Chatbots. Like them or loathe them, developers aren’t giving up on them.
crystal claims to be the “first AI-powered advisor answering users’ digital marketing related questions in real-time with smart and actionable insights.”
So far, so jargon heavy. But could this be a tool digital marketers actually want to use?
This tool claims to offer “web, social and campaign analytics, management and teamwork”.
The added value is delivered via an integration of “privacy-first LinkedIn Engagement Insights”. This results in a “Listening feature, providing more than 1,000 actionable KPIs covering all industry verticals and countries.”
The service will be available for all Premium and Enterprise LinkedIn users, starting this June.
Put simply, marketers will be able to ask the “virtual advisor” for insights to help them optimize their digital LinkedIn strategies. It will leverage data from a pool of half a billion professional LinkedIn users – the world’s largest online professional network.
“This is a huge milestone, enabling crystal users to access external professional data in a way that is designed to respect LinkedIn member privacy”, says Uljan Sharka, crystal’s CEO.
“Brands and businesses will be finally able to get more value for their professional marketing operations”.
The Engagement Insights are provided through a partnership with DataSift. “We’re delighted that crystal is partnering with us to provide its clients with the actionable insights needed to inform their activities on the platform”, says DataSift CEO Tim Barker.
DataSift’s privacy-first platform is known as PYLON, and it has found a way to extract LinkedIn users’ data without compromising their personal information – presumably by keeping all insights anonymous.
Can LinkedIn be as good for startup marketers as Facebook?
The product would come in especially handy, we feel, for time-poor, cash-poor startups looking for quick, actionable insights without having to hire and engage an expensive marketing consultancy.
Crystal say that they are “born to simplify the relationship between people and data”. By letting the data do the talking, via a chatbot, and removing the people from the equation?
Facebook has developed a now-legendary set of data and marketing insight tools, which are hugely popular with startup marketers, who feel they are able to use them to extract the maximum bang for their buck.
LinkedIn, now in the hands of Microsoft, who acquired the platform earlier this year for around $26.2 billion, will no doubt be keen to rival Facebook ,Snapchat et al for advertising dollars, and free “actionable data insights” is certainly one way to encourage marketers to look beyond the usual social media channels and start to treat LinkedIn with similar reverence.
In that respect, partnering with companies like crystal, and DataSift, which is headquartered in Silicon Valley but has offices in New York, Reading and London, creates something of a virtuous circle.
Anonymising the data makes the service legitimate, but there will doubtless be those who want to opt out of such an arrangement, given they were probably unaware it was happening in the first place.
The automation of advertising continues apace, however infuriating some may find it. Crystal and DataSift at the very least, appear to be striking the right balance.
But can they succeed where so many other have failed, and build a genuinely useful chatbot..sorry, Virtual Advisor?