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7 000 Submissions in 3 Months – The Unity Line Chatbot Contest

7 000 Submissions in 3 Months – The Unity Line Chatbot Contest

Ola Bilińska 07.11.2019
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Unity Line is one of the biggest ferry transport companies on the Baltic sea. Since the beginning of this year, Unity Line has been developing its chatbot that was created with the KODA Bots automated communication system. The tool not only provides travel information but also builds relations with clients. Unity Line attracted the attention of clients by holding a contest inside its chatbot, and it didn’t have to devote a large budget for its promotion.

Contests on Facebook or Messenger? 

There’s a common belief that if a brand wants to show its best side and engage its customers, it has to organize a contest, ideally on Facebook. Although this builds a wider outreach and improves the brand’s image in the eyes of recipients, Facebook contests bring short-term effects. We all know that the basis of any good contest is a creative idea. Current Facebook contests show that it’s difficult to bring new quality to this area and that the platform serves much better as a medium of information rather than any type of game. It’s a better idea to move a contest to a different place – Messenger. Here’s the evidence.

Messenger bot contest

This year, Unity Line’s chatbot became the hero of the brand’s customer engagement activities.

The goal of the game was simple. By holding a chatbot contest, Unity Line wanted to promote the tool, encourage people to use it, and show the benefits of automated communication.

The rules of the Unity Line chatbot contest:

The contest took place between the 17th and 22nd September of this year. Within this time, Unity Line received 7 thousand submissions. Questions were changed every 2 weeks and at each stage of the contest, 30 people received brand gadgets. The main prize for the winner with the largest amount of points was a ferry cruise for two people in Unity Line’s Deluxe cabin.

Each stage of the contest consisted of 5 closed questions and 3 main categories:

  • Sweden (A coffee break in Sweden is called… ☕️, What is the longest bridge in Scandinavia? 🌊)
  • Unity Line (What is the route of the Polonia ferry? 🛳 How many cargo ferries does Unity Line have?) 
  • Tricky 🙂 (Where can you see a moose? 👀)

At the end of each contest stage, we also added two open questions that would test the creativity of participants, for example:

“Who would you take on a ferry cruise with you? 🛳” or “Write a short poem for Olaf 😊”.

In the case of closed questions, we counted points with the help of variables, so that the contestants could immediately see their results. 

The open questions were left for the committee’s evaluation, which also had access to the number of points earned by given contestants.

With the KODA Bots platform panel, the contest committee could:

  • pick the winning contest entries – in every edition, 4 out of 30 participants could win first, second, third, or fourth place.
  • send push notifications to all the users who took part in the contest, to reveal the answers to questions from previous weeks. The contest organizers could also send separate messages to winners as well as those who weren’t lucky enough to win a prize.

Less is more – the promotion of Unity Line’s contest

One might assume that if Unity Line had so many contest submissions, it had to have a generous budget to promote the contest. After all, Facebook contests usually come with paid campaigns. But Messenger offers more possibilities for successful promotion. Unity Line started by sending push notifications to users who participated in previous contest rounds. Every two weeks, they received two messages – the correct answers to the previous questions and new contest questions. The open rate of those messages reached 97-100%. What’s more, during the first contest edition, there was a special click-to-messenger ad that led users straight to the chatbot, and …a banner hung on beach changing rooms in Świnoujście.

Statistical proof

Unity Line’s chatbot played an important part in the engagement of contest participants, as it received thousands of submissions. The entire game complied with GDPR requirements and ensured top data security. At the same time, the chatbot lowered the costs and time spent on organizing the whole contest. Messenger proved to be a great place to build long-term user engagement.

During the contest, the number of chatbot users had a tenfold increase and the number of push notification subscriptions was 16 times higher! The largest number of users who participated in a single contest edition was 2245. Within just three months, Unity Line got 7000 contest submissions. These statistics perfectly illustrate the power of contests held in chatbots. But just like Unity Line, you have to, of course, meet several requirements:

  • appropriate chatbot contest logistics that aim at building relations with clients, 
  • clear contest rules that explain step-by-step how the competition works,
  • a planned promotion of the contest, to expand its outreach with a minimal budget.