Facebook wants bots to get better. Developers have so far taken significant advantage of the Messenger Platform, which Facebook launched back in April. Businesses and app writers have created some 33,000 bots that function within Facebook's Messenger application, helping people check the weather, book hotels, make payments, ask for receipts, and much more. Moving forward, developers will have access to even more tools to help improve their bots. Facebook is adding bots to its Facebook Analytics for Apps tool, and allowing bot developers to join its FbStart program.
Facebook's Analytics for Apps lets developers bridge mobile and desktop devices so businesses can gauge how people are using their apps and websites. Until today, it was limited to standard mobile apps and browser-based sites; moving forward, Facebook's analytics support will help businesses improve their bots, too.
"With this new free tool, you'll be able to view reports on messages sent, messages received, and people who block or unblock your app -- without having to add additional code," explained Facebook's Sridharan Ramanathan in a blog post. "In addition, you'll have access to aggregated and anonymized demographic reports such as age, gender, education, interests, country, language, and much more to help you better understand who's engaging with your bots. For bots associated with multiple Pages, you'll be able to filter results at the page-level to view analytics for a specific Page."
The App Events API will, in particular, help businesses using the Messenger Platform create custom events for Analytics for Apps. The key is that the App Events API does this all automatically, rather than manually. This will give businesses more insight about how people use bots and whether or not their engagements with those bots are successful. Facebook cites several examples, such as travel apps seeing how often people transfer from a bot to a human agent or how often a news publisher gets clicks on links back to the main site.
In other good news, bot developers can now take advantage of FbStart. FbStart is, of couse, Facebook's global program meant to help start-up developers get through the eary stages of app creation. Bot developers can apply for FbStart here. If accepted, bot developers will have access to all FbStart's benefits, such as add credits and other free tools/services from premiere partners like Amazon, Dropbox, and Stripe.
Developers can get started with Facebook's Analytics for Apps here. Simply add your bot and start tracking.