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Instagram Chatbots: Top 5 Vendors, Use Cases & Best Practices

Instagram is the 2nd-most1 used social media platform for e-commerce purchases. 44%2 of “active” Instagrammers use it to shop weekly.

With the growing popularity of Instagram as an e-commerce hub, brands should use Instagram chatbots to automate interactions, enhance engagement, and streamline online purchases.

However, businesses might be unfamiliar with the top Instagram chatbot vendors, or the Instagram features their chatbot should utilize. This article lists the top chatbot providers, best practices for optimizing an Instagram chatbot, and more.

What are the top Instagram chatbot providers?

VendorClick-to-ChatStoryCommentsPayment ButtonUpselling & Cross-SellingMeta Partner
Haptik
Manychat
SendPulse
Intercom
Tidio

The following table is in descending number of employee count:

Vendor Employee #$/month*
Intercom1,316395
Haptik.ai410416
Manychat188835
Tidio180394
SendPulse133119

*Price is per 20,000 conversations for all vendors except Intercom, that didn’t clarify. We took their Pro Package pricing that offers +1,000 conversations.

Vendor criteria

There are 243 conversational AI platforms. We shortlisted the best ones based on: 

  • Having +100 employees on LinkedIn
  • Explicitly claiming to offer Instagram integration

Features

To identify the vendor that offers the best Instagram chatbot, we looked for the following features:

  1. Click-to-chat ads: Starting a conversation when users click on an ad (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Click-to-chat ads direct users to a chatbot. Image source.

  1. Responding to story mentions: Monitoring the brand’s story mentions and responding to users
  2. Responding to comments: Monitoring and responding to users
  3. Connecting to live agents: Handing complex queries to humans
  4. Offering payment buttons: Providing a universal payment gateway button (i.e., PayPal or Stripe but not Shopify)
  5. Upselling and cross-selling: Suggesting complementary and substitutionary products to increase average order value (AOV)
  6. Meta certification: A chatbot developed by a Meta-certified vendor means it:
    • Adheres to Meta’s QA
    • Has priority access to API features 
    • Leverages Meta’s technical support 
    • Supports Meta’s data protection frameworks, and more.

How do Instagram chatbots work? 

Instagram chatbots are similar to other chatbots. They can be triggered by emojis or keywords and pick an answer from their knowledge base. Moreover, adding ML and generative AI functionalities expands their conversational and operational features.

For example, Figure 2 shows how an Instagram chatbot can read comments and Instagram direct messages, understand their sentiments, and respond accordingly.

Figure 2: An Instagram chatbot’s architecture for reading and responding to comments and messages. Image source.

Having said that, there are Instagram-native functionalities – like reacting to Story mentions or responding to comments – that are specific to Instagram chatbots.

Why is having an Instagram chatbot important?

The importance of having an Instagram chatbot lies in the growth of Instagram as an e-commerce platform:

  1. It’s the primary platform3 for researching brands and products
  2. It’s the 2nd most used and important social media platform for marketers4
  3. It’s the 2nd5 social media platform with the highest e-commerce sales
  4. Instagram will have 1.6B6 users by 2027
  5. 60% 7 of users learn about a product on Instagram
  6. 90%8 of Instagram users follow a business profile 

Brands wishing to capitalize on Instagram’s vast user engagement and influential marketing potential should use a dedicated chatbot to automate interactions, capture and nurture leads, and make sales.

What can Instagram chatbots do?

Instagram chatbots can automatically:

  1. Reply to emoji-based story reactions (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Instagram chatbots can respond accordingly to emoji reactions. Image source.

  1. Reply to Direct Messages (DMs) (Figure 5)

Figure 5: Instagram chatbots can automate DM replies. Image source.

  1. Allow users to place and pay their orders on DMs (Figure 6)

Figure 6: Instagram chatbots can let users place and pay their orders without leaving the app. Image source.

  1. Reply to comments on the comments thread or on DMs
  2. React to Story mentions (i.e., by sending a coupon code as a thank you, for example)
  3. Collect users’ information for lead generation and personalized DMs
  4. Connect the customer to a live agent if the query is complex

How to create Instagram chatbots? 

You can create Instagram chatbots by using a chatbot developer or a chatbot vendor.  Building your own Instagram chatbot can be complex and expensive. So, it’s expected to be a less popular choice and won’t be covered here.

Using a chatbot provider

  1. Create an Instagram business account or switch the personal one to a business 
  2. Link it with a Facebook fan page. If you don’t have any, you have to create one.
    • Facebook’s involvement is because Instagram uses Facebook Messenger’s API
  3. Link your chatbot platform to your Instagram account
  4. Customize the chatbot for your use case. 

Each chatbot provider has a different GUI. So, read/watch documentation/tutorials. But typically, a low-code configuration looks as follow:

  • Suppose you want to integrate Stripe’s payment gateway in Direct Messages, enabling customers to place and pay their orders in the chat.
  • Go to “Integrations” on your developer’s dashboard. Search “Stripe.” Connect it to your account.
  • Add the product’s info, image, and price to its card.
  • Your chatbot now allows users to finalize purchases on Instagram DM.

What are the benefits/use cases of Instagram chatbots?

1. Enhanced product showcasing

Instagram chatbots can dynamically showcase products, via carousel features or links to Posts, Reels, Videos, and Stories

2. Story interactions 

Stories are one of the most used features of Instagram:

  • +500M Instagrammers use Stories daily9 
  • 70% of Instagrammers watch Stories daily10
  • 49% of Gen Z use Stories to find products/services11 
  • 1 in 3 Instagrammers are more interested in a Story-showcased product12

Using a chatbot in Instagram marketing campaign can interact with users to increase conversion rates by:

  • Responding to product inquiries
  • Giving discount codes 
  • Setting reminders (if the Story is promoting an event)
  • Soliciting feedback (if the Story is highlighting a product)

3. End-to-end shopping 

Instagram has native shopping features, like Shopping Tags and Checkout. Instagram chatbots can guide the user through the buying process in the app, resulting in lower exit rates. 

4. Providing product information

After seeing a product on Instagram, 79%13 of users try to find more information about it. Some in-app methods of finding information are:

  • Reading other users comments 
  • Posting a comment
  • Direct Messaging the brand 
  • Looking at images

Chatbots can monitor these engagement points and automatically answer product questions in comments and DMs. This lets users find information instantly in the app, instead of on search engines.

5. Hyper-targeted messaging

Using Instagram’s analytics and insights, chatbots can compile user data on behavior and past brand interactions to deliver focused messages, including exclusive deals and personalized recommendations.

Learn more about chatbot analytics.

6. Data-driven influencer collaboration

6.1. The scope of influencer marketing on Instagram

  • On average, ~30%14 of users make an “influenced-by-influencers” purchase
  • 53%15 of Gen Z had made an “influenced-by-influencers” purchase
  • 51%16 of users’ purchase were influenced by social media advertising
  • By 2025, Instagram’s influencer marketing size will be $22.2B17

6.2. Leveraging chatbots for influencer collaborations

Companies can use an Instagram chatbot to benefit from Influencer marketing by:

  • Sending personalized message to users who tag the product in their Posts or Stories.
  • Collecting analytics of an influencer’s post, like engagement, click-through, and conversion rates to measure the ROI of the collaboration campaign.
    • When successful posts/Stories are identified, delve into specifics like:
      • Filters used in the Stories or images
      • Timing of the posts or Stories
      • Duration of Stories
      • Presence or absence of closed captions
  • Answering queries instantly and consistently. This is most important especially when collaborating with a popular influencer driving high traffic to your account.
  • Distributing automated follow-up messages, discount codes, or special offers to users redirected from an influencer’s Call-to-Action (CTA) stickers and affiliate links.

7. Quick DM replies

Rule-based Instagram chatbots can quickly resolve common queries on DMs. For more complex customer service or sales questions, advanced AI algorithms can give a personalized answer.

For example, a user gives their body measurements and asks what size would fit them. The chatbot accesses its database and replies that, “In the past, customers with similar body measurements bought X or Y size.” 

8. Shopping cart abandonment recovery

An Instagram chatbot can send an automated reminder or discount code to incentivize users who’ve abandoned their cart.

What are some tips for optimizing an Instagram chatbot?

Program the chatbot to integrate with the following Instagram features:

1. Instagram stories 

Use Stories to promote the chatbot and its functionalities. Direct people to engage with the chatbot through swipe-up links to CTA link stickers 

2. Instagram Insights 

Use Instagram’s native analytics tools to monitor how users interact with the chatbot via DMs, and adjust your strategies accordingly. 

3. IGTV, Reels, and Lives 

For more engaging product exhibitions, let the chatbot direct users to IGTV and Reels. 

If you have planned Live sessions, have the chatbot send reminders to users to join ahead of time.

4. Quick and Saved Replies 

Use the Quick and Saved Replies feature in your chatbot’s script to allow users to select from pre-set responses for basic, repetitive queries. 

5. Hashtags 

Use the chatbot to manage hashtag promotions. It can tell users to share photos/Stories of a product with its specific hashtag. Or if someone wants to explore a t-shirt’s styling options, for example, it can give its hashtag from previous campaigns so they can search.

6. Comments 

Use the chatbot to reply/like comments to enhance engagement, answer questions, and increase exposure in followers’ feeds. 

7. Shopping feature 

Use Instagram’s shopping feature and the chatbot’s payment gateway integration to enable users to place and pay for orders in the chat. 

8. Post tags and Story mentions 

When your product or brand is tagged on Posts or mentioned in Stories, program the chatbot to respond/engage appropriately.

Program the chatbot to handle Instagram’s carousel and collection post formats when sharing multiple images or product listings. 

10. Spam-free guidelines

Follow Instagram’s guidelines18 to ensure your bot doesn’t spam. You can program the bot to only answer/send a certain number of comments/DMs each hour, or not use the exact wording for all its answers.

11. Images, files, & emojis

Given Instagram’s young user-base19, program the chatbot to converse via a combination of images, files, emojis, and GIFs.

FAQ

What are Instagram chatbots?

Instagram chatbots are conversational AI agents that interact on Instagram, with Instagram users.

What’s the difference between Instagram chatbots and Instagram bots?

An Instagram chatbot automates conversations in a human-like manner. It’s designed based on Instagram’s platform policy to avoid spammy behavior.

An Instagram bot increases visibility and engagement metrics in a blanket-style manner, by:
– Liking posts
– Following/unfollowing accounts
– Commenting on posts
– Sending mass DMs

Not all Instagram bots are spammy. But those that don’t follow Instagram’s platform policy are shut down.

Further reading

If you want to invest in a chatbot, visit our data-driven list of chatbot vendors. And reach out to us if you have further questions:

Find the Right Vendors

Transparency statement

This article was originally written by former AIMultiple industry analyst Bardia Eshghi and reviewed by Cem Dilmegani.

Sources

Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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