Akshit Pushkarna
Social Media

Why Bobble AI believes brands need to be chatty

Ankit Prasad, founder, Bobble.AI, explains how brands can be present in personal conversations via their keyboard.

Brands and their advertisements are practically on every screen and communication interface. For some consumers this may seem like an intrusion many others suggestive ads and brand integrations could be valuable. The aim for brands is to be present in conversations without being intrusive.

Bobble AI, a conversation media platform, makes it easier for brands to strike this fine balance. For Ankit Prasad, founder, Bobble.AI, this fine balance opened up an opportunity.

The conversation media platform's mission was to enhance and empower conversations for people. "We do it via our flagship smartphone keyboard application. This application goes as a default in the operating systems for phones we have partnered with and gets triggered when the user is inputting anything on their smartphone, like let's say a search keyword, a message, or any other query. So being at a very strategic real state, we have access to understand the user's intent in real-time and we do it through our AI engine," he says. 

Understanding that WhatsApp is India's preferred conversational platform, he looked north towards China and Japan and their favorite messaging apps, like WeChat.

"Unlike other popular conversation apps, WhatsApp has chosen to remain a messaging app only. However, it is observed that people want to access multiple services during these conversations, like suggestions for purchases, advice, etc.  A lot of consumer intent is generated during these conversations itself. WeChat and Line capture those at the source and surface the right service providers at the moment. Because it isn't happening with WhatsApp in India, we believe consumers are lagging in terms of experience," he explains.

For smartphones in which the AI is integrated, Bobble.AI is working with Xiaomi, and Micromax, among a few other companies. Since 2015, the platform has collaborated with brands like Paytm, McDonald's, Cadbury, Rupay, Oakenglow, and Kingfisher, among many others have gotten on board with Bobble as of now. 

The keyboard's AI engine processes the user's inputs within the device infrastructure and comes up with signals that can decipher what's the intent of the user and make suggestions that can add value. Because the keyboard does it within the device's infra, it doesn't take data in Bobble's servers.

The company has partnered with several Indian D2C Brands as well as consumer products, as mentioned above. However, each brand partnership requires a deep API integration in Bobble's AI and hence has a limit on the companies they can partner with. 

While brands can find a positive in this, the users' perspectives might differ. Unethical practices on data sharing often lead to users distrusting social media platforms as it can be seen as an excessive intrusion in their personal space. Prasad acknowledges this and says that the company has placed a provision for the users to turn off the suggestive keyboard.

However, he shares that their numbers find out that less than 1 percent of the users denied access to their data.

Along with the suggestive keyboard, the brand is also venturing into conversation media marketing. During a one-on-one convo, it is almost impossible for brands to have a presence, Prasad acknowledges. However, brands have been there in this conversation but lack control over it, he opines. Based on this, Bobble created the concept of this conversation media marketing, where brands can deliver their story with gifs and stickers that are made available on the keyboard during the chats. 

Why Bobble AI believes brands need to be chatty

These media are recommended by the keyboard when you talk about a brand. "These conversational suggestions are relevant for the users and also offer an authentic, organic source of brand propagation for companies. They are not forcing branding on the consumers but users themselves become brand ambassadors," he said.

Prasad shares that the sharing of content via bobble is their most effective way to promote Bobble. "Content with Bobble branding gets shared on various mediums and this helps us build user awareness. This is the same concept we extended to the brands," he explains.

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