(spoiler - yes, certainly from Natives)

Waaaaay back in 2017 when we conducted 2017 National Clearing Survey, a third of the thousands of respondents said that they would like to use a chatbot to confirm their clearing place (and about 10% said they actually had used a chatbot to do so).

But along came the Cambridge Analytica news and a sudden awareness about the amount of data Facebook holds on us and an evangelical "concern" by Facebook for privacy which is manifesting itself in Facebook turning off API access to apps.

As a group, we are no longer recommending using Facebook Messenger to power chatbots for Clearing campaigns (or in any other situation).


Two reasons?

One is audience appetite. Already we can sense a burgeoning sense of distrust from the savvy youth audience about Facebook's use of data and their willingness to give their data to Facebook tools, something our friends at Student Hut explored in their recent YMS panel.

Two is practical. Facebook and Instagram API access and stability can no longer be taken for granted now Facebook is frantically working to fix its privacy issues. If Tinder users can suddenly find themselves locked out then there is a distinct risk that any 3rd party app could find itself not working at the most inopportune moment (Clearing day!?!?).

That doesn't mean that chatbots themselves are no longer relevant. As Luke, our Director of Technology, explains, "Chatbots can still have an incredibly effective usage for out of office hours conversations and simple Q&A processes, but chatbots built on top of the Facebook messenger platforms are not going to be in our roadmap for the foreseeable future."

And the story continues to build momentum even as we write? Facebook has just recently confirmed it scans users' Messenger conversations in an effort to ensure people play by the Facebook rules.

If you want to learn more about what the future holds for digital marketers in a post-Cambridge Analytica world, then please do contact us.

Article by

Steve Evans