All digital marketers know that even the best tools in the world require analytics. That's why it's especially welcome news that Facebook is rolling out a new Facebook Analytics feature that will track key metrics about Messenger bots.

Even better news: the app will track much more than bot-specific interactions. It will also cross-reference those metrics with Facebook profile data so strategists can improve user experience.

The Messenger Bot Scene

Facebook Messenger bots debuted in April of 2016. Since then, developers have created more than 34,000 of them.

What do Messenger bots do? They automate interaction between brands and people in their target market. Bots can handle anything from simple push notifications about the day's top headlines to complex order processing.

Obviously, as businesses use Messenger bots more and more, online marketers want to know how effective they are at creating engagement, fulfilling customer service responsibilities, and ultimately contributing to the bottom line.

That's why an analytics tool is so valuable.

Not Much of a Learning Curve

The good news about the Messenger bot analytics tool is that it's part of Facebook Analytics for Apps. Marketers who are accustomed to using the Facebook analytics platform will find it easy to use.

Even better: the tool is available for free.

Bot developers will use the tool to specify which types of events they want to track. They can decide to collect analytics for specific messages, message categories, or types of messages.

Once the results have come in, developers can check on key metrics, such as the click-through rate (CTR) for messages with a specific call to action.

Integration and Segmentation

The analytics tool does much more than give developers the ability to do some testing on call to action verbiage. It also cross-references response bot analytics with Facebook user data to determine how well a message performs with specific audiences. Marketers can use that information to tailor-fit their messages to people based on demographics and interests.

As an example, a Messenger bot developer might check to see how many people decided to stop receiving push notifications, then segment that group with data from their Facebook profiles. The data might reveal that people of a specific age group, income bracket, relationship status, and/or purchase behavior bailed on the bot.

That information can be used to fine-tune the bot to deliver a better experience and prevent drop-offs in the future.

Josh Twist is the Facebook Analytics for Apps product manager. He laid out another scenario where developers can use the new tool.

"If your bot has a purchase stage, you can send a purchase event, send over the value [of the purchase], and then one of the cool things you can do is segment based on behavior. So you can segment the people who made a purchase or the top 10 percent of people who made a purchase by count or value. And then you can use that segment to look at the demographics and really try to understand what is it about these people that makes them more likely to convert," he said.

Users concerned about privacy should understand that there's no overreach with bot analytics. Facebook is anonymizing and aggregating the cross-referenced data so that developers won't see information like the income bracket of specific users.

Facebook Self-Interest

Facebook isn't a charity. The company is offering the new tool for free because, in the end, Facebook will also have better analytics to serve its user community.

Beyond that, Facebook will use the data as a feed into its algorithm to determine which ads to show to specific users.

According to Twist, "within a matter of weeks," Facebook expects Messenger bot developers to use the new tool to create audiences that the company can target with ads across its online properties, including Facebook, Instagram, and its Audience Network ad network.

A Trio of Tools

In addition to the aforementioned benefits about using the new tool to cross-reference data from Facebook users, there are other integration options available as well.

According to Twist, the analytics service can be linked to Facebook's web analytics and mobile app tools, giving marketers a high level of understanding about how users are interacting across all three platforms.

"We can actually tell, in more cases than any other platform, if two devices are actually one user," Twist said. "If you have a person on a mobile app and you've not asked them to log in and you don't know anything about their identity other than the device that they're on, there's a chance that Facebook can identify that person and therefore give you more accurate user counts, more accurate funnel flows as you think about pulling these properties together."

That kind of fine-grained detail is a social media marketer's dream.

"We want to roll all of these things together so you can understand the complete customer journey," Twist said.

Let the journey begin.

Published on: Nov 16, 2016