Facebook’s Messenger bots tap analytic smarts
FACEBOOK has begun letting interactive “bots” inside its Messenger service tap into analytic capabilities once reserved for the social network, ramping up the potential to earn money from e-commerce.
The move comes as Facebook is under pressure to profit from services such as Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, having recently told investors it is hitting a limit on the number of ads it can pack into the online social network.
Facebook last week rolled out news feed ads that open into Messenger exchanges, and began letting businesses send “sponsored messages” to users who have interacted with them before.
“Driving people to a Messenger conversation isn’t enough,” Facebook vice president of messaging products David Marcus said. “This is where sponsored messages come in.”
Facebook shares took a hit early this month after the huge social network delivered a blockbuster earnings report but warned that its stunning growth pace was set to slow.
Although the California group reported a surge in profit and revenue, it said it was unlikely to sustain that kind of growth in the near future.
Facebook executives on an earnings call said the social network can no longer keep boosting the number of ads delivered without harming the user experience.
Since they were first announced at Facebook’s annual developer conference in April, more than 30,000 chatbots have been built with artificial intelligence to act as virtual agents for businesses in text exchanges with customers.
The bots can answer questions, offer goods and services, send receipts or confirm reservations.
Data gathered and provided by the social network would include how often people are transferred to humans at businesses or click through to websites to make purchases.
Analytics tools can also provide demographic insights on users based on what people share publicly at the leading social network.
“These bots are providing new ways for businesses to interact with their customers,” Facebook product manager Josh Twist told AFP.
Analytics may reveal reasons people add items to virtual carts but don’t complete purchases, or which marketing approaches work better with women or men.
The company also announced it will begin accepting developers of bots for Messenger into a Facebooksponsored program that provides free tools, services and other resources to those who qualify. –