What is a bot. Which types are there
In marketing, they have facilitated the automation of processes, making responses to internet users faster, more effective, and more satisfying.
Let’s explore how bots function and how they assist marketers in enhancing their digital marketing strategies.
¿What is a bot?
‘Bots’, short for robots, are computer programs designed to execute pre-set repetitive tasks that can be intuitive and function as if they were human-operated.
Currently, there are thousands of bots specialized for various tasks and designed to achieve specific objectives, making them suitable for inclusion on websites, apps, and platforms in general.
They reduce the hard work of tasks that can be programmed, such as web searches, chatbots, etc.
It’s a common misconception that these types of software are solely hostile or malicious. It’s important to be cautious as Internet users, as they can have a negative impact on leads. However, there are also ‘good’ bots that help optimize functions and speed up response capabilities on a website.
How bots work
Bots typically have a predefined trigger that indicates when to start working, such as a specific keyword or an event like a message sent on social media. Once activated, Internet bots communicate with each other through Internet-based interactions, completing tasks they were programmed for using automation, computer vision, and machine learning.
Automation is the process of performing tasks without human intervention. Computer vision attempts to understand and replicate the human visual system through digital images and videos, while machine learning is the ability to extrapolate trends from data patterns and make adaptations accordingly.
The processes a bot carries out must be rule-based and logical, with well-defined inputs and outputs. Anything overly complicated is beyond the scope of a bot.
There are two main categories of bots: generalists and specialists.
1. Generalist Bot
Virtual assistants are examples of generalist bots, as they are applicable for multiple functions and activities such as setting alarms, reminders, saving appointments in a calendar, making calls, searching for information, and virtual system support.
Some examples include those used in operating systems like Apple’s Siri, Windows’ Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google Assistant for Android devices. These bots also feature advanced Artificial Intelligence technology for voice recognition in multiple languages such as English, Spanish, German, Japanese, etc.
2. Specialized Bot
Among specialized bots, for instance, is the web crawler, an algorithm that reads the code of web pages, commonly used by search engines.
These also include bots accessible for integration into different platforms, focused on adhering to specific rules (self-learning bots) with if-then-else programming.
Examples include entertainment bots, commercial bots, service bots, news bots, etc.
Benign bots in Artificial Intelligence programming are also very common, such as social bots (included on social networks) for liking, sharing content, retweeting (Twitter), and following.
Web crawler bots can collect and evaluate data and information from websites to optimize searches. Other types include chatbots and interactive game bots.
Good Bots types
Here are some examples of popular good bots used in business applications today.
Chatbots simulate human conversation using artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technologies. They can respond to queries on behalf of customer support teams. Highly intelligent chatbots like Amazon Alexa can converse naturally with humans. These chatbots are also known as knowledge chatbots.
2. Web Crawlers
Web crawlers, or spiders, are search engine bots that scan and index web pages on the Internet. They help search engines produce a better search experience by extracting data to understand the structure and relevance of web content.
Scrapers, or web scraping crawlers, scan and download specific content on the Internet. For example, e-commerce companies use scraper bots to monitor live product prices on different retail platforms. Marketers use scrapers with natural language capabilities for sentiment analysis on social media feeds.
4. Shopping Bots
Shopping bots scan product prices across multiple websites to help customers find the best deals. A shopping bot can also send personalized recommendations in instant messaging applications.
5. Monitoring Bots
Monitoring bots limit exposure to security incidents by constantly scanning systems for errors and malware. They alert you to unusual web activity by collecting and analyzing user interaction and web traffic data. Some monitoring bots can also work alongside other bots, like chatbots, to ensure they function as expected.
6. Transaction Bots
Transaction bots ensure payment details are in order before completing transactions on e-commerce sites. They verify credit card details and the accuracy of personal data during payment. These bots are built with highly secure features to protect sensitive financial data.
Here’s the enhanced translation for English-speaking audiences:
Types of Malicious Bots
Also known as malware bots, malicious bots perform activities that create security risks for organizations. For example, they can disrupt operations, create unfair disadvantages, send unwanted emails, or attempt unauthorized access to sensitive data. Here are some common types of malicious bots.
1. Download Bots
Download bots are programmed to automatically download software or applications. This creates a false impression of popularity, helping the application rise in rankings. By using download bots, an app publisher hopes to gain more visibility and attract real human subscribers.
Spambots scrape the Internet for email addresses, turn the collected data into email lists, and send spam messages in large quantities. Alternatively, a spambot may create fake accounts and post messages on forums and social networks. These bots can entice a human user to click on a compromised website or download unwanted files.
3. Ticket Scalping Bots
Ticket scalping bots scan websites to purchase tickets at the lowest price only to resell them at a higher value for profit. The process is naturally automated, leaving the impression that a human is buying the ticket. While ticket scalping bots are regulated in some countries, it’s considered an unethical practice.
4. DDoS Bots
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) bots are malicious programs used to conduct a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS attack is a malicious attempt to affect the availability of a target system, such as a website or application, to legitimate human users. DDoS bots typically generate large volumes of packets or requests that can overwhelm the target system.
5. Fraud Bots
Fraud bots, or click fraud bots, use artificial intelligence to mimic human behavior and commit advertising fraud. For example, a fraud bot automatically clicks on paid ads with plans to increase the ad revenue for the publisher. These false clicks increase marketing expenses without leading to real customers.
6. File Sharing Bots
A file-sharing bot logs frequent search terms in applications, messengers, or search engines. It then provides recommendations with unwanted links to malicious files or websites.
7. Social Media Bots
Social media bots, or social bots, generate false activity on social networks, such as fake accounts, followers, likes, or comments. Mimicking human activity on social media platforms, they spread content spam, increase popularity, or disseminate misinformation.
Benefits of Bots in Marketing
The programming of bots can impact the SEO growth of a webpage, but that’s not all.
They are also useful for email marketing campaigns, with the advent of mailing bots to personalize automatic responses, thereby increasing the engagement of prospects or leads.
Let’s explore some of the applications of bots in marketing.
Ways to Integrate Bots into Digital Marketing Strategies
As we’ve mentioned, there are hundreds of bots you can access for free or integrate into your website. If you have the resources, you can also create your own bots based on the specific needs of your website or e-commerce platform.
1. Bots for Leads and Customers
When people visit your website, you can use bots to make their user experience much more satisfactory.
They can facilitate searches within the site, provide more information about products, or even initiate communication with chatbots, which work very well for e-commerce or online stores.
Some software you can apply to your website includes:
- DriftBot: Offers customizable, conversational bots adaptable to each type of customer, qualifying their interest level to generate engagement and understand at what stage they are in the conversion funnel.
- LiveChat: In addition to chatbot services, it also offers the ability to customize live chats to share announcements, new products, or updates.
2. Bots for Organizing Your Work Team
Sometimes we forget that we can also make our company or business a better place to work.
Here we find bots that help optimize daily tasks, schedule shared activities, track what each team member is doing, and keep everyone updated.
Among these bots, you’ll find software like Nikabot and Standup Bot.
3. Bots for PPC Ads
Every digital marketing strategy should include advertising campaigns, and currently, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns on Google’s associated sites are leading the way.
One way to optimize and evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign is through bots that perform the task from start to finish.
This way, you can understand how your campaign is performing, whether it has proper target segmentation, and if it meets the set goals.
An example of this type of bot is Albert, an Artificial Intelligence platform designed to analyze, manage, and optimize PPC campaigns.”
This translation provides a comprehensive overview of the benefits and applications of bots in marketing, tailored for English-speaking audiences interested in digital marketing and technological innovations in this field.
Juan Esteban Yepes