Some experts are calling the app store a graveyard, as companies like Yahoo and Facebook get into the bot game. Is it time for your company to jump on board? Join our panel of experts as they discuss how to stay competitive in an increasingly bot-driven marketing landscape.

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A comScore study shows that two-thirds of U.S. adults download a whopping zero new apps per month, which has some analysts declaring that the app is dead and the Apple Store just a graveyard.

Paul Gray, director of platform services at Kik, thinks it’s a little too early to sound “Taps” — but he also has an inkling of what the future really looks like for marketing engagement.

“Kik is an app, and we play in that space, and apps are obviously still a big platform,” Gray says. “But when you look at key stats, the challenge is really apparent. The top 200 apps account for something like 70 percent of usage, and when you consider that there’s over 2 million apps out there, that’s a pretty bad ratio for almost everyone.” He points out, too, that the top three or four apps on all platforms are actually controlled by one company.

“So it’s a very, very skewed environment,” he adds. “I think consumers just have app fatigue, or app overload.”

Apps live on a consumer’s phone, and people open them when they need to perform a task, but, Gray says, messaging is far different, more immediate and connected. Why do you need a weather app, for instance, when you can just ask a bot if it’s going to rain today?

“One of the best things about messaging is that the single biggest thing that everyone does on their device is messaging,” he says. “If you look at time spent during the day, messaging again is by far and away the biggest share of time on the device.”

Gray also points out that while there’s a tremendous amount of friction with an app when it comes to getting a consumer all the way through the purchasing funnel, from discovery to install to use, chatbots offer almost immediate gratification and a nearly complete lack of learning curve.

“That drives a lot more discovery and [leads to more] people engaging,” Gray says, which is music for a marketer’s ears.

So that settles it — bots are happening, everyone says we should have a bot — and what should our bot do? Not so fast.

“That’s never a great approach to any sort of development,” Gray cautions. Marketers need to take a step back and view their options strategically to ensure that what they create is really serving a need well. “It’s more an ‘Okay, what is our product or service, and how are users interacting with that, and how can we better serve them?’”

Marketers need to determine what the need or the want is and then backfill from there to determine how to build a great experience with your product or service. Then you can see if a chatbot fits into that vision.

“The opportunity is coming out for really rich one-to-one experiences at scale,” Gray says. “We’ll start to see people testing out, refining, and improving their bots. I think we’ll start to see some really compelling examples.”

Should yours be one of them? Join our free VB Live event to learn more about how users are engaging bots and how businesses are using bots to build their brands.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this VB Live event, you’ll learn to:

  • Understand the importance of bots to brands
  • Know bot landscape and what it means for your business
  • Recognize the potential synergies and pitfalls between bots and brands


  • Paul Gray, Director of Platform Services, Kik
  • Jon Cifuentes, Analyst, VentureBeat


  • Rachael Brownell, VentureBeat

This VB Live event is sponsored by ArcTouch Mobile & Connected Experiences.