Day of reckoning for Messenger Broadcasts?

Earlier in the year, we brought you Facebook’s Messenger news from F8, of which a large portion was focused on reintroducing Messenger as a secondary social media dedicated to friends and family. Facebook also announced that like WhatsApp, Messenger will now have end-to-end encryption by default. While this is all well and good for everyday users, Facebook also announced changes to its subscription messaging policy, also known as Messenger broadcasts. All to remove the level of spam on the platform, making Messenger more user-friendly and therefore encouraging users to make Messenger their go-to messaging platform.

The news that after 30th June 2019, Facebook pages who want to send broadcasts will now need page-level subscription permission to do so, has caused a level of uncertainty in the messenger marketing world. It is only until recently that we have had a better understanding of Facebook’s change of policy. Before we begin let’s take a look at Facebook’s messaging policies as of right now…

  1. Standard Messaging, the 24+1 rule
    • You can send promotional and non-promotional messages to users who have interacted with your bot in the past 24 hours plus an additional message after 24 hours. Hence 24+1.
  2. Message Tags
    • If you want to send messages after the 24+1 window you can do so If your message falls under the 17 different Message Tags provided by Facebook. Broadcasts tagged with a Message Tag can’t be promotional.
  3. Sponsored Messages
    • If you want to send promotional messages after the 24+1 timeframe you should use Sponsored Messages.

ChatBot Image

 

Subscription Permissions

If up until now you’ve been using a Messenger and a ChatBot marketing platform then all this talk of subscription permissions may sound a bit alien. This is because these platforms had previously been given a green light from Facebook with app-wide subscription permission. It is only now after Facebook’s F8 conference that businesses have had to up the ante when it comes to getting their page approved for the page-level subscription. This subscription allows users of these platforms access to 1 of Facebook’s 17 message tags – NON_PROMOTIONAL_SUBSCRIPTION. This unique tag allows pages to send messages relating to news, productivity and personal tracking.

Message Tags

For the time being, the other 16 message tags do not need subscription permission and can be used to send broadcasts. Therefore, it is well worth reviewing these 16 Messenger tags and seeing if you can leverage any of these to your advantage. These tags include: BUSINESS_PRODUCTIVITY, COMMUNUITY_ALERT, CONFIRMED_EVENT_REMINDER, PAIRING_UPDATE, APPLICATION_UPDATE, ACCOUNT_UPDATE, PAYMENT_UPDATE, PERSONAL_FINANCE_UPDATE, SHIPPING_UPDATE, RESERVATION_UPDATE, ISSUE_RESOLUITON, APPOINTMENT_UPDATE, GAME_EVENT, TRANSPORTATION_UPDATE, FEATURE_FUNCTIONALITY_UPDATE and TICKET_UPDATE. Facebook has provided a handy list of examples of when these tags can be used, many of which you may have previously been sending as broadcasts. It is important to note that all pages have access to the other 16 messaging types, which you can use for customer communication. At the time of writing, pages can broadcast using these 16 message tags without needing subscription permission.

 

Sponsored messaging example

 

Sponsored Messaging

Sponsored messaging is slightly different, both to subscription messaging and Facebook ads that click to Messenger. Sponsored messaging is a paid ad sent via the Facebook Marketing API, allowing you to re-engage users who have previously engaged with you in Messenger. Sponsored messages are specifically meant for sending promotional messages to people outside of the 24+1 window, both of these conditions are not allowed under new subscription messaging rules. As a quick note, when creating a sponsored message ad you should upload your most recent subscriber list to Facebook to make sure you don’t contact those who have unsubscribed in the past. As of right now, the approximate cost for 1000 messages sent is $20 (£15.82) with an estimated open rate of 80% and an estimated CTR of 20%. When you crunch the numbers, the estimated CPC would be $0.12 (£0.095!). With average CPCs varying from anything between $0.29 and $1.00 depending on the industry, sponsored messaging doesn’t look as unattractive as first thought.

 

Messenger sequence

 

The 24+1 Rule

While all this may seem bleak, Facebook hasn’t made it impossible to broadcast to your Messenger list. Your friend here is the 24+1 rule, as it states that you can send contacts promotional messages in the first 24 hours after they engage with you, as well as an additional message after this 24-hour period. Send them a message sequence with call-to-actions so they keep on interacting with your bot. So long as they’re interacting with your bot you can keep messaging them indefinitely! Ask them questions to keep them captivated and in turn keep them as a valuable, free contact.

24+1 Rule Best Practice

There is a way to be clever about this. For example, if you provide two button options, say “Yes” or “No”, then it could be assumed that they will choose at least one answer instead of leaving the chat. This would then mean they are still included in the 24+1 rule, even if they answer the question with “No”! It’s much better this is the case than if they were to mentally answer no and leave the chat altogether. If you sent a message with only one button, they could completely disregard it and then be lost from the 24+1 inclusion criteria.

 

 

Perhaps you could ask a question that requires more than just selecting one of two options. For clients in the past, we’ve asked for an email address to be provided, offering users something in return for their reciprocation. This small gesture can go some way in sweetening the deal and will keep that user in your 24+1 inclusion audience. If they receive something in return, such as a white paper or blog post, users may not feel so hesitant about engaging with the bot.

In addition to this, make your messages personal. Address the user so there is an extra level of emotional involvement. This personal touch adds a level of legitimacy to the message they’ve just received, and instead of ignoring it as spam the user may be more inclined to reply. Combining this with our earlier suggestion of asking questions, can go a long way in getting the user to interact with the bot, thus extending their 24+1 broadcasting timeframe.

 

Messenger Bot name variable

 

We hope this has helped give you an overview of the important updates coming to Messenger in just a month, the clock is ticking! What ways are you going to keep your Messenger lists active? Let us know any other burning questions you have in the comments below!

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