Imperson has announced today its new bot creation and delivery platform, which allows anyone to create a chatbot and launch it on every messaging platform.
Think of it as “WordPress for bots,” if you will.
The company — which is behind popular chatbots such as Judy Hopps (from “Zootopia”), Miss Piggy (from “The Muppets”), and Doc Brown (from “Back to the Future”) — has released its enterprise platform today, allowing brands, publishers, and marketers to create, test, deploy, and analyze chatbots across a wide range of social platforms.
I saw the platform in action during MobileBeat 2016 in San Francisco last week. The authoring tools, distribution mechanism, and analytics are both impressive and relatively simple to use. I say “relatively,” because I don’t want to make it seem as though just anyone can create a bot. Conversational UI, and chatbots, require planning, tone-of-voice development, and writers capable of delivering a great experience. What Imperson allows for is a platform that helps take that content, build out a chatbot using it, and then measure user responses to allow for incremental improvements.
“Good chat bots are not always about being funny,” Erez Baum, cofounder and CEO at Imperson told me. “But these things should not be scripted by developers — they should be scripted by writers.”
Once a chatbot is written and deployed — across Facebook Messenger, Skype, Kik, Slack, Twitter, Amazon Echo, SMS, and more — Imperson continues to monitor every interaction with the bot, feeding data from its analytics to the team.
“A lot of people develop a bot and then forget about it, Baum said. “How do you raise a flag to the writer that is responsible for fixing the issue? In Imperson, that happens within the platform, which helps keep development costs — and complexity — low.”
The analytics platform understands the subtleties of modern language, identifying and reporting on emoticon and emoji responses in addition to text.
“The language we use today is not English,” Baum said. “So far, we have collected over 70 million conversations to better understand what people will say to a bot. And we have persistent memory — we remember what you said, the response you received, and how your next request relates to the previous responses. We also don’t serve the same result twice. It helps provide a more authentic, human-like experience.”
In addition to providing the platform, Imperson also provides assistance in creating the content, if necessary, drawing on its experiences in creating chatbots for Disney and Universal. In the future, however, it is expecting to roll its professional services back, allowing agencies to take on those opportunities.
There may be continued discussion around how effective bots are for marketers, but Imperson has seen some encouraging results so far. Through nonlinear one-on-one conversations, its conversational bots have engaged in promoting, qualifying, and selling to consumer audiences, and it claims that conversations last an average of nine minutes, with 20 percent of people returning to re-engage with a brand or character.
That’s impressive, whichever way you look at it.
Imperson is available for enterprises and agencies from today, with a per-use pricing scheme that costs around 1 cent per message.