WA Day Public Holiday Chatbot — an Experiment

Hi, I was contemplating what to blog about, when I realised that I am working on an experiment and so why not blog about it. So here’s what happened.

This time last year, I was preparing a Mobile App for the Android market called, WA Day. You can view the App details in the Play store. Take note though that it is for 2016. It was an experiment to gauge how many organic downloads could be achieved. The theory was that over that weekend users may be searching for information or an App for the WA Day long weekend. I got 6 downloads. I concluded that the general public does NOT search the Play Store for information on a subject that is currently topical. (I did not promote or attempt to get the App to appear in a Google search. Today that is a possibility though.)

12 months have passed since publishing the 2016 App. I was at my local Appreneur Mastermind Meetup when it occurred to me to run an experiment to build a simple yet functional Chatbot for the WA Day long weekend.

Chatbots are so much easier to engage with compared to having to download and install an App. I was interested to see how discoverable a Chatbot is and whether I could get more than Six people to engage with it. (Not counting testers I have encouraged to join in to chat with the Chatbot).

Now to the task of considering which platform to use to build a quick temporary Chatbot. I needed the following feature set:

  • Quick to build and deploy (No Facebook App registration)
  • Tools for growing engagement
  • Easy implementation of “tags” to track users (Reminders need to targeted specific interests)
  • Cost effective or Free platform

I found that ManyChat was the perfect solution for this occasion. I also discovered that ManyChat is a powerhouse when it comes to targeting users. I would call ManyChat the new Email Marketing 2.0. I now use ManyChat as a way to grow user acquisition and implement their growth tools. Feel free to engage with the Appreneur Chatbot!

It was challenging building the Chatbot in a short period of time. I can see there is a need for a mindmap to assist in the flow design.

This time around it was easy to share the link to the Chatbot on my Facebook Page. I tagged all my friends that live in WA. I also posted the link in some groups I am part of as well as a tweet and Instagram post, and a post on Google +.

What started out as an experiment to test user acquisition turned into a business idea. I discovered a use case where a chatbot, built for a specific event, could notify users of activities that interest them during the event. For example, a huge music festival with many stages could notify users interested in a specific performer or band.

With the WA Day Chatbot, I ended up scheduling in each stage act over the weekend. The Chatbot would announce the next act just prior to the start time and the location. There was so much room for providing more information. But as a quick experiment, this is all I allowed for.
WA Day chatbot screenshot

Now bear in mind that this Chatbot was knocked up relatively quickly. I did not want to invest too much time in something so temporary. Its functionality is pretty basic. A custom built Chatbot for an event would have far more features. The feature set should be in line with the chatbots core purpose. I received some valuable feedback. The ability to turn on and off notifications for specific events would be a priority.

So with this use case in mind, imagine that you are at a huge festival with many stages. You would be able to:

  • browse the entertainment programme (fewer paper programs required)
  • select the acts that interest you
  • get notifications for specific acts.

Extra options for event organisers are:

  • provide current information to users. (line up changes or cancellations)
  • broadcast to all subscribers any important or breaking announcements.

Back to the initial experiment. With regard to user acquisition, I more than double my user base on a Chatbot compared to a Mobile App. I got 15 people engaging with the Chatbot.

It is easier to share and encourage users to engage with a Chatbot as opposed to downloading a Mobile App.

If you have a use case you would like to experiment with why not let us know about it.


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