It’s hard to say whether Facebook’s Messenger bots will ever make the platform the all-in-one tool of Facebook’s dreams. But they’re certainly not giving up on it, and the potential still looms large.
Their latest bot development is the release of Messenger Platform 2.1, which includes a range of new tools designed to help enhance business use of Messenger, and enable the creation of better Messenger Bots.
Right now, no one seems quite sure what to make of Facebook’s ‘Messenger for business’ push.
On the one hand, the shift to more business options makes perfect sense. Facebook's followed their established monetization playbook of building a platform users love, then adding free business tools, before moving onto paid options.
Facebook's continuing its ongoing push of Messenger Bots by rolling out their new Messenger Discover tab to all US users, while also adding in some new tools to help people find more relevant bots and resources within the app.
First announced at their F8 conference back in February, the new Messenger Discover tab will include three categories to help connect users to relevant info.
Facebook really thinks it makes sense for you to conduct direct conversations with brands via Messenger bots - you really should do it. To help facilitate this, The Social Network released ‘Click to Messenger’ ads on Facebook last November, which enable businesses to include a button to start up a DM interaction direct from the ad post.
While bots are not the explicit focus, they are in reality - and now, Facebook's extending Click to Messenger ads to Instagram, which will re-direct users to Messenger interactions – not to Instagram’s own messaging space.
If Facebook announces the “Messenger Bot Store” at F8, as many predict, it would be arguably the most consequential event for the tech industry since Apple announced the App Store and iPhone SDK in March 2008.
If you’re still using Twitter data – like Likes, re-tweets and shares – as indicators of success for your social marketing program, you likely need to re-assess your process.
As has been widely covered in recent times, Twitter’s systems can easily be gamed through purchased bots and interactions, which largely de-values such metrics.
One of the key benefits which might be derived from the current investigation into how social platforms were used to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election, could be improved data and transparency for social metrics – particularly in regards to automated bots, and the presence of fake accounts on each platform.
The presence of bots, and their impact, has long been debated in social media circles. Back in 2012, Facebook said that around 8.7% of the accounts on their platform were fake, which, at that time, equated to around 83 million accounts. They updated this number to 11% in 2014 (138 million fake accounts), and that figure has steadily climbed as the platform has continued to expand – though the overall percentage of fake accounts, according to Facebook, has not risen significantly.
Twitter has taken another step towards reducing the impact of trolls and abuse by acquiring Smyte, a company founded by former Facebook, Instagram and Google team members who specialize in webspam, fraud and digital security.
Twitter has taken a significant step towards stopping misuse of its platform by introducing a measure that many have been calling for over the years.
While Twitter hasn’t made bots a key focus of their customer service tools, they have continued to add tools to stay in touch with the bot trend.
And that may be a smarter approach – while Facebook's been pushing hard to promote their Messenger bots and the opportunities they bring for more than a year now, they haven’t yet become a key part of the Messenger experience. That’s not to say they won’t, there’s every chance that it’ll only take one or two truly great bots to spark the broader trend. But they haven’t yet.
Twitter analytics tool Followerwonk shared an interesting data point yesterday – one worthy of extra attention.
This is significant for a couple of reasons – first, Twitter undoubtedly has a bot problem, and has had for years.