Building Bots for Messenger – Tips from the Experts: TechCrunch

We’re kicking off a series highlighting some of the top experiences on the Messenger platform. These businesses and developers have approached Messenger in a unique and interesting way, and are seeing success during the early stages of the Messenger platform. Next up is TechCrunch, a site dedicated to news on technology and startups.


In 100 words or less describe what your bot does.

The TechCrunch Messenger bot helps you stay on top of the stories you care about from You can subscribe to different topics, companies, authors or sections of the site, and the bot will send you news articles from our site about the things you are interested in the most. The bot will send you updates once a day, and it can be personalized based on your preferences.

Who are you trying to reach?

We are trying to reach readers that care about startups, venture capital, and the business of technology.

What’s the killer feature/interaction?

The killer feature of our bot is its personalization that’s enabled right from the start. If there are certain types of articles that you read more frequently on, we’ll use this data to serve up recommendations from within the bot. If you aren’t a regular reader, it defaults to the most popular stories.

How did you go about designing your bot?

When we teamed up with Chatfuel to design the bot, I told them to build something that they, as loyal TechCrunch readers, would use on a daily basis. I’m a huge fan of newsletters, and I always thought of the bot as a replacement to an automated newsletter. The end result was something similar to a newsletter, but much more useful and personalized.

What have you learned since launching? Any surprises or successes you want to share?

Since launching, we’ve seen tremendous growth in active user sessions. Without sharing too much data, I can say that within a few months I expect it to rival the current monthly session numbers we’re getting from our TechCrunch app.

If you knew one thing when you started, what would you say that would be?

The most important lesson I’ve learned since launch is to listen to user feedback. I was surprised at how open users were to offering up improvements and feature requests. I wish I had this user feedback before we started.

What will you build next?

Next we’re looking into adding more functionality into the bot. We’ve had a few users ask for built in search of CrunchBase’s startup database. There’s also an opportunity to team up with our events team to have the bot answer questions for users attending our Disrupt conferences. I can’t share everything, but our bot is only going to continue to get better.

Why Messenger?

Messenger benefits from the massive reach of Facebook and a commitment to its developer community. We launched on Telegram before launching on Messenger, and Messenger is putting up much larger audience numbers. I think that’s a sign of Facebook’s scale and willingness to work with developers around the world that have great ideas.


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