Apps such as Facebook Messenger could soon replace emails as businesses' main marketing tool, according to the CEO of Digitonic.

Grant Fraser says marketing through social messaging apps including WhatsApp is still regarded by many businesses as similar in nature to email marketing, in that both platforms send messages to large groups of people.

However he says chatbot click-through rates are far higher - 15-60 per cent, compared with the four per cent average of emails - due to the delivery of a more personalised experience that audiences are more likely to engage with.

Facebook Messenger alone currently hosts more than 300,000 active chatbots, and it is believed by 2020 eight in 10 companies intend to talk to their customers via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or another form of social messaging.

Grant Fraser

“A ‘one size fits all’ approach will no longer suffice, and the best way to stay ahead of the fast-evolving curve with chatbots is to get involved as soon as possible,” Fraser told BusinessCloud.

“One of the biggest challenges businesses face is providing customers with a deeper and more personal connection to brands.

“At the heart of this challenge lies conversation to ensure they feel both heard and valued.

“Through equipping chatbots with interactive, rich media content such as quizzes, surveys and games, making conversation more fun and interesting to the user, businesses can use them to cut through crowded markets and get to the heart of consumer demands.”

Chatbots conduct conversations with customers via artifical intelligence or computer software and can be installed into Messenger to ask specific or open-ended questions and adopt paraphrasing to show genuine interest in customer needs.

They allow businesses to respond appropriately within each individual interaction, which ‘increases the quality of data and insight that businesses can gather’.

Businesses should be aware that users must opt-in to chatbot communications and can unsubscribe at any time, meaning they are likely to show interest in the content they will receive.

Founded in 2011, Digitonic is a smart mobile marketing and technology company currently employing 20 people at its headquarters in central Glasgow.