Which one is better? Drift vs Intercom

joren-wouters-avatar

By Joren Wouters Updated on

Drift and Intercom are the most popular chat solutions for enterprise B2B websites.

They both offer live chat and chatbot solutions for your website.

But which chat platform should you use? What are the differences between them? And which platform is better?

Let’s find out!

1. Interface

Drift

Drift provides a visual flow builder when you are going to create your chatbot flows (called Playbooks in Drift):

drift-flow-builder

Every chatbot flows consists of several elements that you can easily add and edit. For example, you can create a question:

drift-create-question

And determine the ways a user can respond to that question:

drift-create-response

Also, you can test your chatbot flows before they actually go live.

With the visual flow builder of Drift, you can easily set up your own chatbot and the interface is also extremely easy to use.

  • Visual Flow Builder
  • Test chatbot
  • Interface easy to use?
  • Easy to setup a chatbot?

Intercom

If you use Intercom, you can create two kinds of chatbots: the Task Bot and the Custom Bot.

The Task Bot is a chatbot that will only interact with you if no live chat agents are available and is often an automatic message like “We typically respond in two hours”:

intercom-task-bot

When you want to create a custom Bot (a chatbot flow with elements), Intercom makes use of a Block builder, with all the different blocks on the left and the content of the block on the right:

intercom-custom-bot

Once you have determined the content of your Custom Bot, you can also determine on what pages you want to show this chatbot flow, by adding Rules:

intercom-bot-rules

And ultimately determine the goal of the chatbot flow (that you can use for analytics):

intercom-goal-chatbot

Moreover, you can also preview your chatbot flow, before it actually goes live.

At first, the interface makes it a bit hard to set up your chatbot, because Intercom is such a large product (with chatbots, setting up helpdesk and more). Also, the interface uses terms like “Outbound” and “Operator” that aren’t explained (unless you search for it). The same is true for the chatbot names – they use Task Bot, Custom Bot and Resolution Bot – and you first need to find out which one you need to use.

So in general, the interface is really easy to use, but it is a bit hard in the beginning to set up your chatbot.

  • Visual Flow Builder
  • Test chatbot
  • Interface easy to use?
  • Easy to setup a chatbot?

The winner: Drift

The interface of Drift is much easier to use than the interface of Intercom.

With Drift, you can just simply start by creating your chatbot flows in a visual flow builder.

With Intercom, you first need to deep dive into all the different aspects of the product and the different kinds of your chatbot, which makes it harder to set up a chatbot. Also, the interface doesn’t provide a visual flow builder, which makes it less intuitive to use.

2. Chatbot Elements

Drift

Drift provides enough chatbot elements that you can use in your chatbot flows.

First of all, you can send messages with your chatbot and ask questions. Then, you have Drift Skills, which allow you to:

  • Capture email
  • Get the phone number of the user
  • Lookup articles in your helpdesk
  • Automatically create tickets
  • Route conversations to live chat
  • Automatically send emails to the user (if you have their email)
  • Schedule a meeting
  • Or go to a different node in your Drift playbook

What I really like about Drift is their “Schedule a meeting” element which automatically shows possibles dates and times for the user to schedule a meeting:

drift-schedule-meeting-element

Unfortunately, Drift also doesn’t provide some chatbot elements, such as Audio, Video and Galleries. This is a bit of a drawback, because otherwise, you could create a richer media conversation.

  • Delays
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Attachments
  • Gallery (Horizontal list)
  • Vertical list
  • Emojis
  • Persistent Menu
  • Quick Replies
  • Buttons
  • Free text input
  • Location sharing
  • Email validation
  • Phone number validation
  • Date validation

Intercom

Intercom provides enough chatbot elements to create a good chatbot.

They lack some elements, such as Audio, Attachments and Galleries, but these are certainly not deal-breakers.

What I do like about the elements in Intercom, is that you can also display Helpdesk articles inside your chatbot:

intercom-helpdesk-article

  • Delays
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Attachments
  • Gallery (Horizontal list)
  • Vertical list
  • Emojis
  • Persistent Menu
  • Quick Replies
  • Buttons
  • Free text input
  • Location sharing
  • Email validation
  • Phone number validation
  • Date validation

The winner: Intercom

This is a small win for Intercom.

Intercom offers more chatbot elements you can use in your chatbot. But more importantly, they allow images and video, which allows you to create a richer chatbot experience (and this is not possible with Drift).

3. Users

Drift

In Drift, you can see a complete overview of all the user that talked to your chatbot:

drift-create-segment

And by filtering on the users that talked to your chatbot you can create your own user segment based on custom fields.

For every user, you can ask a certain question and store the answer to that question in a custom field (called Attributes in Drift).

Also, with Drift, you can assign tags to the user based on answers they provide to your chatbot.

  • Custom fields
  • Tags
  • User segments

Intercom

In Intercom, you can see a complete overview of everyone that talked with your chatbot:

intercom-users

When you click on of your users, you can see their custom fields, tags, recent pages on your website they viewed and more:

intercom-user-information

With Intercom, you can just ask a question to the user and store the answer in a custom field or assign a tag.

Additionally, you can create your own user segments by filtering on specific custom fields and tags.

  • Custom fields
  • Tags
  • User segments

No Winner

With both Drift and Intercom you can add custom fields and tags, and create user segments based on that.

So, no winner on this criterium!

4. Messages

Drift

With Drift, it is not possible to send broadcasts or sequences, but this is obvious, because you can only create a chatbot for your website with Drift.

On the other hand, it is possible to create conditions in Drift, which allows you to create personalized chat experiences:

drift-conditions

Also, Drift supports multiple languages. However, it is not easy to handle multiple languages at the same time. You need to copy all your chatbot flows and translate them one-by-one. Also, if you want to support multiple languages on one website, you need to code this yourself.

So it is possible to handle multiple languages on one website, but it is not easy to do this.

  • Broadcasts
  • Sequences
  • Conditions
  • Multiple languages
  • Easy to translate

Intercom

With Intercom, you can send a broadcast to your users, by using large Posts or Banners.

Unfortunately, you cannot create a sequence of messages, but it is possible to create Series, which we will cover later (in the Marketing section).

Moreover, it is not possible to use conditions in your chatbot flows, which is a drawback, because this would allow you to create personalized chatbot experiences. It is possible to use some kind of condition in the Series feature of Intercom, but this is at a broader level and not in a specific conversation.

Luckily, you can have a chatbot in multiple languages, but it is not easy to translate your chatbot.

  • Broadcasts
  • Sequences
  • Conditions
  • Multiple languages
  • Easy to translate

No winner

There is (again) no winner.

With Drift, you can create personalized experiences by using conditions.

With Intercom, you cannot do this, but it is possible to send broadcasts to your users.

So it is what you prefer. Do you want to send broadcasts or use conditions?

5. AI & NLP

Drift

With Drift, you can create keywords so your chatbot automatically responds to them:

drift-keyword-groups

Unfortunately, that’s all there is regarding AI & NLP of Drift. It is not possible to understand the intent of the user or use entities.

And I think this is a huge drawback for a chatbot builder that position themselves as one of the best in the industry.

  • Keywords
  • Intents
  • Entities
  • Dialogflow integration

Intercom

If you want to automatically reply to questions of your users, you need to use the Resolution Bot of Intercom.

With the Resolution Bot, you can train your chatbot on several questions, that will ultimately understand the intent of the user:

intercom-resolution-bot

Unfortunately, it is not possible to use Entities with Intercom.

What I really like about Intercom, is that you can automatically import customer questions from Zendesk, which can give you a headstart on creating your first keywords:

intercom-import-questions-zendesk

  • Keywords
  • Intents
  • Entities
  • Dialogflow integration

The winner: Intercom

With Intercom, you can understand the intent of the user, while this is not possible with Drift.

Therefore, Intercom is the winner on this subject!

6. Channels

Drift

With Drift, it is only possible to create a chatbot on your website and automatically send emails (once you capture the email of the user).

This is a bit of a drawback, because this doesn’t allow you to create an omnichannel chat experience with Drift.

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • SMS
  • Slack
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Skype
  • Email

Intercom

Intercom provides three main channels to put your chatbot on:

  • Website
  • iOS app
  • Android app

Moreover, with Intercom, you can automatically send email campaigns, such as a client onboarding campaign when someone becomes a new client.

Furthermore, Intercom provides additional channels that you can use with live chat, but you cannot use with your chatbot:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Slack

And this is a drawback, because you cannot create an omnichannel chatbot experience for your users.

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • SMS
  • Slack
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Skype
  • Email

The winner: Intercom

Intercom provides one channel more than Drift: Apps.

That’s why they win in this category.

7. Integrations

Drift

Drift performs really well regarding integrations.

First of all, they have a built-in live chat, which is the most important integration of any chatbot software:

drift-livechat

And their live chat is also extremely easy to use and has some smart features. For example, you can save certain replies and your live chat and reuse them by just typing in “/savedreply”:

drift-saved-reply-livechat

Also, a huge benefit of Drift is that they provide an iOS and Android app which allows you to respond to customer questions on the go.

Moreover, they provide 50 direct integrations with other software applications, like:

  • Salesforce
  • Marketo
  • Slack
  • Google Calendar
  • Facebook Pixel Tracking
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Sheets

And much more.

If that’s not enough, you can integrate with almost any software application by using Zapier or Integromat.

Furthermore, Drift provides its own API, which allows you to create your own webhooks with Drift.

  • Livechat
  • Zapier
  • Integromat
  • Google Sheets
  • Webhooks

Intercom

Intercom has a built-in live chat, which is the most important integration of any chatbot software:

intercom-livechat

Moreover, they even have their own App Store with over 100 direct integrations with other software applications:

intercom-app-store

What is so great about their App Store, is that every developer can contribute to it. For example, Intercom itself doesn’t provide a Telegram integration. But, by using an App in their App store, you can create this integration yourself.

If that’s not enough, you can use Zapier or Integromat to integrate with almost any software application on earth.

Moreover, you can also create your own webhooks using the Intercom API.

  • Livechat
  • Zapier
  • Integromat
  • Google Sheets
  • Webhooks

No winner

Both chatbot builders provide all the integrations you possibly want for your chatbot.

So, no winner on this subject.

8. Marketing

Drift

Drift gives two main ways of chatting with your customer: landing pages or their website widget.

Let’s cover the possibilities one-by-one:

Drift’s landing pages

First of all, Drift provides standard landing pages, showing a chat widget:

drift-landing-page

But you can also get more advanced and show a complete PDF besides your chat widget:

drift-advanced-landing-page

This is especially useful for delivering lead magnets to your audience and simultaneously getting their contact information.

 

Drift’s advanced website widget

With Drift, you can create a website widget that matches the branding of your website:

drift-widget-colors

Moreover, you can show a specific widget depending on characteristics of the user (such as their location, new/returning users and the number of pages they visited):

drift-website-targeting

Also, you can trigger a website widget from a button on your website, which makes the widget a good alternative to a contact form.

 

What is Drift Intel?

Drift Intel allows you to turn anonymous customers into known companies.

Based on the IP address of the user, Drift Intel automatically detects with which company you are talking. When you know their company, you can ask specific questions and infer other characteristics from them:

drift-intel

The drawback is that the detection of companies is based on IP addresses, which isn’t always reliable, because some people use VPN’s which show a different IP address than their real one.

  • Facebook website widget
  • Native website widget
  • Landing pages
  • Facebook Ads
  • Facebook comments auto-reply
  • Button creator
  • Custom URLs for your chatbot

Intercom

Intercom mainly provides seven marketing possibilities with their product:

  1. Website widget
  2. Chats
  3. Posts
  4. Product Tours
  5. Banners
  6. Mobile Push
  7. Mobile carousels
  8. Series

Intercom’s Website Widget

The website widget of Intercom is pretty advanced.

First of all, you can set up your widget so it matches the branding of your website:

intercom-website-widget

Then, by using Chats, you can send personalized greeting messages to your users.

 

Intercom Chats

With Intercom Chats, you can send personalized greeting messages to your users:

intercom-chat-greeting

By using Rules, you can set up different greeting messages per page and per type of user:

intercom-rules

And these rules are pretty specific. You can even target people if they come from a specific ad (by using UTM parameters).

But that’s not it, you can also only show the greeting if the user has been on the page for a certain amount of seconds or when the last contact was.

 

Intercom Posts

Intercom Posts are pretty similar to Chats, but the difference is that the chat widget opens with a small post in it:

intercom-small-post

Also, you can create a large post that opens up as a pop-up:

intercom-large-post

 

Intercom Product Tours

This is one of the best marketing opportunities of Intercom, showing a tour of your product.

In my opinion, there is no better way of onboarding new customers than just showing them how to do it, step-by-step.

And it is also really simple to create a tour, you can just click on parts of your website and add instructions:

intercom-create-product-tour

 

Intercom Banners

Intercom also provides Banners that you can put on your website.

Banners are highlighted sections on the top or bottom of your website that you can use to promote something, such as a discount:

intercom-banner

 

Intercom Mobile Push

The Mobile Push of Intercom can only be used if you are using Intercom for your iOS or Android App.

With the Mobile Push, you can send a push notification to users who have the app on your phone:

intercom-mobile-push

 

Intercom Mobile Carousels

The Mobile Carousel of Intercom allows you to send a carousel of images when someone is opening your iOS or Android app.

For example, you can use the mobile carousel to display new features of your app:

intercom-mobile-carousel

 

Intercom Series

Series is a visual campaign builder that allows you to send emails, posts, chatbot flows and product tours if the user meets some conditions.

For example, you can use Series to create an onboarding campaign for new customers:

intercom-series

  • Facebook website widget
  • Native website widget
  • Landing pages
  • Facebook Ads
  • Facebook comments auto-reply
  • Button creator
  • Custom URLs for your chatbot

The winner: Intercom

This is a clear win for Intercom.

Intercom provides way more marketing possibilities than Drift.

9. Pricing

Drift

Drift provides a free plan which gives you access to their live chat.

Their Pro plan gives you access to chatbots, integrations, a dedicated customer success manager and more:

drift-pricing

Unfortunately, it is unclear how much their Pro plan costs. If you want to get info on their pricing, you need to chat with them, so this probably is custom per client.

But in the past, it was around $400 per month, which is pretty expensive.

  • Free trial
  • Free plan
  • Price per month
    400
  • Monthly pricing available?
  • Money back guarantee

Intercom

The pricing of Intercom is a bit complicated and unclear.

Intercom provides the Start plan, which is $39 per month and comes only with their live chat feature. The next plan is the Grow plan, which is $99 per month and comes with their live chat, 5 live chat agents, email integration, help desk articles, Mobile Carousels, Banners, an article suggestion chatbot and a lead qualification chatbot (not enough to build a complete chatbot):

intercom-pricing-1

When you want to create your own custom chatbot, you need to go with one of their Conversational packages, which starts at $499 per month and includes 10 live chat agents, all the different kinds of chatbots, all the different channels, analytics and more:

intercom-pricing-2

What is weird about these last plans is that they don’t provide you with all the features of the platform. For example, in the Conversational Marketing plan, you don’t have the Series feature, but in the Conversational Customer engagement plan, you do have that feature. So it is unclear what it would cost you to have all the features of the platform.

Also, what happens with the price if we want more than 10 live chat agents? How much would that cost? That is also not provided on their website.

  • Free trial
  • Free plan
  • Price per month
    499
  • Monthly pricing available?
  • Money back guarantee

No winner

If you want to build a complete chatbot and use all the features of Drift/Intercom, they both cost around the same price: $400-$500 per month.

So, I think their pricing is pretty similar and therefore: No winner.

10. Analytics

Drift

Drift provides three kinds of analytics. First of all, you can see an overview regarding the number of visitors, number of conversations and the different type of audiences:

drift-analytics-conversations

Moreover, you can see how well your chatbot flows are performing in terms of money and ROI:

drift-sales-analytics
drift-analytics-pipeline
drift-analytics-sales

Ultimately, you can see analytics per chatbot flow, so you can analyze where people are dropping off:

drift-flow-analytics

These analytics give you good insights into how your chatbot is performing and where you could improve.

That being said, I think it is a bit of a drawback that you cannot analyze which user input wasn’t understood by the chatbot. If they would have this, you could easily improve the answers of your chatbot, which isn’t possible now.

  • Dashboard
  • User input
  • User retention
  • Sent messages
  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Fall back rate
  • Volunteer users
  • Custom dashboards/reports

Intercom

The analytics of Intercom are pretty extensive.

First of all, when you’ve set up a goal for your chatbot flow, you can see how many people reached that goal:

intercom-goal-reached
Source: Intercom

Moreover, you can see an analytics dashboard for all of the conversations with Intercom:

intercom-analytics-dashboard

Intercom provides even so much analytics that I hardly can cover them all in this comparison, but they provide a lot.

There is only one I also want to point out: user input that the chatbot didn’t understand. By using “Training for the Resolution Bot”, you can analyze common questions users asked and determine an answer for them:

intercom-user-input
Source: Intercom

So yeah, they do really well on this category.

  • Dashboard
  • User input
  • User retention
  • Sent messages
  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Fall back rate
  • Volunteer users
  • Custom dashboards/reports

The winner: Intercom

With Intercom, you have way more analytics than with Drift.

But the best part is that you can analyze the user input the chatbot did not understand. This allows you to easily improve the answers of your chatbot, which is not possible with Drift.

11. eCommerce

Drift

Unfortunately, Drift doesn’t provide any direct eCommerce integrations.

  • Payments
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Buy directly within the chatbot
  • Cart abandonment

Intercom

Intercom provides a Shopify integration that you can use to:

  • Let users automatically get the order status in the chat widget
  • Create orders from live chat
  • Search for customers and products in live chat

Moreover, Intercom has a WooCommerce integration (built by ektagon, $15 per month) that allows you to sync data between WooCommerce and Intercom.

Also, you can accept payments by using the Stripe integration of Intercom.

  • Payments
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Buy directly within the chatbot
  • Cart abandonment

The Winner: Intercom

Intercom provides direct integrations with eCommerce software, while Drift doesn’t. 

So Intercom is the winner on this subject.

12. Templates & Cloning

Drift

Drift provides templates, but it is unclear how much.

Furthermore, you cannot create these templates yourself and share them with others.

On the other hand, it is possible to duplicate your chatbot flows and chatbot elements, so you can easily reuse them.

  • Templates
    5
  • Make template
  • Share template
  • Duplicate chatbot flows
  • Duplicate chatbot elements

Intercom

Intercom provides 7 templates to build your Custom Bot.

Unfortunately, you cannot create these templates yourself and share them with others.

On the other hand, it is possible to duplicate your chatbot flows and chatbot elements, so that you can easily reuse them.

  • Templates
    7
  • Make template
  • Share template
  • Duplicate chatbot flows
  • Duplicate chatbot elements

No winner

Both chatbot builders provide templates and duplicating chatbot flows and elements.

So, no winner on this subject.

13. Optimization

Drift

With Drift, you can optimize your chatbot flows by using A/B testing.

  • A/B Testing

Intercom

Unfortunately, you cannot use any optimization in your chatbot flows, such as A/B Testing.

  • A/B Testing

The winner: Drift

Drift allows you to optimize your chatbot flows by using A/B testing, while Intercom doesn’t.

So Drift is the winner.

14. Support

Drift

Drift provides extensive documentation and video tutorials through Drift Insider.

Besides that, Drift also provides a lot of videos and webinars regarding sales & marketing for companies, which could be useful.

Also, they provide support via email and live chat.

  • Tutorials
  • Documentation
  • Customer support

Intercom

Intercom provides lots of tutorials explaining their platform and they have a huge documentation.

Moreover, they also provide support through live chat and email.

  • Tutorials
  • Documentation
  • Customer support

No Winner

No winner on this one.

They both have tutorials, documentation and good customer support.

Who is het winner?

So, let’s look at the winners per criterium:

Criterium Drift Intercom
Interface -
Chatbot elements
Users - -
Messages - -
AI & NLP
Channels
Integrations
Marketing - -
Pricing - -
Analytics
eCommerce
Templates & Cloning - -
Optimization -
Support - -

While Drift is better with the Interface and Optimization, Intercom wins on Chatbot elements, AI & NLP, Channels, Analytics and eCommerce, which makes Intercom the winner.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that Drift is bad software. Drift is still good, Intercom is just a little bit better.

drift-vs-intercom

Leave a Reply