You’d never expect Mark Zuckerberg, king of social networks, to publicly admit that “messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking,” but the evidence is now indisputable. In 2015, Business Insider reported that messaging apps overtook social networks in popularity.
Since then, every major messaging product – from Messenger to iMessage, Slack to Skype, Echo to Allo – opened up their platforms for “bots” and “micro-apps” which enable users to interact with brands and business without leaving the app. Leading companies from every sector jumped at the opportunity to use conversation and voice to engage customers in a scalable, personalized way.
As a nascent and experimental interface, bots present many challenges to developers. Nevertheless, launching early and iterating quickly enables brand executives to gain critical knowledge of real consumer behavior and stay ahead of their competition.
Below are the 100 best bots from brands and businesses leading their industries in messaging innovation. Click here to download a full-size PDF of the infographic. You’re welcome to share and use the infographic in any media as long as the image remains unmodified and in full.
Not only can you browse beauty products via chatbots on Kik and Facebook Messenger, but the best bots in beauty can recommend tutorial videos (via Sephora and BeautyTube on Kik) and let you book an in-person appointment with a professional makeup artist (via Sephora on Facebook Messenger). Estee Lauder’s holiday bot No. 6 Mortimer makes it easy to browse gift boxes available in stores. Covergirl’s bot even lets you chat with celebrity dancer Kalani Hilliker and get real coupons for product discounts.
CPG companies have used chatbots and Alexa Skills to engage fans who are already consumers of their products. Campbell’s, Hellman’s, and Johnnie Walker can personalize product recommendations and suggest related recipes. Unilever’s Signal Pepsodent chatbot helps parents teach their children healthy brushing habits, while Miller’s Alexa Skill lets you order beer without leaving your couch.
The best bots can be an incredible way to get engagement beyond clicks. Activision, Blizzard, Disney, Marvel, and Universal all built companion bots to promote the launch of new games and movies. Fandango and Stubhub allow consumers to easily search for tickets to nearby movies and shows. Mattel’s Hello Barbie doll brings the childhood fantasy of talking toys to life.
9. Activision (Facebook Messenger)
10. Barbie (Hello Barbie doll)
11. Blizzard (Facebook Messenger)
12. Disney (Facebook Messenger)
13. Fandango (Facebook Messenger)
14. Marvel (Facebook Messenger)
15. Stubhub (Skype, Facebook Messenger)
16. Universal (Skype)
Fashionistas can get customized recommendations from one of these helpful fashion brand bots. Whether you want to see the latest runway shows (Burberry, Vogue, Tommy Hilfiger) or get personalized shopping recommendations (Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Aerie), the best bots in fashion make styling simple.
“I love paying my bills,” says no one ever. Whether you owe money to the tax man or just your buddies, you can easily pay your friends (Paypal, Transferwise), check your account balances (Capital One, Bank of America), find a financial advisor (Xero, Nerdwallet), or get stock updates (Fidelity). You might even notice better customer support because some banks (like RBS) use internal chatbots to help their customer support associates be even more productive.
23. Xero (Facebook Messenger)
24. TransferWise (Facebook Messenger)
25. RBS (Internal)
26. PayPal (Slack)
27. Nerdwallet (Mobile App)
28. Fidelity (Amazon Echo)
29. Capital One (Alexa Skill, SMS)
30. Bank of America (Mobile App)
Food & Beverage
You have to feed yourself three times a day, so why not get help from the best bots in food? Food can arrive with the ease of a chat (Wingstop, TacoBell, Starbucks, PizzaHut, Jack In The Box, Domino’s, Burger King) or you can search healthy recipes (Whole Foods) to cook. If you’re feeling like going out for dinner, OpenTable is your go-to bot for reservations.
31. Wingstop (Facebook Messenger)
32. Whole Foods (Facebook Messenger)
33. Taco Bell (Slack)
34. Starbucks (Mobile App)
35. Pizza Hut (Facebook Messenger)
36. OpenTable (iMessage)
37. Jack In The Box (Facebook Messenger)
38. Domino’s Pizza (Amazon Echo, Google Home, Facebook Messenger, SMS, Twitter)
39. Burger King (Facebook Messenger)
Staying healthy can be a challenge, but these bots can help. HealthTap, BabyCenter, and KidsMD from Boston Children’s Hospital can help you answer health questions, while Fitbit can help you stay in shape. If you do need to go to the doctor, Baidu Doctor’s chatbot Melody can help you find the right provider.
Insurance can be a confusing subject. Liberty Mutual can give you quotes as well as advice about choosing the right insurance, while Allstate can remind you when your bills are due and who your friendly local agent is.
Media & Publishers
Media and publishers are leading the way with the best bots for content consumption. Washington Post and NYTimes built special bots to gauge the pulse of the country during Election 2016. Many other publishers allow you to access content via voice on Amazon Echo or chat on Facebook Messenger or Slack. Quartz even made reading news a conversational experience in their mobile app.
47. Wall Street Journal (Facebook Messenger)
48. Washington Post (Facebook Messenger)
49. Today Show (Facebook Messenger)
50. TechCrunch (Facebook Messenger)
51. New York Times (Slack)
52. NPR (Amazon Echo)
53. NBC (Slack)
54. Harvard Business Review (Slack)
55. Fox News (Facebook Messenger)
56. Forbes (Telegram)
57. The Economist (Amazon Echo)
58. CNN (Facebook Messenger)
59. BBC (Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Twitter)
60. Quartz (Mobile App)
61. The History Channel (Amazon Echo)
Searching for a new home can be a daunting and complicated task and you might wonder if your real estate agent really has your best interests at heart. Enter Trulia, a trusty, neutral bot that can understand your needs and show you summaries of qualifying properties nearby.
62. Trulia (Facebook Messenger)
Retail & E-Commerce
Why go to the store when you can shop via chat? UNIQLO, Nordstrom, eBay, and 1-800-Flowers all help you hone in on the perfect purchase, while Macy’s OnCall connect you with a shopping assistant in stores. Even if you don’t have a Casper mattress, their Insomnobot will accompany you in the wee hours of the night if you’re suffering from insomnia.
The best bots are not only good for business, but also good for humanity. The World Wildlife Fund bot on Kik will educate you about the planet and environment. HelloVote makes voter registration as easy as sending texts. Unicef’s U-Report helps citizen journalists around the world report on social and environmental injustice.
Die hard sports fanatics will be pleased to know that they no longer need to neurotically check scores. Bots will do that for you. All of the sports bots we feature let you subscribe to your favorite teams, get live game updates, and never miss any important news.
Travel & Hospitality
Flight and hotel search can be a nightmare with all possible parameters and choices to consider. Instead, just tell one of the handy bots below your preferences and be shown a short list of the best options. If your Airbnb isn’t quite as nice as you’d hope, you can start by reporting your issues to their customer support chatbot built right into their websites and mobile apps. If you need more of a concierge feel, Rose, the sassy chatbot of The Cosmopolitan in Vegas will give you local suggestion based on your preferences.
77. Skyscanner (Facebook Messenger)
78. Hotels.com (Facebook Messenger)
79. Marriott (Facebook Messenger)
80. Kayak (Slack, Messenger, Echo)
81. KLM (Facebook Messenger)
82. Expedia (Facebook Messenger)
83. Hipmunk (Email, Slack, Skype, Facebook Messenger)
84. Lufthansa (Facebook Messenger)
85. Great Western Railway (Facebook Messenger)
86. The Cosmopolitan (SMS)
87. British Airways (Facebook Messenger)
88. Airbnb (Website, Mobile App)
Remember how hard it was to get a ride before Lyft and Uber? Now when you tell a friend on Messenger that you’re “on your way,” they can pop up automatically and make ride hailing even simpler. If you’re in the market for a car, Kia’s chatbot will tell you all about the tech specs of their new Niro line. For Hyundai and Ford car owners, you can even control your vehicle with your Amazon Echo.
Everyday errands are simplified with bots who can help you find the best shipping prices (UPS), order prints (HP) or office supplies (Staples), and make sure you dress appropriately for the weather ahead (The Weather Channel).
Some of our best bots are multi-talented and can’t fit into a single category. Yahoo’s bots help you with weather forecasts, personal finances, and even fantasy football. Microsofts’ chatbot personalities like XiaoIce and Zo entertain consumers in China and the US. ADP’s innovation labs are working on chatbots to make HR processes simpler, such as sending jobs to prospectives or reminding employees of their vacation times.