Yesterday, Facebook released a major update to the Messenger Platform. It’s a welcome and needed update for brands who have built, or are looking to build, a Chatbot on Messenger.
One of the challenges with bots is that sometimes users don’t know what to type or search for. It doesn’t help that some bots which incorporate NLP& AI don’t always understand what the user may be asking, either. For brands focused on a guided reply experience (choose-your-own-adventure) bots, we’re limited to what could included in the button blocks. Facebook’s update solves both of these problems and adds some features that make it even easier for customers to shop, play games, have unique messaging experiences, or get better customer support.
New Persistent Menu Helps Brands Build Richer Experiences, Similar to an E-Commerce Site:
There’s a new Persistent Menu. That’s the little “Hamburger” icon in the bottom of a chat. Facebook added this feature in July as a way to provide persistent buttons to help users navigate through the bot (there were only five buttons to choose from however). With the new Persistent Menu, brands can incorporate a broader and eye-catching menu with multiple steps and buttons. For example, a clothing store’s Chatbot can offer “Shop”, “Customer Support,” and “Learn More” buttons. But, where it gets really exciting is when the user hits “Shop”, the menu can be updated with a list of items like type of clothing, size, color, etc.
This is also important for brands because they can hide the “compose” bar now – where users can type text. The promise of AI hasn’t worked just yet, so now the bot doesn’t need to interpret text inputted by the user.
Sharing a Bot is Easier Than Ever:
Previously, Facebook only allowed brands to include a share button on messages. But today, brands can customize the image, message, and share buttons that appear when users want to pass something along to their friends and family through the bot. A link to the bot’s website can also be included. This new sharing functionality enables people to do more together in a Chatbot experience, like playing branded games or shopping for looks together. This new sharing feature will help accelerate bot discovery. As a next step, brand marketers will need to incorporate social sharing as part of their Chatbot strategy moving forward.
Deeplinking Leads to Better Targeting Around Custom Audiences:
One issue with Facebook Chatbots was that all users had a similar on-boarding experience. Now brands can direct users to specific parts of their Chatbot through deeplinking. For example, if a brand ran a media campaign targeting women for a new yoga apparel line, the brand could drive users to that yoga part of the Chatbot.
There is a comprehensive post on the Facebook Messenger blog about this latest Facebook Messenger 1.4 update. As Abby He from the Messenger team said, “We’re announcing new developer features that you’ve been asking for – to enable more ways for users to discover, share and engage with the meaningful experiences that our community is building”.
To us at Snaps, it’s become apparent that Facebook is taking this platform seriously and are providing brands the freedom to build one-of-kind experiences in Messenger.