Building Bots for Messenger – Tips from the Experts: TheScore

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theScore creates mobile-first sports experiences, connecting fans to what they love through an addictive combination of real-time news, scores, fantasy information and alerts. theScore is also dedicated to creating and curating content that is mobile optimized, comprehensive, customizable and seamlessly shareable.

theScore recently sat down with us to discuss their Messenger bot:

In 100 words or less describe what your bot does.

theScore for Messenger is the ultimate personal sports companion. A user can follow their favorite teams and get real-time scoring updates and breaking news. Users can also keep up-to-date with the latest scores and top news from across the world of sports. The bot currently supports teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, CFL, NCAAB, NCAAF, ICC, IPL and most major soccer leagues, including EPL and LIGA.

Who are you trying to reach?

theScore for Messenger is for all sports fans who want to stay on top of all the scores and news from their favorite teams. From the casual sports fan to the hardcore, theScore for Messenger provides a unique experience that delivers ongoing value to users through timely game and news updates.

How did you go about designing your bot?

Our initial design of theScore for Messenger was built on the premise that sports fans are very passionate about their favorite teams. From our experience building an industry leading mobile sports app with theScore for iOS and Android, it was very clear that this relationship drives ongoing engagement and is often so strong that a sports fan and the team they love are formative in defining a fan’s identity.

With this in mind, our goal was to design an experience around following teams that delivered long-term value to the user, while being considerate of the medium and understanding the personal nature of a chat interface. Understanding that some users want an update each time a goal is scored and others are only interested in knowing the final result, we allowed for the user to customize the experience and only receive messages for what they cared about.

This high level of customization combined with real-time scoring updates and breaking news—delivered in seconds from our newsroom—has resonated with users, driving great engagement and retention.

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

The biggest takeaway for us over the last few months is that getting your onboarding flow right is critical. With some early data from our users, it was very clear that the retention and engagement for those that follow a team was considerably higher than those that don’t. As a result, converting as many users to find and follow their team would be critical to our success. We took a very experimental approach with A/B tests to optimize the flow for follow conversion. As a result of those tests, we were able to improve our onboarding conversion by 60% and also learned that providing users with choices, either via quick replies or templates, dramatically improves conversion.

What are you going to build next?

Our vision at theScore is to deliver all the relevant and timely sports information and entertainment to sports fans – wherever and whenever they want. While we are very proud of what we have built so far, we think we can do more to deepen that relationship by delivering new types of content and new experiences that are unique to the Messenger Platform. If we can surprise and delight our users and put a smile on their face everyday, then we have accomplished our goals.

Why Messenger?

We built an experience for the Messenger Platform because it’s where meaningful conversations happen. With our deep understanding of the passion that sports fans have for their teams, we were compelled to build a personalized experience for those fans to be informed and entertained. Getting a scoring update, a trade rumour or the monster dunk highlight in a message just felt right.

This series highlights the successes of businesses and developers who use the Messenger Platform in unique and interesting ways.

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