com )
Number of likes NBA has on Facebook (in millions)
Number of NBA's YouTube channel subscribers (in millions)
Even though the league’s YouTube account has over 21000 videos uploaded, we have to consider that NBA has had that YouTube channel for almost 11 years now. Technology has changed so much that it would be realistic to assume if the league was to use the bot throughout the season, they could generate as many highlights. As the NBA finals ended, the chat bot remained available and they recently used it for the draft as well.
This highlight bot was preceded by another video project in May which intended to engage fans more actively than just watching highlights. A fan-focused video creation initiative called The NBA Playmakers Network came as a part of promotional playoff campaign Every Second Counts.
Once NBA made sure they created a huge hype about postseason, they decided to capitalize on it by partnering with BroadbandTV. By allowing their fans to use their platform in order to produce their own content they gave fans a great tool to express their passion for the game.
For those fans that are not self-motivated, they offered a variety of incentives in case their video manages to capture larger audience.
This is another example of how proper fan engagement techniques can help an organization generate unique content. In the end, both sides end up benefiting. These win-win situations are one of the greatest perks of successful marketing and PR mix.
The most recent numbers show that an average user (especially the case for younger generations) is shifting away from traditional social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram towards Snapchat.
It will be interesting to see how NBA will continue to adapt to their fans and these social trends. Videos are a great media and source of content for digital marketing, but live video is incomparably a bigger magnet in it’s attractiveness to the customer.
4 out of top 6 apps per monthly usage are messaging apps such as Messenger, WeChat, Whatsapp, and QQ. We can conclude that NBA did a great job by choosing an existent platform to push their product and turn it into their own communication channel. On top of this, they simplified it to the maximum for the fans and continue to add more features as we saw with the 2016 Draft.
Recognizing that allowing fans to view highlights with maximum convenience and minimum effort will benefit NBA with increased number of views worldwide and will generate a larger fan base on a short and long term.
“The NBA recognizes that creating and sharing content is a way for fans to express passion for the game. We’ve long embraced content creators, whether on YouTube or other social media.” – Jeff Marsilio, vice president for global media at the NBA
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