Chatbots are the future, according to Andy Mauro, cofounder and chief executive officer of Automat.

Mauro shared a couple of recent successes Automat has had in the beauty space. The company worked with L’Oréal-owned skin-care brand Vichy to create a chatbot, which generated an average conversation time of eight minutes.

“[Vichy was] getting 35 percent higher conversion rates for people who chatted with Vicky, their virtual skin expert,” Mauro said. “These are the Q1 to Q3 numbers; the Q4 numbers were astounding. They got a 90 percent higher conversion rate for people who chatted with their chatbot on their web site. We were also seeing higher average revenue per user. We were recommending regimens, people were buying them.”

Automat also saw success with a holiday quiz and contest it created for Sally Hansen. The initiative won the brand a lot of customers, though Mauro didn’t specify how much.

He added that chatbots and voice recognition technologies are increasingly profitable across industries.

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“Adjacent [industries] like wine and spirits, CPG, but as far field as financial services or automotive have all seen this stuff working,” Mauro said. “Everybody sees the same thing: multiple minutes of engagement. It’s a really great source of first-party declarative consumer insight, and they’re converting, whether it’s sales or booked appointments or test drives.”

Recently, Automat partnered with AdLingo, which allows companies to display chatbots within online advertisements. The partnership, said Mauro, has proven an early success.

“Obviously, new ad units always perform, but we’re getting double the click-through rate — it’s actually a click-into rate,” he said. “We think that will go up as consumers realize they’re not going away from the content they’re on when they click into it. Unbelievably, we’re seeing two minutes on average of engagement with these ads. What is low in the funnel on your brand web site — eight minutes, say — is turning into two minutes earlier on.”

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