In 2016, major brands experimented with chatbot automation in an effort to drive efficiency from a customer service perspective. Twitter and Facebook supported this by releasing major updates. Facebook launched its API in April, which enabled brands to engage their 1 billion-strong monthly unique users on Messenger. Twitter followed suit by launching its Direct Messaging bot in the third quarter. And other messaging apps like Kik and Telegram launched their own bot stores. Facebook reported that 34 000 chatbots were created on the platform in 2016. This year, savvy brands will start mining rich data in order to automate other key business functions, such as personalized recommendations, relationship-building, and lead-generation.