Today, we’re launching the Messenger Platform (beta), making it possible for developers to connect with the more than 900 million people around the world who use Messenger every month. You can read more about the announcement in today’sFacebook Newsroom post.
Bots for Messenger are for anyone who’s trying to reach people on mobile – no matter how big or small your company or idea is, or what problem you’re trying to solve. Whether you’re building apps or experiences to share weather updates, confirm reservations at a hotel, or send receipts from a recent purchase, bots make it possible for you to be more personal, more proactive, and more streamlined in the way that you interact with people.
Starting today, all developers and businesses will be able to build bots for Messenger, and then submit them for review. We will gradually accept and approve submissions to ensure the best experiences for everyone on Messenger. We’re putting people first with new guidelines, policies and controls to offer the best interactions we possibly can.
Connect with your users
Think of a message thread as the place where you connect and interact with your users. Build just one bot, and your experience is available on all platforms where Messenger exists, including iOS, Android, and web. It also removes the friction of your users having to download one more app, on top of all the apps they already have and may not use, given Messenger is now used by 900 million people every month.
We’re introducing the tools, but the experience is yours to build. You define the message templates, using features like images, text and calls to action (CTAs) that allow for rich, interactive experiences.
Three Main Capabilities Within Bots for Messenger
Send/Receive API. This new capability includes the ability to send and receive text, images, and rich bubbles with CTAs.
Generic Message Templates. We think people prefer to tap buttons and see beautiful images, rather than learn a new programming language to interact with your bot. That’s why we’ve built structured messages with call to actions, horizontal scroll, urls, and postbacks.
Welcome screen + Null state CTAs. Our first principle was giving developers space to own the experience. Think of the message thread as your app. We’re giving you the real estate and the tools to customize your experience. This starts with the welcome screen. People discover our featured bots and enter the conversation. Then, they see your brand, your Messenger greeting, and a call to action to “Get Started”.
Natural Language Assistance
To compliment the functionality of bots for Messenger, we’re introducing another tool to facilitate more complex conversational experiences, leveraging our learnings with M. The wit.ai Bot Engine enables ongoing training of bots using sample conversations. This enables you to create conversational bots that can automatically chat with users. The wit.ai Bot Engine effectively turns natural language into structured data as a simple way to manage context and drive conversations based on your business or app’s goals.
How People Can Find Your Bot for Messenger
We’ve taken steps to make it as easy as possible for your customers to discover you on Messenger. You can use Web plugins, Messenger Codes, Messenger Links, or Messenger Usernames. We’ve also focused on the ecosystem that developers use, enabling many platforms that have made it even easier to access Messenger tools, including Shopify, Twilio, and Zendesk. And, for businesses that already take advantage of using SMS for real-time communication – like when your food delivery is at your door or when your ride is outside – with customer matching tools, we’ve built a new way for you to easily transfer those conversations to Messenger