By Jef Cozza / CIO Today. Updated November 14, 2016.
Businesses and developers working on bots for Facebook’s Messenger platform will soon have some new tools at their disposal. The company has announced that bot developers are now eligible to apply for membership in FbStart, Facebook’s worldwide assistance program for early stage mobile startups.
In addition, Facebook is also launching Analytics for Apps, a new tool that provides analytics capabilities to developers across both desktop and mobile devices. Using the tool, enterprises will be able to optimize customer journeys across apps and Web sites.
Analytics for Apps
“Starting today, we're extending this analytics support to businesses building bots on the Messenger Platform, becoming among the first analytics solutions for bots in the industry to provide actionable insights and transparency,” Sridharan Ramanathan, software engineer at Facebook Analytics, wrote on the company’s blog today.
The new tool gives developers the ability to view reports on messages they have sent and received, and people who block or unblock their apps without having to add additional code. In addition, developers will be given access to aggregated and anonymized demographic reports such as age, gender, education, interests, country, and language, giving them a better understanding of who is interacting with their bots, the company said. For bots associated with multiple pages, developers will be able to filter results at the page-level to view analytics for specific pages.
Businesses working on the Messenger platform will also be able to use the App Events API to log custom events for Analytics for Apps. In doing so, developers will be able to gather deeper insights about how people are engaging with their bots, Facebook added.
For example, a travel business could see how often people are transferred to a human agent. A news publisher, on the other hand, could look at how frequently people click on links that take them back to its site. Or an e-commerce business could build cross-platform funnels to see what percentage of people who interact with its bot also make purchases on its Web site or app.
Welcome to FbStart
Beginning today, Messenger platform developers and businesses are also eligible to apply for FbStart, Facebook's mobile app assistance service. Bots for Messenger developers and businesses accepted into the program will receive all the same program benefits as other developers, including Facebook ads credits and free tools and services from partners such as Amazon, Dropbox, and Stripe.
The popularity of bots on Facebook’s Messenger platform has exploded since the company first launched it at the F8 event in April. Since then, more than 34,000 bots have been built for the platform.
Bots can be built to automatically interact with customers by helping them shop or providing them with news tailored to their interests. Facebook has been attempting to develop the Messenger platform as a tool for its enterprise and e-commerce clients.