The other major feature launch is the ability for brands to use News Feed ads on Facebook to drive users to Messenger via calls to action such as “send message,” “shop now” or “learn more.”
Other new features in Messenger Platform v1.2 include:
- The addition of more user interface elements to Messenger threads between brands and users.
- Users can now share individual messages from bots or links to the actual bots themselves via Messenger.
- The new welcome screen for pages and bots on Messenger provides more context for users.
- Quick replies were updated to include elements such as location sharing and icons.
- App-level analytics, including error and block rates, can now be downloaded in .CSV form via in-app settings.
- The same attachment can be reused on subsequent media sends, enabling brands to broadcast and slashing the send times for multimedia.
Facebook introduced Messenger Platform v1.2 in a Newsroom post Monday:
Since we launched Messenger Platform less than six months ago, millions of people in more than 200 countries have been engaging with businesses on Messenger each day in new and exciting ways—from better customer service, to more sophisticated brand and commerce experiences and receiving news from trusted sources.
Developers and businesses have built more than 30,000 bots for Messenger, we’ve on-boarded over 34,000 developers and we’ve just recently updated our Platform policy to improve engagement and retention for interactions between people and businesses on Messenger. It’s still early days, but we have had great feedback from the developer community about the success of many of the experiences they’ve launched. We believe the potential for the Messenger Platform is huge, and we continue to invest in making it better for developers to build and create.
Our belief in the potential for Messenger for businesses and developers is why we’re excited to also announce that we’re launching Messenger Platform v1.2, an incremental but significant update that offers more ways to drive engagement, build retention and facilitate meaningful relationships with people.
On the ability for brands to accept payments from users directly via Messenger—which is currently available only in the U.S., in beta form–the social network wrote:
Moving forward, we are also simplifying the payment and checkout experience in order to reduce the overall friction between wanting something and getting it. People can use their payment information already stored on Messenger and Facebook to check out faster in Messenger threads. You’ll see us rolling out a few new commerce and payments experiences, including:
We’re kicking off the beginning of messages with payments that will allow businesses to sell products and services directly to customers in Messenger. Customers can check out with a few easy clicks, without ever leaving the Messenger app. Merchants will be able to on-board with a simple self-serve onboarding flow. Developers can get more details here. Messages with payments—as well as payments through the enhanced Messenger mobile web view—will be available for some developers as a closed beta. Businesses and developers can apply to be included in this beta while we’re working to roll out this capability more broadly.
Product lead Mikhail Larionov provided more details in a post on the Messenger blog:
Today we’re also rolling out a new way for businesses to sell products and services in Messenger. Payments can now be integrated into messages, making it easy for customers to shop and purchase without leaving the app. Messages with payments utilize industry-leading controls, and financial information is protected with bank-level encryption. As of today, payments will be available for select developers in beta; businesses can apply through the Messenger developer webpage. We expect to roll out this capability more broadly by the end of the year.
The Newsroom post said of the inclusion of Messenger as a destination for News Feed ads:
Beyond the promise of the developer platform, we’re now actively building capabilities for brands and businesses to be discovered on Messenger. This month, we’ve begun to roll out Messenger as a destination for News Feed ads. When advertisers select Messenger as a destination for News Feed ads, they can use any call to action in their ad, such as “shop now” or “learn more,” to link to Messenger. All clicks on those News Feed ads will directly open up a Messenger thread.
All clicks on these News Feed ads will directly open up a Messenger thread with a copy of the ad or configurable structured message. Similar to existing Facebook ads, developers and businesses will have the option to select their target audiences and delivery times. More information can be found here. This new capability is rolling out over the next month.
The addition of more enhanced UI elements was addressed in the Newsroom post:
With this update, we’re giving developers and businesses the ability to bring more UI elements inside the threads they have with their customers and users, because while some interactions are better in a conversational format (like quick responses or intent capture), and some things are better suited for a permanent thread (like receipts, shipping notifications and flight updates), some experiences are truly better with a full-fledged UI. Developers can get more details here about this enhanced Messenger mobile web view experience here.
Larionov addressed the new welcome screen for pages and bots:
When people start a new thread with your bot in the Messenger app, they will now be greeted with a welcome screen to provide more information about the bot, including the category of the associated page, response time and capabilities provided on Messenger. This will help provide details about the bot experience. People can subsequently access page information within thread details. This feature will be available to all businesses on Messenger later this week. Businesses can customize their introductory text via page settings.
He also detailed Messenger’s new sharing capabilities:
We’re enabling seamless sharing of bots and messages from bots to friends on Messenger. People can share any message with friends using the standard Messenger share button next to the message. People can also share bots with their friends using a share option in thread details of the bot thread. All shared messages will include the bot icon, name and call to action that allows people to start a thread with the associated bot. This feature will help you reach the 1 billion-plus people on Messenger today.
Facebook vice president of messaging products David Marcus said at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco Monday that Facebook is working with “all of the major players in the payments sector,” including Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Marcus said later during the TechCrunch Disrupt event that 300 million of Messenger’s 1 billion-plus monthly active users are using its voice calling and video calling features on a monthly basis, with Josh Constine of TechCrunch pointing out that the 300 million figure is roughly equivalent to the entire user base of Skype.
Readers: What are your early thoughts on the new features in Messenger Platform v1.2?