The Lost Bot
Microsoft were looking for ways to connect with a younger demographic and showcase new Skype features made popular on platforms like Snapchat and Messenger. Among these were chat bots; a platform for developers to build messenger-bot experiences for Skype desktop, mobile and web.
Skype had identified key passion-points important to their younger target users and love of travel was top of this list. This audience’s wanderlust was increasingly being fueled, not by TV travel shows, but by a new generation of travel vloggers on YouTube. Among them was Christian LeBlanc – who’d given up his day job to start his own travel show on YouTube, amassing over 950,000 subscribers.
But with over half of millennials saying they trust influencer brand endorsements less than they used to, our challenge was to think beyond the typical YouTube brand promo – all while staying true to Skype’s brand mission to help people Talk, Chat, and Collaborate.
We partnered with YouTube star and travel vlogger LostLeBlanc to have Microsoft’s new bot platform power his first-ever fan-sourced adventure.
On a mission to bring LostLeBlanc fans closer than ever before, we built a custom Skype chat bot and, two weeks prior to his trip, launched it on Skype’s desktop and mobile apps as well as on the digital campaign hub as an embedded app.
In the pre-trip phase, the bot was used to crowdsource ideas for LostLeBlanc’s trip, allowing fans to add the bot to their chat contacts and vote through video messages and polls. Users got involved in their thousands sending over 20,000 in-bot suggestions in a little over week following launch, the most popular ideas making it into the final itinerary.
During the resultant fan-generated adventure, the bot was turned into a live travel diary serving exclusive content up to fans each day, giving unprecedented behind-the-scenes access and encouraging repeat visits. Fans sent more than 62,000 messages, interacted with the bot an average of 28 times, and consumed nearly 40 hours of exclusive content.
Post-trip, LostLeBlanc then used the bot to allow fans to contribute ideas and help guide the edit-down process of his trip vlog. The final cut then launched on his YouTube channel and promoted via the bot and across Microsoft’s social channels.
This was the first time Microsoft had used messenger bot technology as part of its integrated influencer marketing efforts and successfully engaged with a new user base with 51% of interactions coming from new Skype users.
Using LostLeBlanc’s campaign as the prototype, 1000heads has gone on to successfully integrate Skype Messenger bots into a number of other influencer-led campaigns, driving the right audience into Microsoft’s new ecosystem and amassing more than 840,000 bot interactions to date – unprecedented bottom-of-the-funnel numbers for the brand’s influencer marketing efforts.