The Future of Chatbots•
November 17, 2021•
In 1991, the first website was released.
With the rise of the internet, marketing agencies took digital services under their wings and became the go-to medium for web development, app development, SEO, and more.
Then a pause.
Due to the lack of new demand for services from clients, it’s been a few years since most marketing agencies adopted another big service.
Think of social media marketing or web design, these have quickly become part of the toolbox of marketing agencies. Since then, we haven’t seen another new service become the core version of a full-fledged agency.
Of course, this is far from pointing the finger at marketing agencies and claiming they are stagnant, that is far from the truth. New skills are acquired, services are expanded and agencies grow every month.
So why hasn’t there been a new great service that looks like the boon of development and social media marketing?
There was simply no demand for it.
The recent pandemic has left businesses wanting to do more with less. Many technologies are being applied to fulfill that desire. Chatbots.
Enterprises are not yet comfortable deploying chatbots alone, they want an expert they can trust and rely on.
With all this in mind, what impact has the rise of chatbots had on marketing agencies? Chatbots as a service are likely to become a new revenue stream for marketing agencies.
Recent research conducted by Ubisend sheds light on these questions.
Data points and quotes in this article are taken from the 2022 Chatbot and Marketing Agency Industry Report, unless otherwise noted. You can totally take your copy here.
Demand that continues to grow
The chat bot market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 24.9% through 2028 (Grand View Research, 2021).
Looking back, between 2020 and 2021, the chatbot market saw an explosion of growth, from $430.9 million to $525.7 million.
This rapid growth has not gone unnoticed, with many agencies already turning their sights to chatbots, excited to take advantage of the booming market.
During the survey, 68.2% of agencies confirmed that their existing clients have shown interest in chatbots.
The marketing agency industry is known for its flexibility and responsiveness. When demand increases, agile agencies are able to meet it quickly.
The more clients ask for chatbots, the more agencies we’ll see offering them as a service.
But demand isn’t just from new customers; 53.4% of agencies encountered new leads by requesting chatbot services.
As chatbots become more and more common, we will likely see this figure increase. That is until the client’s current agencies start offering chatbots.
Right now, we’re seeing businesses have to move away from their trusted agency to find one that offers chatbots.
Chatbots are the next go-to for marketing agencies
The growing demand for chatbots, both in terms of new business inquiries and sales opportunities with existing customers, has already sparked ideas among key marketing agency decision makers.
As more and more customers have already started asking for chatbots, many marketing agency executives are starting to see the potential.
Nate Horgan (digital ad strategist at Mean Joe Advertising) said that “in the next 5-10 years, we may see agencies that specialize only in delivering chatbots.”
When discussing chatbots as a service, Liam Kingswell (founder of Norfolk Agency) says “chatbots are great for agencies, it should be a must”.
ubisend research saw that 91.2% of agencies expect chatbots to become an integral part of business operations.
Besides that, 86.6% of agencies believe that brands expect them to be able to help with chatbots or other AI-related projects..
It’s clear that agencies are capitalizing on the benefits that chatbots can provide them as a business.
Chatbots provide access to a new revenue stream and are a great way to expand retainers.
It will be interesting to see how quickly agencies start offering chatbots as a service now that the technology and the world are ready for them.
A gaping hole in the industry
In addition to the high expectations for chatbots as a service provider, research shows that there is a gaping hole in the industry.
During the survey, Only 40% of agencies have seen their competitors offer chatbot services.
In an interview, Ian Golding (lead experience designer at Cohaesus) said:There is a gap in the market for agencies that have specific chatbot skills. There are still no relevant specialists, such as conversational UI specialists. Even big brands and agencies are not there yet. There is a great opportunity.»
This surprising lack of adoption by marketing agencies may be due to the time-consuming nature of creating proprietary chatbot technology.
Diving into natural language processing to create a custom-built chatbot is out of the question for most agencies. This, combined with the fact that open source projects aren’t always an option for many businesses, can deter marketing agencies from taking advantage of the chatbot opportunity.
With the arrival of partner programs like ubisend’s White Label partner program, it’s easy for agencies to offer premium chatbot services.
Instead of being required to build something from scratch, marketing agencies can take advantage of powerful, pre-existing platforms.