Automat and Google’s AdLingo Team Up on Conversational Display Ads

The deal will bring chatbots from brands like L'Oreal to millions of spots

AdLingo's platform brings conversational display ads to Google's network.
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Google’s conversational display ad platform, AdLingo, is partnering with chatbot maker Automat to expand its interactive display ad business.

Automat, a company based in Montreal that designs bots for beauty brands like L’Oreal, Vichy and CoverGirl, will integrate its artificial intelligence frameworks with AdLingo’s message-prompt ads that appear across hundreds of millions of websites, thanks to Google’s network. AdLingo, an outgrowth of Google’s experimental Area 120 incubator, first introduced its conversational inventory last October.

“We’re looking to have more conversations with more consumers in more places, and obviously, the surface area of Google’s network is massive,” said Automat co-founder and CEO Andy Mauro. “This is probably the biggest surface area for conversational AI, maybe ever.”

Vic Fatnani, co-founder and GM of AdLingo, said that in addition to its AI, Automat will bring to the table a wealth of experience in best practices for chatbots in the beauty space. AdLingo is currently focused on pulling together a group of partners with category-specific knowledge on what types of chat experiences draw in consumers and keep their attention.

“Since [we debuted], we’ve been looking for the right partners and technology providers that can bring the power of conversational AI from an experience perspective and a technology perspective to light,” Fatnani said. “In the future I see all companies large and small .… able to actually have an AI component to their product as a marketing tool.”

Fatnani added that the technology “will be so plug-and-play that even someone with a small business can use it.”

Founded in 2016, Automat has raised $10.9 million over the course of three funding rounds from investors including Comcast Ventures, USAA and You & Mr. Jones Brandtech Ventures.

The company has explained its mission with commissioned consumer research, which found that 70 percent of beauty shoppers are overwhelmed by the number of products on the market, but 66 percent would rather not talk to a human for guidance. Nearly half said they’d be likely or certain to use a virtual advisor if available.

L’Oreal Canada, one of Automat’s biggest clients, was encouraged to sign onto the new partnership by the success it had with Automat-led chatbots like “Beauty Bot,” a program that learns a person’s fashion style to make gift-giving easier. The company found that the Beauty Bot notifications produced more than three times the read rate of email marketing—and the average number of steps a consumer took within the bot exceeded that of normal webpages by a factor of nearly three.

Automat will now package experiences like Beauty Bot into display ads to be disseminated across the open internet.

“We’re trying to reach and connect with consumers where they already are. We think this is a good entry point into the consumer journey,” said Robert Beredo, chief digital officer at L’Oreal Canada. “Consumer behavior and consumer interests are definitely changing. They are more empowered now than ever before and they want to interact with brands on their own terms, so I think this will help elevate the practice of display advertising.”

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