The First App That Got Fully Replaced By A Bot #BuchWeekly

🐳 => 🐳

And there’s plenty of them to follow…

But first of all: I don’t believe in Chatbots. At least not as an AI solution that replaces most websites and apps out there.

However, this article is not about that.

Matt Schlicht called chatbots “lightweight apps integrated into messenger” which is an explanation that I fully agreed with.

Until last week.

Our Dev team at 🐳Swell managed to copy our native iOS app with all it’s features into a chatbot within Facebook Messenger.

So today we officially launched 🐳Swelly 3.0 ( a full functional App integrated in Facebook Messenger.

Thanks to webviews ( HTML5 windows) it’s no longer just light-weight apps integrated in Messenger, but it gives developers a fantastic playground for creative ways to rebuild fully functional iOS and Android Apps within the Facebook Messenger.

Sounds 🐳Swell? Well, it is.

Now let me explain what 🐳Swell is and what it does before going into the process of making it a Messenger-App.


I think Alex can do better:

So 🐳Swell is the fastest way to get your friends opinion in order to make great decisions.

Think of it as an Instagram for A/B questions. So you simply post 2 photos, add a caption and share it with the 🐳Swell community. Within 30 seconds you get the first votes and that’s really the key of a successful user experience at 🐳Swell.

Besides sharing your own 🐳Swells you can browse through categories including Fashion, Tech, Sports & many more and help other people by sharing your opinion while exploring great content by more than 2 million users.

So let’s get to the exciting part.

Here’s the direct comparison of our native app on iOS versus the chatbot on Facebook Messenger. It’s always the App on the left and the bot to your right!

Voting Feed: Vote on your friends questions or continue within the feed:

The Voting Feed within the iOS App VS the chatbot on FB Messenger

creating a 🐳Swell (2 Photos + an A/B question)

Create a 🐳Swell within the iOS App VS within the Messenger chatbot

Share a 🐳Swell with friends, the community or experts

Share a 🐳Swell Within the iOS App VS within the chatbot on FB Messenger

Now that was relatively simple, but it required some compromises on style and design. We thought of using webviews to create a full screen voting experience and show the pics as good as possible. The problem here is, that we would lose the chat history which the users like a lot and also it helps us to collect data.

So let’s jump into the more complex stuff that need a lot of though before we could integrate all the features within the chatbot:

Follow a user

The “follow” function is key to create a Social Network. It’s pretty obvious why and how to do it within a native app, but not so easy within Messenger. Here’s how it looks like within 🐳Swell VS 🐳Swelly:

On the bottom right there’s a little follow button.
Tab “Follow User” while in the voting feed and the “Follow Window” pops up

My User Profile

My user profile within the native app VS within the chatbot for FB Messenger

other users profiles

other users profiles on iOS VS FB Messenger

The most important part to assure fast votes is our Notifications and Messaging's Setting.

We notify you when a friend needs help. So when a friend creates a 🐳Swell you get a push notification within the App or a message by the 🐳Swelly bot saying “User XY needs your help on #whattowear”

Almost 40% of our users come organic through friends who either invite others or share a 🐳Swell with a friend who doesn’t use the App or Chatbot yet.

The private sharing works way better within the chatbot, as we send a direct message via the users account to his friend.

To boost your reach within 🐳Swell you can get Featured & Trending. Featured is hand picked meaning a team member decides and if there’s great content we might feature it.

Trending is algorithmic meaning when a lot of people vote and the percentage of skips is very low it get’s trending.

Of course you also get a notification.

Now, will we kill our app?

Well time and KPIs will tell…

I hope this article helps. Since today is our launch day of 🐳Swelly 3.0 with the full functionality including the Social Features I will post another blog article about how it affected our growth and retention in about a month.

Have a 🐳Swell day,


We just hit 2 Million Users!