Facebook will now allow people with Messenger bots to track them and get detailed information about their bot’s performance and its users, the company said today.
The move makes Facebook one of the first major chat app platforms to provide analytics for its bot makers. More than 34,000 developers have made Messenger bots since the platform launched in April.
In combination with News Feed ads for bots that were made available last week, companies, startups, and everyone else making bots can now track and target fans based on metrics like age, gender, education, interests, country, and language.
Analytics for bots can be tracked with the Facebook Analytics for Apps dashboard.
The new bots dashboard will show things like number of messages sent and received, number of blocked messages, and the number of people who engage with a bot but are later transferred to a human agent.
Analytics for Apps helps creators make decisions about product market fit and how to tailor products for users, said product manager Josh Twist.
“We have this belief at Facebook that if you want to grow, it’s not just about acquiring users, it’s about retaining them, about keeping them engaged, about building a better consumer product,” Twist said.
To convert chats into customers, the app dashboard provides the same metrics Facebook uses to measure its own success, he said.
“We believe the right way to hypothesize around those things is two-fold: one is understanding your customer’s behavior, understanding what they do, [but then] experiment based on that, look for insights, drive your ability to create hypotheses, and then test by changing something in your application and measuring to see how you achieve that.”
The ability to include website metrics in Analytics for Apps was added in September, so now the dashboard can combine data across apps, websites, and bots.
“Businesses that have bots as well as apps and websites can build cross-platform funnels to understand whether interaction with their bot results in increased engagement with their other platforms — or, in other words, do bots help drive customer loyalty” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.
Facebook also announced today that promising early-stage companies that create bots can now apply to become part of the FbStart program.
The FbStart program offers 1:1 support from Facebook staff and up to $80,000 in free services from partners like Zendesk, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services.