Think conversations, not (just) conversions: Engaging consumers with AI-powered advertising

December 2019

Most consumers interested in antivirus software initially seek a free solution. As a provider of a paid alternative, Slovak-founded ESET faced the challenge of convincing users why they should choose a paid service over a free one.

To further complicate matters, when it comes to antivirus software, potential customers are often lost in the complexity of technical features. To combat this, ESET sought an innovative way to communicate the arguments for paid solutions to consumers while also making it easier for them to choose the right product for their needs.

To measure success they set several goals, including a higher engagement for the same media budget, and a lower CPA (purchase of the licence) in Canada — their first major market. ESET knew that to achieve these objectives, they would need to establish a clear point of differentiation in the highly competitive cyber security industry. And share this message through automated yet personalised user engagement experience.

Bring in the bots

After investigating several options, ESET selected Nettle, a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) provider that creates “banner bots” on Google’s Marketing Platform. Traditional chatbots lead potential customers to find the right solution no matter where they are or what device they use — turning transactions into helpful conversations and eliminating needless noise. Nettle’s banner bot takes this technology further and fuses it with the familiarity of a display ad, delivering all the personalised interactivity of an AI driven chatbot without disrupting the browsing experience.

The interaction begins when ESET’s banner-bot “starts” the conversation, acting as a personalised product ambassador while driving awareness and lead generation. And the best part? This interaction occurs directly in the banner, so before someone even visits the ESET website.

Think conversations, not (just) conversions: Engaging consumers with AI-powered advertising

It's always challenging for brands to produce a reasonably lightweight conversational model that meets the needs of users without the conversations feeling overly restricted or clunky. But by applying the power of AI-driven neural networks, Nettle’s banner bots expand the range of situations and phrases the bot can understand and handle successfully, delivering a more natural interaction for the user.

Preparing for the Future with AI

After a couple months of A/B testing, the results were in: the chatbot banner has a 57% lower CPA (purchase of the licence) than its static counterpart, and had achieved a 1.5X higher engagement (measured by CTR). The straightforward integration with Google Marketing Platforms and Google Compute Engine has made scaling easy. Whenever bots require additional computing resources, Google Compute Engine can automatically grow the number of instances to meet demand. If demand drops, the instances will automatically shrink to reduce costs.

Beyond measurable metrics and scalability, banner bots delivered on ESET’s goal of providing an interactive, customised brand experience for potential clients – and paved the way for AI to be applied to future growth strategies. From readily providing answers to common customer inquiries to launching new product features, AI can automate many of the manual interactions that previously fell to customer representatives, marketers and salespeople. This in turn frees up time for each of these departments to focus on more complex problem-solving or revamping strategy.

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