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03/09/2019 Luke Goldsworthy

What is the Best Messaging App for your Chatbot? Part 1

If you’ve read our previous article on chatbots, you’ll have realised the impact that these nifty pieces of software can have on your marketing efforts. However, now you’re probably asking yourself, “What messaging platform should my chatbot be on?”. Depending on your geographic location, audience, and product or service, the right platform for you might be anything from Facebook Messenger to Kik. 

According to data from Statista, as of April 2019, the most popular messaging apps worldwide are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

Although these big three boast huge audiences, there are still plenty of other platforms that are worth considering. Read on to find out which platform is right for you.

Facebook Messenger chatbot

Facebook currently has 1.3 billion users on Messenger and over 100,000 monthly active bots. Every day, these bots are collecting data, recommending products, taking orders, providing directions, and providing support to users. In addition to text messages, the bots can communicate with users using:

  • Images
  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Other files
  • Quick reply buttons
  • Lists
  • Carousels
  • Buttons
  • Purchase receipts
  • Airline booking-related templates 
  • Navigation menus 

Users can respond using text, emojis, GIFs, images, audio, video, and more, as well as pulling the chatbots into group chats. Pretty cool, right? 

As for implementing it, Facebook Messenger has a diverse range of tools and features that can turn even a novice into an experienced bot developer. Granular analytics also provide insights about your bot’s performance.

If your audience is based in Australia, the US or Canada, Facebook Messenger is a must as it’s the top messaging app in these two countries.

WhatsApp chatbot

WhatsApp is, by far, the world’s most popular messaging app with 1.6 billion monthly users and 60 billion messages sent every day. So, what makes WhatsApp different from Facebook Messenger? The main differentiator is that it’s hugely popular in developing nations, as well as being the top app in Central and South America, parts of Asia, Europe and Africa.

WhatsApp’s functions aren’t as advanced as Messenger’s and currently only larger businesses can use the WhatsApp Business API (you need to apply to Whatsapp for access). If you do manage to gain approval, you’ll have access to a range of tools including message templates, and various integrations with APIs for bookings, transactions and purchases. Smaller businesses are limited to using the WhatsApp Business app, but this isn’t really a chatbot platform and more a series of automated messages.

WeChat chatbot

If you want to break into the Chinese market, then you’ll need to get on WeChat pronto. Unlike WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, and other platforms that are censored or banned in China, WeChat is actually subsidised by the Chinese government.

In China, WeChat is more than just a chat platform though. Users can do almost anything including messaging, calls, share photos and updates, read articles, check updates and rankings of mobile games, transfer money, pay credit cards and bills, get food delivered, book appointments, apply for travel visas… you get the idea. 

When it comes to developing your chatbot, the WeChat Open Platform has documents translated into English, as well as software development kits for apps, websites and more. And, although most of the current bots on WeChat are quite basic, the platform does support various machine intelligence APIs for things like natural language processing and image recognition.

Want to find out about other platforms like Viber, Slack and Kik? Stay tuned for the next article in this series where we look at some smaller (but equally popular) messaging platforms. Can’t wait? Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about your chatbot needs.