Facebook has recently announced new updates on Messenger, the changes affect not only the application itself but also the algorithm that developers are primarily concerned with creating their chatbots on the platform. Facebook has launched these recent changes as new ways for users to discover, share and engage with the community.
What does this mean for Chatbots? Let’s take a look at the important updates and what they do:
- A complete redefinition of the already existing menu
- New tools that it easier for users to share a Chatbot
- Improvement in purchasing conversions
- Better statistical data
- New methods to improve e-commerce solutions
Changes to the menu have caused many debates in the developer community, especially the new feature that allows the developer to disable free data by typing and limiting user-bot interactions via menus or buttons.This raises a known problem that developers and users have experienced in the past:
One of the primary drawbacks to Facebook bots is the fact that there are often misunderstandings on how to start the conversation. The chat directory on Messenger was not available before and now it only turns out once you have started the conversation in the application. And once it has been added it’s not always very clear to understand how the bot starts to talk and how the user can navigate back and forth inside the bot and sections.
The new feature update is on the same page as the standard “start” button but now allow developers to solve this problem and create a simple messenger experience without any conversational potential. Which brings us to a big question: Can we still call it a chatbot if we can not have a conversation?
The primary reason behind this issue is the behaviour of brands. Brands have been trying to sell products or build brands targeting the generation of “chatters” or “Millennials” and they have tried to create chatbots more and more intelligent in order to keep the conversation flowing with users. The result is a remoteness from the very idea as these brands continue to see Messenger merely as a primary means of reaching their consumers and not as a means of engaging with them in a relevant way.
However, there is no single opinion on the development of chatbots and the reactions to Facebook’s announcement have been mixed between the “it’s great” and the “that ruins the whole concept”.
This depends on what type of bots the business wants to develop. If you want to create something with a transnational nature that should support an easy and fast navigation and serve consumers in a tactical manner, then the new menus will be very useful to turn off unnecessary text and help set up a good experience for the user. On the other hand, if your bot has to handle complex situations and it is difficult for the bot to cope with a given situation, then it may be worthwhile to mix traditional conversation features with additional menus and buttons.
The new menu proposed by Facebook Messenger can be found here.
Bot developers have always been interested in the question of how to manage an interaction model that would function as an intermediary for consumers. While initially the expectations were to go to a natural language and have a simple interaction, it is now time to combine different elements in the same interface of a native messaging application, such as carousels, Graphics and buttons combined with text. This will become the most effective way to use chatbots.
In conclusion, the main goal is to provide billions of Facebook Messenger users with solutions they already enjoy with a well-designed chatbot that provides an effecient conversational experience.