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Facebook Messenger is launching appointment booking for the Messenger bot platform today. The feature will be available for Messenger’s 300,000 bots and could help spur bot adoption among the 40 million businesses currently using Messenger to speak with customers.
Appointment booking is now available in invite-only beta and will be made more widely available later this year. The news was announced at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference today in San Jose, California.
Bots that make appointments can be reached directly in Messenger or in conversations that begin with a Facebook News Feed ad, Messenger home page ad, or via web chat plugin on an organization’s website.
From there prospective customers can book a time to visit a business or schedule appointments for things like volunteering, consultation, or other purposes.
A lead-generation campaign template is also coming to Messenger bots for advertisers in the months ahead. The lead-generation template will be directly available in Facebook’s Ads Manager console.
Earlier today, Facebook announced group chat and video call video-watching parties, the launch of a Messenger desktop app, and continued plans to reduce the size of the Messenger mobile app.
“This means that some features may now be too large to fit our goal size, so we will be focusing our efforts on the most beloved features that Messenger has to offer,” the company said in a blog post today.
Though Facebook’s focused on reducing the size of Messenger — now the second all-time most downloaded app ever behind Facebook — the company recently added some new, simple additions like message threads in March and dark mode in April.
Since the launch of the Messenger Platform in 2016, a number of improvements have been made including built-in natural language processing powered by Wit.ai, and handover protocol to relay messages from automated bots to humans.
In September 2017, Facebook announced Messenger has 1.3 billion monthly active users.