Facebook has announced a raft of new features for its Messenger Platform to help developers increase chatbot capabilities and enhance user engagement and interaction.
The update includes dynamic buttons for quick user replies, customer account linking for businesses, wider support for content types like video and audio, and user ratings and feedback.
Facebook has also announced an updated set of guidelines for bot development, as well as a new resource blog that includes tips, case studies, and a Q&A series with businesses and brands that have already built bots for Messenger.
The new tools and features are set out in more detail below:
- Ratings: People can now provide a star rating and open text feedback for bot developers. Ratings and reviews are currently shared with only the bot developer through a dashboard in developers.facebook.com and via email.
- Quick replies: Quick replies offer a more guided experience for people as they interact with your bot, which helps set expectations on what the bot can do. They include up to ten dynamic buttons that directly align with the most recent message sent by the business - making it easier to have an automated conversation with people. They allow for simple state management for developers — no need to manage button taps from ten messages ago — and make chat history cleaner, by only showing the selected responses.
- Persistent menu: The navigation for your bot with support for up to five actions. This eliminates the need for people to remember text commands and provides a great way to restart the flow or invoke settings. This will help with bot re-engagement and consistency.
- Account linking: We're launching a secure protocol for businesses to connect their customers' accounts with Messenger accounts, enabling a deeper and more personal experience. People will have to opt in to this experience.
- More content types: GIFs, Audio, Video, and Files Get your brand's personality across by sending a variety of content types. You can now send GIFs, audio, video, and other files to people using your bot in Messenger. Videos and audio clips play natively in Messenger.
- More Control: Manage / Mute / Ratings Now, people have even more ways to optimize their experiences with bots in Messenger. People can choose to mute a bot just like they can mute a conversation with their friends and they can also provide a star rating and feedback for bot developers. Ratings and reviews are currently shared with only the bot developer through a dashboard in developers.facebook.com (http://developers.facebook.com) and via email.
Over 11,000 chatbots have been created since Facebook launched bot support for its Messenger app back in April, while over 23,000 developers have signed up to use the company's recently acquired natural language bot engine.
The enhancements to Messenger Platform reflect one of the major goals in Facebook's 10-year roadmap, with Messenger and Live Video receiving the most investment and development over the first five years, followed by the company's increased focus on connectivity, AI, and augmented reality.