CNN is one of the first major publishers to push a news bot to Facebook Messenger. The news network, which has a Facebook audience of over 30 million, launched their CNN Facebook bot at the social network’s F8 conference this past April. Since launch, the bot has since seen widespread adoption and engagement.
One of the biggest challenges for any news reader is the flood of irrelevant information, ads, and various cognitive clutter that buries relevant news. Trying to hone in on exactly the content you want usually entails tons of Google searches, lots of clicking around, and a superhuman ability to mentally dodge pervasive ads.
Not any more! The CNN Facebook bot allows users to get exactly the personalized news they want without ever leaving their chat environment. If you’re worried about Donald Trump or the Zika virus, simply type “Trump” or “Zika” and CNN’s bot will pull the most recent and relevant story about the topic.
People spend on average 2 minutes with the bot, scanning headlines and reading stories. Articles about politics, social issues, and conflict get the most engagement. The most popular stories since the bot’s launch have involved Trump and Clinton — no surprise given the angst that pervades this election cycle.
The CNN bot represents the beginning of true content personalization. The company hopes to expand their audience to reach more international readers with their conversational approach. Soon the bot will be segmented region-by-region to offer geo-targeted news on top of the existing personalization. CNN also plans to expand to more internationally-focused messaging platforms like Line, which is popular in Japan.
“Our vision is to be the worldwide leader in mobile and video news storytelling. Messaging apps are in many ways as important a growth platform as mobile has been,” said CNN SVP and Chief Product Officer Alex Wellen. CNN’s head of social, Samantha Barry, sees their Messenger bot as a strategy for reaching an audience far beyond the Facebook social network. The bot offers key learnings from their international reach that help CNN continuously improve the experience.
Have you tried the CNN bot? We’d love to hear your feedback and experiences in the comments below.