Facebook opens analytics and support program to bot developers
Mon 14 Nov 2016
Facebook has opened up its free analytics tools and software developer program FbStart to bot-makers working on the social network’s Messenger bots.
The new offerings, outlined in a blog post by Facebook Analytics software engineer Sridharan Ramanathan, hope to provide the opportunity for Messenger bot developers to build and track the performance of their new bots, ads, and apps.
Detailed information will include the reach of the widgets across mobile and desktop devices, as well as tracking data on user journeys between apps and websites. The bot analytics tools can be accessed via the Facebook Analytics for Apps dashboard.
Bot developers will also be able to look up reports on sent and received messages and anyone who has blocked or unblocked their app. In addition, they will get access to anonymised data on chat bot demographics, including user information such as age, gender, education level, relationship status, retail spending, interests, country, and language.
Launched in 2014, Facebook’s global developer program FbStart already counts around 9,000 members. The initiative feeds back performance information, provides advice from Facebook staff, and offers Facebook ad credits and up to $80,000 in free services from partners such as Amazon, Salesforce and Dropbox. Facebook has now announced that early stage mobile startups and developers working on Messenger bots are eligible to apply to the platform.
From January 2016, Facebook began secretly sharing its Chat Software Development Kit (SDK) with third-party developers interested in creating virtual chat bots across its Messenger app. The official beta rollout was announced at the social media giant’s F8 software conference in April – since when the platform has spurred the creation of over 34,000 Messenger bots.
At the event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to invest heavily in chat bots and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems in support of improving user experience for messaging, scheduling and online transactions, among many other applications.