So you're a bot builder platform or you need a bot builder platform to build a bot for your company or project. You might be building a standalone bot - like RedfooBot - or enabling bots to automate routine workflows for sales or customer support - like H&M's bot.
In the early stages of your bot adventure there are a dozen tools to consider, flows to create, scripts to maul over, and distribution to plan.
Distribution... let's talk about that.
The 'bot guides' say, "pick a platform that best fits with your audience". There are a lot of platforms to pick from.
There's Facebook Messenger (hosting 11K bots to date), SMS, Kik, LINE, WeChat, Telegram, Slack and a few other bot friendly platforms. Each with subtle differences and all with the big audiences and business potential.
Herein lies the rub; you need to chose one, yet consumer usage is spread across multiple platforms.
Just look at the MEF 2016 Messaging Report on channel popularity; 56% of people use Facbeook regularly, but 16% use SMS the most. How are you supposed to choose just one on which to build your bot?
Now, those are the messaging apps people use in general. Which apps do people want to use to message businesses? We asked 450 US consumers exactly that and more than half of people said they want to message a business from 2 or more channels, with SMS coming out on top and Facebook second. Again, how are you supposed to chose?
Deploying your bot across multiple channels is the same input for 10X the output.
A final note on the importance of bot multi-channel distribution:
Diversifying distribution has another benefit; mitigating risk. Putting all your bot eggs in one basket is risky in today's volatile and competitive messaging market. Apps can get acquired, make unfavourable decisions, or lose their customer base to new entrants. Conversely, some platforms might crush it with hot new features, while other lag behind.
No matter which way you look at, going multi-channel is a win for your bot.