Google’s AdLingo: Turning ads into AI-powered, personalised conversations.

Yet another corporate startup from Google: AdLingo. Take a closer look at how they used existing corporate assets to make digital advertising conversational, and accessible to all businesses.

Chatbots have been growing in popularity for years now, appealing to both businesses and customers alike. Companies love them because they reduce operating costs, and customers love them because opening hours are 24/7.

According to Business Insider, consumer retail spending via chatbots is expected to hit $142 billion by 2024. That’s quite the amount when you consider it was only $2,8 billion in 2019. The problem in most cases is you can only access chatbots on certain platforms (e.g. a website, Slack, WhatsApp, etc.). This means:

  • Companies will have to lure customers in through online ads.
  • Customers have to find the platform before getting to ask the questions they need. 

This slows down the purchasing process for both companies and customers. After all, who’s more likely to make a sale, a flashing ad banner on top of your screen or a friendly and informative chatbot?

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This is our Corporate Startup of the week: 

Parent company

Google

Industry

Tech

Headquarters

U.S.A.

Founded

2018

Flagship product

AI-powered Conversational Ad Platform

Google’s AdLingo enables companies to integrate chatbots into their ads - giving customers the answers they need to make a purchase in real-time. Let’s take a closer look at how they made it all happen. It all starts at Google’s incubator, Area 120.

Google and Area 120

Innovation has always been a strong part of the Google culture, prompting the creation of wildly successful products like Google Maps, Android, and Gmail (just to name a few).

Other products (e.g. Google News, Google Adsense) were a direct result of the now-infamous “20% time” rule, which allowed employees to spend 20% of their workweek on passion projects. This prompted the question: What if employees could devote 100% of their time to their projects? 

The answer was Area 120, Google’s own in-house corporate incubator, designed to encourage employee-led innovation. As described by former Managing Director Alex Gawley:

“We built a place and a process to be able to have those folks come to us and then select what we thought were the most promising teams, the most promising ideas, the most promising markets…”

What makes Area 120 different from other Google initiatives (e.g. Google X, ATAP) is they pursue projects within Google’s core business. Their ideas and founders come directly from internal staff as opposed to external sources. 

AdLingo is one of the more recent projects by Area 120, alongside Tangi, Byteboard, Gamesnacks and Tables.

Meet Corporate Startup, AdLingo

AdLingo is an AI-powered conversational marketing platform that enables companies to integrate chatbots into their ads and engage customers. In essence, it helps take customers from discovery to purchase more quickly and efficiently. As explained by co-founder Vic Fatnani:

“Conversational assistants are revolutionising how brands and consumers engage with one another, facilitating real-time, two-way conversations. Our new platform is bringing these valuable conversations to the web pages and mobile apps that consumers are already browsing.”

With AdLingo, instead of searching through a myriad of web pages and FAQ sections, customers can get their questions answered instantly on the ad - all they have to do is click and type.

One of the first companies to run a test campaign using AdLingo was Allstar Kia, and the response from customers was quite positive. As explained by Chris Ferrall, Director of Internet Marketing Allstar Kia:

“By using the platform, we greatly increased the scale of our conversational assistant offering and dramatically reduced the amount of time it took for customers to learn about, consider and purchase our products.”

Since their 2018 launch, the team at AdLingo has continued to test and improve the service with excellent results. Here are just some of the examples reported by clients:

  • Clinique reported that 57% of the people that engaged in their ad completed the conversation flow, found a product recommendation and exited to the landing page.
  • D2C mattress brand Purple says AdLingo helped bring in over $100.000 in revenue.
  • Nespresso reported a 75% lift in purchase consideration compared to three competitors.
Image: MarTech Today

How AdLingo works

Intrapreneurs, here’s a breakdown on how AdLingo works, which could help the development of your own product:

You’ll need a chatbot

AdLingo works by placing conversational assistants into ads - this means you’ll need one to be eligible. Companies that don’t currently have a conversational assistant can work with several AdLingo partners to develop one. Some of the currently supported bot platforms include:

You’ll get more than the typical metrics

Aside from the typical campaign metrics (e.g. impressions, viewability, media costs), AdLingo delivers additional conversation engagement metrics. This includes things like: 

  • The number of conversations 
  • How long the viewer was engaged 
  • The number of clicks during the conversation

You’re covered for onboarding and troubleshooting

The team at AdLingo handles the onboarding and any troubleshooting. They work directly with companies on things like technical integration and campaign management tasks.

Costs are calculated based on CPMs

Your costs will be calculated based on the “cost per thousand impressions” or CPM. This measures how many thousands of people your ad has left an impression on, meaning your costs will vary depending on your targeting and objectives. 

The benefits

Corporate ventures like AdLingo can thrive because they have the support and backing of a parent company. Corporate assets like expertise, infrastructure and financial support give founders the freedom to focus on developing the best products - giving them a leg up over the competition. 

In this case, the team at AdLingo had a virtual smorgasbord of corporate assets to help move their project forward:

  • Access to existing technology and insights from similar projects in Area 120.
  • Feedback and customer insights from Google’s existing users.
  • Increased ad reach because of Google’s existing tech infrastructure (e.g. Google Display & Video 360 buying platform).
  • A network of industry-savvy colleagues, mentors and stakeholders to consult with.
  • The trust and confidence that comes with the backing of a company like Google.

Google, for its part, also stands to gain a lot from nurturing ventures like AdLingo. For one thing, each new insight discovered by the team can be used later on to improve existing products and even create new ones. 

Having an incubator like Area 120, also provides Google with a funnel of innovative ventures, ensuring constant evolution and enabling them to leverage their corporate assets efficiently.   

Additional benefits include:

  • Enabling Google to build pioneer offerings with disruptive potential.
  • Evolving and expanding on current offerings.
  • Building its reputation as an innovative industry leader.
  • Increasing its market share by tapping into a new customer base.
  • Creating new revenue streams in a low-risk way. 

What’s next?

Recently, the team announced a new tool called AdLingo Ads Builder, designed to help advertisers build ads 10x faster than before. The new tool uses a straightforward template that enables users to simply upload their ad, chatbot and data with a few clicks.

With more customers shopping online than ever, the convenience and reach offered by the AdLingo platform can be a game-changer for online advertisers. The idea of turning ads into conversations will only get bigger, and we’re sure we’ll start bumping into more interactive AdLingo ads in the next few years. 

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