Proactive messaging for bots


This article is based on the v3 Bot Framework SDK. If you are looking for current documentation version 4.6 or later of the SDK, see the conversational bots section.

A proactive message is a message that is sent by a bot to start a conversation. You may want your bot to start a conversation for a number of reasons, including:

  • Welcome messages for personal bot conversations.
  • Poll responses.
  • External event notifications.

Sending a message to start a new conversation thread is different than sending a message in response to an existing conversation. When your bot starts a new conversation, there's no preexisting conversation to post the message to. To send a proactive message, you need to:

  1. Decide what you're going to say
  2. Obtain the user's unique ID and tenant ID
  3. Send the message

When creating proactive messages you must call MicrosoftAppCredentials.TrustServiceUrl, and pass in the service URL before creating the ConnectorClient used to send the message. If you don't, a 401: Unauthorized response is received by your app. For more information, see the samples below.

Best practices for proactive messaging

Sending proactive messages is an effective way to communicate with your users. However, from the user's perspective, the message appears unprompted. If there's a welcome message, it will be the first time that they’ve interacted with your app. It's important to use this functionality and provide the complete information to the user to understand the purpose of this message.

Proactive messages generally fall into one of two categories, welcome messages or notifications.

Welcome messages

When using proactive messaging to send a welcome message to a user, ensure that from the user's perspective, the message appears unprompted. If there's a welcome message, it will be the first time that they’ve interacted with your app. The best welcome messages will include:

  • Why they are receiving this message: It should be clear to the user why they're receiving this message. If your bot was installed in a channel and you sent a welcome message to all users, let them know what channel it was installed in and potentially who installed it.
  • What do you offer: What can they do with your app? What value can you bring to them?
  • What should they do next: Invite them to try out a command, or interact with your app in some way.

Notification messages

When using proactive messaging to send notifications you need to make sure your users have a clear path to take common actions based on your notification, and a clear understanding of why the notification occurred. Good notification messages will generally include:

  • What happened: A clear indication of what happened to cause the notification.
  • What it happened to: It should be clear what item/thing was updated to cause the notification.
  • Who did it: Who took the action that caused the notification to be sent?
  • What they can do about it: Make it easy for your users to take actions based on your notifications.
  • How they can opt out: Provide a path for users to opt out of additional notifications.

Obtain necessary user information

Bots can create new conversations with an individual Microsoft Teams user by obtaining the user's unique ID and tenant ID. You can obtain these values using one of the following methods:

Proactively install your app using Graph


Proactively installing apps using graph is currently in beta.

Occasionally it may be necessary to proactively message users that haven't installed or interacted with your app previously. For example, you want to use the company communicator to send messages to your entire organization. For this scenario, you can use the Graph API to proactively install your app for your users, then cache the necessary values from the conversationUpdate event your app will receive upon install.

You can only install apps that are in your organizational app catalogue, or the Teams app store.

See Install apps for users in the Graph documentation for complete details. There's also a sample in .NET.


Be sure that you authenticate and have a bearer token before creating a new conversation using the REST API.

POST {Service URL of your bot}/v3/conversations

  "bot": {
    "id": "c38eda0f-e780-49ae-86f0-afb644203cf8",
    "name": "The Bot"
  "members": [
      "id": "29:012d20j1cjo20211"
  "channelData": {
    "tenant": {
      "id": "197231joe-1209j01821-012kdjoj"

Provide id as your bot app ID and name as your bot name. You can get the members id from your bots TurnContext object such as turnContext.Activity.From.Id. Similarly, id of tenant, from your bots TurnContext object such as turnContext.Activity.ChannelData.Tenant.Id.

You must supply the user ID and the tenant ID. If the call succeeds, the API returns with the following response object.



This ID is the personal chat's unique conversation ID. Store this value and reuse it for future interactions with the user.

Using .NET

This example uses the Microsoft.Bot.Connector.Teams NuGet package.

// Create or get existing chat conversation with user
var response = client.Conversations.CreateOrGetDirectConversation(activity.Recipient, activity.From, activity.GetTenantId());

// Construct the message to post to conversation
Activity newActivity = new Activity()
    Text = "Hello",
    Type = ActivityTypes.Message,
    Conversation = new ConversationAccount
        Id = response.Id

// Post the message to chat conversation with user
await client.Conversations.SendToConversationAsync(newActivity, response.Id);

Using Node.js

var address =
    channelId: 'msteams',
    user: { id: userId },
    channelData: {
        tenant: {
            id: tenantId
        id: appId,
        name: appName
    serviceUrl: session.message.address.serviceUrl,
    useAuth: true

var msg = new builder.Message().address(address);
msg.text('Hello, this is a notification');

Creating a channel conversation

Your team-added bot can post into a channel to create a new reply chain. If you're using the Node.js Teams SDK, use startReplyChain(), which gives you a fully populated address with the correct activity ID and conversation ID. If you're using C#, see the example below.

Alternatively, you can use the REST API and issue a POST request to /conversations resource.

Examples for creating a channel conversation

The .NET example is from this sample

using Microsoft.Bot.Builder.Dialogs;
using Microsoft.Bot.Connector;
using Microsoft.Bot.Connector.Teams.Models;
using Microsoft.Teams.TemplateBotCSharp.Properties;
using System;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace Microsoft.Teams.TemplateBotCSharp.Dialogs
    public class ProactiveMsgTo1to1Dialog : IDialog<object>
        public async Task StartAsync(IDialogContext context)
            if (context == null)
                throw new ArgumentNullException(nameof(context));

            var channelData = context.Activity.GetChannelData<TeamsChannelData>();
            var message = Activity.CreateMessageActivity();
            message.Text = "Hello World";

            var conversationParameters = new ConversationParameters
                  IsGroup = true,
                  ChannelData = new TeamsChannelData
                      Channel = new ChannelInfo(channelData.Channel.Id),
                  Activity = (Activity) message

            MicrosoftAppCredentials.TrustServiceUrl(serviceUrl, DateTime.MaxValue);
            var connectorClient = new ConnectorClient(new Uri(activity.ServiceUrl));
            var response = await connectorClient.Conversations.CreateConversationAsync(conversationParameters);


See also

Bot Framework samples.