World’s First Cricket Chatbot – niki.ai

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How IPL helped us grow our company – a product hack

Sunrisers Hyderabad moment of crowning glory at Bangalore brought down the curtain on another successful IPL season. But for Niki.ai, Bangalore based AI startup on a mission to revolutionize conversational commerce, it marked the end of a successful product driven marketing campaign, resulting in an extensive growth of the company.

Niki, the brainchild of 4 IIT-kgp alumni Sachin Jaiswal, Nitin babel, Keshav Prawasi and Shishir Modi is an Artificial Intelligence powered chatbot, which helps the user to search, discover and complete the transaction within one chat for various services available on the platform. Funded by Unilazer ventures (Ronnie Screwvala) and Mr. Ratan Tata, the startup has grown to a loyal user base of 45,000 in just a span of 6 months from inception and IPL campaign has been a huge upliftment for this success rate.

The love for cricket is genetic for us Indians. We believe that, cricket is our religion and IPL is our national festival. There was a time when world seemed to stop during a cricket match. But, for most of us ‘life happened’ and it became impossible to follow the match ball by ball. To deal with this, we at Niki.ai added a new feature on our platform to check ‘live IPL score’. Just by clicking on the cricket icon, users were able to get the fastest score updates compared to anywhere on the internet! And, thus Niki became “World’s first cricket bot”.  

The product feature did not involve loading heavy web-pages, nor refreshing it time and again, Niki just sent you the appropriate match update through an instant message, just like you would ask a friend. This allowed our users to follow IPL matches live and that too without compromising with their work. As expected, the response to this feature was overwhelming and the strategy was a huge success for both user acquisition and user engagement, resulting in immense growth in retention rates (chart below).

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In order to maximize the impact of this service, the message was needed to be communicated across all possible channels. Hence right after the launch of the service, we ran dedicated marketing campaigns on all social networking websites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to educate our users about it.  

#myIPLbahana stood out as the best among them, where we gave an amazing opportunity to IPL fans to share their excuses to bunk school or office or avoid any other plans just to watch IPL. The campaign immediately became a hit, when users started commenting as well as inviting friends to comment their bahana​. We rolled out exclusive gifts to the winners, which gave the campaign more push. Facebook’s algorithms are designed to provide maximum organic reach when there are more comments on your page, which was also one of the reasons we focussed on comments and not share or like. Through this campaign alone, we were able to reach more than 250,000 people and received more than 14,000 likes and 450+ comments to our posts. Through small incentives and gifts in the form of Niki credits, we ensured the conversion of participants into loyal Niki users.

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In between, Niki got her much deserved media attention too. We were particularly able to target those people who were not following social networking sites through our PR efforts. To try out this new feature, people installed our app. And our time saving, easy to use platform assured their retention.  

After such planned execution of campaign, it didn’t come as a surprise to see total 165% increase in chat sessions. Thanks to myIPLBahana​, we got a 145% increase in our orders during this period. To increase the hype even more we actively pushed our exciting referral program through different ad networks which resulted in tremendous increase in our user base, 40% rise to be exact.  

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We as a company believe that a startup is all about learning, reinventing, improving and sharing your experiences. We all have learnt new things this season. IPL taught us that ‘the best player can win you matches, but only a best team can win you the trophy’ while IPL campaign taught us that ‘the successful planning and management of a strategy is the true hack to organic growth’.

Do drop us a message on info@niki.ai for suggestions and discussions. More exciting product hacks coming up at Niki.ai, stay tuned !

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