Back to News for Developers

Introducing Messenger Platform v1.3 and New Ways to Drive the Conversation

November 8, 2016ByMikhail Larionov

Today, we're announcing new features and improvements to the Messenger Platform that developers have been asking for. Designed to provide visibility into optimal entry points, enhance existing conversations, and enable you to build better overall experiences, Messenger Platform v1.3 will give you more opportunities to effectively reach and engage over 1 billion people who use Messenger every month.

New features and updates include:

Improve Your Bot's Success: Parameter Passing For Links

Developers have been telling us that they need better ways to understand where people are coming from when they choose to engage with bots. With the introduction of referral parameters for links, you can now easily identify how someone found you in Messenger. This will also allow you to more effectively measure traffic attribution for bots and help you determine the best entry point to your Messenger experience. Another great use case the parameter enables is creating dedicated entry points to specific features or flows within a bot. You can now easily implement a coupon program, enhance/track virality with a referral program, and much more. Learn more here.

Enhance the Conversation: New List Template and Checkbox Plugin

Now you have another way to build a structured information hierarchy into your messages. An alternate to our existing carousel configuration, this vertical template gives you flexibility around formatting: each row is tappable and a CTA can be added to the bottom of the template, or to each individual row. The template works well when you want to show people a collection of items in an 'at-a-glance' configuration so they understand their options in just one screen. More information here.

Another way we're making it easier to communicate with the people who care about your business is by giving them the opportunity to opt in or out of Messenger interactions during an existing user experience - such as in a checkout flow, sign-up form, or contact form on the business' webpage. Developers can now add a checkbox plugin to easily allow customers to opt into a Messenger conversation with your business. If the customer is not signed into Facebook or the displayed identity is not the correct customer, they will be asked to sign in with Facebook and can subsequently opt into receiving messages messages from the business. The plugin can be configured to allow either an opt-in or opt-out experience. Learn more here.

Drive The Conversation: News Feed Ads That Open Conversations and Re-engage in Messenger

All advertisers on Facebook now have the ability to reach people in News Feed and direct them to Messenger. This is an ad destination we began testing a few months ago and we are happy to announce that this is now available to all Facebook advertisers. Early adopters have used these News Feed ads to open conversations in Messenger in order to raise awareness of their brand campaigns and increase sales. For example, Absolut recently launched a Messenger bot to drive product samples and used News Feed ads to increase traffic to this experience.

"Using News Feed ads to open conversations in Messenger allows Absolut to move beyond the call to action – it’s a call to conversation, which ultimately leads to a conversion. It’s a novel way to use Facebook ads to drive consumers from content to commerce. So far, our activation rate has exceeded execution benchmarks by 2x and we’re looking forward to continued increases in activations driven by News Feed ads over the key holiday period” *– Joao Rozario, VP Marketing, Absolut Vodka

See here for more information on how to create an ad that opens conversations in Messenger.

But driving people to Messenger isn't enough. How can businesses continue to engage and excite people to keep coming back? This is where sponsored messages can play a role. Launched as a test in April 2016, a sponsored message is a highly targeted, in-context ad type that allows businesses to re-engage people who have an open, existing conversation with their business. Sponsored messages give businesses the ability to send targeted updates, information about promotions, reminders and other relevant messages. The value that people get from 1:1 conversations with the businesses they care about is extended by this ability to consistently engage through customized experiences.

Sponsored messages are now available to businesses and developers who have an experience built on our Send/Receive API. Sponsored messages can only be sent to people who you have an open, existing conversation with. These ads can be created through Power Editor or the Marketing API and will be charged on an impression basis. Learn more about setting up campaigns here.

An Update on Messages with Payments Beta Program [US Only]

We are introducing a payments update that will allow businesses who are not integrated with Stripe/Paypal to process payments within both messages and webview. When a user makes a payment, Facebook will send the business single-use, tokenized credentials, which will allow them to integrate with their preferred payment provider. It also allows developers who manage multiple bots to integrate payments without requiring additional setup for each bot that they manage. This feature continues to roll out in a closed beta. More information here.

We are also introducing the ability for businesses and developers to test their payment integration before submitting an application for the beta program. This enables businesses who have completed the payments integration to ensure proper setup of their payments experience prior to launch. Finally, in addition to iOS and Android, the 'Buy' CTA button is now supported on desktop web, allowing customers who are interacting with your Messenger experience to checkout via desktop. More information regarding payments can be found here.

Building the Best Experience: Additional Incremental Features and Improvements in v1.3

  • Bot visibility for page admins: Page admins can now track the bots that are tied to their page, even if they were added by other page admins. You can find this information in 'Messaging' within 'Page Settings'.
  • Deprecating seq id as the result of a new backend change for scalability and stability. Developers who previously relied on using seq ID for deduping can use mid instead, and those who were using it for ordering purposes can use timestamp instead.

Full changelog for this update and documentation for the Messenger Platform.