According to Quartz, hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded the app since launch. Some users love it – others hate it.
“Unlike the web, most mobile products actually benefit from being polarizing,” Seward said. “By that, I mean it’s polarizing in both directions. Our daily active users are coming in two times a day, and you only do that with a product you actually love.”
That’s why Quartz built its app with personality by including emojis and GIFs to illustrate stories.
“The second-to-last alpha had a very similar look and feel, but very critically lacked the way it has a personality [now],” Mabanta said.
Quartz’s app is not a chatbot, though it shares the same conversational format as Kik and Facebook bots, since it’s manually programmed and delivers a similar experience to all users. As other publishers dip their toes into the world of sending content via messages, Quartz has some advice.
“There has to be a reason why you are doing it in the form of the bot or the conversational use case,” Seward said. “Think about the user first before chasing the trend.”
Publishers also need to respect and understand mobile, period, whether users access content through a mobile bot or something else.
“The point I would underscore is the delicateness of mobile,” Mabanta said. “As they explore potential bot integrations, media companies and brands should not overlook how different user behaviors are on mobile vs. desktop.”