Facebook’s Newest Bot: Messenger Bots

What exactly is a Facebook Messenger Bot? At its most basic level, chat bots provide a means for online organizations to automate numerous low-level customer support functions. Rather than waiting on hold for hours to talk to an authorized service agent, users can chat with a bot to perform basic inquiry-type functions, or to fill the various stages of an RMA request. In short, the bot serves as a personal "personal assistant", answering a wide range of business questions and performing administrative functions that can free up agents for more important tasks. However, before a chat bot can answer these basic questions, it must understand how businesses interact with their clients, and how these clients might be willing to provide information to the bot in return for a fee.

Facebook Messenger Bot was one of the first applications built using the Facebook platform. The bot, originally called Facebook Online Native Bot, was a Facebook fork developed to be able to run on the Facebook mobile platform rather than on the desktop, where it would have been worthless.

Since its launch, there have been a number of Facebook Messenger Bot applications that have been released.

One such bot is Aion. Aion has received widespread attention due to the way it has simplified the manner in which Facebook can work to enhance customer service. Like many of the Facebook Messenger Bot applications, Aion has a single button that performs a variety of functions. When this button is pressed, the bot sends a message to a user's wall, announcing something such as a new message or update, or changing the subject. Furthermore, the bot provides a shortened link to the original website, making it possible for a user to go directly to the relevant site instead of having to go through a long series of pages.

Some other Facebook Messenger Bot applications have also been released. One of these is Conversor, which offers high-quality translation and language translation services. Another is Roboform, which is yet another bot specifically meant for messaging purposes. In addition, there is localizationBot, which can automatically detect and translate messages from English to Spanish, French to German, Chinese to Japanese, or any other language. localizationBot has been particularly popular on the Facebook Instant Messenger platform since many of the default phrases in Facebook messaging are in different languages. Roboform, on the other hand, was previously used in Facebook Mail to create a feature wherein messages would be automatically styled based on the language they were sent in.

In addition to these more well-known examples of bot usage, there have also been a handful of examples where bot developers have created programs with significantly lower click-through rates but significantly higher conversions. In these cases, the programs were intentionally designed as tools to boost the revenue of online merchants and sites. However, it should be noted that a lower click-through rate does not necessarily equate to a better conversion rate. For instance, a bot that creates an immediate discussion on eBay might convert just as well as a chatbot that opens a link in a conversation to act as a sales representative.

So, if bot developers are to be believed, and we feel that these developers are, there is still much room for improvement. The truth is that Facebook chatbot developers have yet to reach their full potential, and although Facebook is making strides in improving user experience and reducing bounce rates, the final goal remains unclear. Facebook's chatbot is still only capable of opening and closing conversations and has only text-to-speech conversion capabilities. Its ability to deliver personalized content is limited at best. Although these are rudimentary capabilities, the overall impression of the Facebook chatbot is still largely negative due to poor brand awareness, low response rates, and low click-through rates.

This leads us to the second problem, users are largely unaware of Facebook chat Bots, and have no qualms about banning them from the social network. The solution to this problem, unfortunately, is rather complicated, as the first and most obvious solution is to have Facebook open the hands-off option to its bot builder community. Facebook could make a simple decision to permit bot builders to work as they wish, without monitoring or tracking their performance. However, Facebook is doing this for a competing social media company, they need to stay competitive! If Facebook allows chat bots to work without monitoring their activity or tracking, then it will likely adopt a hands-off approach to communication within its bot builder community.

This may be the only way Facebook will be able to fully utilize its upcoming messaging platform, which is expected to continue to expand into many new areas, including games, ads, and even possibly partner integrations. Facebook messaging may ultimately prove to be the Facebook Bot that can truly integrate with its bot-building community, and allow users to share information with each other. Until then, Facebook Messenger Bots will, like all messaging apps, remain largely invisible.