If you haven’t heard the buzz about the Facebook Messenger policy updates coming this March 4 till now… You’ve been living under a rock. I’m talking about this “dreaded” policy change everyone has been (anxiously) looking forward to.
But, while some people are calling it “Doomsday”, or feel it’s the end of chatbots as we know it… It feels like a breath of fresh air on a hot and sweaty summer day to us.
See, keep in mind that FB is making these Messenger changes to improve the User Experience. Especially for the people that use Messenger the most; everyday people. And next to protecting the users against spam and abuse, they focus on speed and performance. With project LightSpeed that went live on March 2, 2020, they’re providing a better Messaging App experience.
“Okay. But what does this all mean?”
Well, as a chatbot creator and marketing suite, we have to adapt and adhere to new policies. We do this to keep you, our customers, safe. And by proxy, the subscribers of our customers too. But, it doesn’t mean we should stop looking for ways – may I add, much clever ways – that help leverage bots for businesses.
Facebook Messenger Policy: In a hurry?
Then please check the need-to-know here. This table tells you more about how it was, and how this New Policy – effective 4th of March – is changing how you do Messenger Marketing:
As you can see, quite some things are changing. So, in the rest of this article, you discover more about this Policy Change, what Clever Messenger will do to help you stay compliant.
The Facebook Messenger Policy Changes Bulleted Overview:
- Facebook announced changes to its Messenger policies. They will take effect on March 4, 2020.
- Businesses are only allowed to message subscribers within 24 hours since the last interaction with a Business’s Facebook page. This is now generally knowns as the “24-hour messaging window.”
- Sending Promotional content is still allowed within the 24-hour messaging window.
- Messages sent outside this 24-hour window must be tagged with one of four Message Tags. The tags are Confirmed Event Update, Post-Purchase Update, Account Update, or Human Agent.
- One-Time Notifications (OTN): You’re able to send a single message to users who opted-in to receive it. The OTN will allow you to send messages beyond 24 hours. This should be used for use cases that don’t fall into the definition of the four Message Tags. Clever Messenger pushed the OTN Request Card. You can find it the Flow Composer.
- Important: Messages that do not have a Message Tag (or in Clever’s case; are marked as Promotional) will not deliver outside the 24-hour window as of March 4, 2020.
- Read – and where possible, apply – the Cheat Sheet below. And get yourself adapted to these changes:
Facebook Messenger Policy: What Is Going On?
Let’s have a “quick look” at what is changing.
1. The “24+1 window” is changed to a “24-hour window.”
What was the 24 + 1 Rule?
You were allowed to send another message, a follow-up if you will, for free outside these 24 hours. Just to help you re-engage with your subscribers again, and once they reply, they get “Active” again.
What will happen to the +1 Follow up Message?
This follow-up message will be removed. But, taking a look at Clever data, this should not be a big issue. Because out of all the broadcasts sent on Clever Messenger, only 4% used the Follow Up tag in their messages.
Ehmm… Okay, now what?
Facebook will not send out any message beyond the 24-hour messaging window as of March 4, 2020. You can still send outside the 24-hour messaging window using any of the Message Tags, though. However, these undergo some changes too.
Is there no other way to reach out beyond this 24-hour window?
There is! It’s called the One-Time Notification (OTN). With this, you’re able to send a single message to people who opted-in to receive it. The OTN will allow you to send messages beyond 24 hours. This should be used for use cases that don’t fall into the definition of the 4 Message Tags. Please note that you need to request to use OTN via your page settings. Simply go to Settings in your Page and go to the Advanced Messaging Tab. You’ll find a section similar to the screenshot below. It’s important that you do this, otherwise, the One Time Notification Request feature inside Clever Messenger will not work.
To send an OTN request to your subscribers, we pushed the OTN Request Card to the Flow Composer which you now can use in your Flows:
Now, let’s have a look inside:
As you can see, this card will send a Text Message with a Button (NOTIFY ME is something you can’t edit). If your subscribers click on the button, they will opt-in to receive your next OTN. The Message, the actual OTN if you will, can only be 1 message with Buttons and/or Quick Replies. However, you can have the Buttons and/or Quick Replies lead to a new Flow.
How do I send the actual OTN?
Good question! See, you’re “forced” to add a Tag when you setup your OTN Request Card. This helps you identify anyone who has opted-in to receive your OTN. Then to send the actual OTN, you simple use the Broadcast feature. Create a Segment based on people having your desired OTN tag attached to their profile. From there, you simply send a broadcast to this new Segment.
2. The 16 Message Tags is being dragged down to 4
Because there will be 4 tags from March 4, Clever Messenger cannot choose one for you. This means that you need to “tag all messages” that are sent beyond the 24-hour messaging window. You do this with a tag that’s matching the content.
Given the fact, Subscription Messages will be removed for all Pages but 1 type of Business Page (more on this a tad lower), you can still reach subscribers outside of the 24-hour window using Message tags.
How many Message Tags are there, and what are they?
These Message Tags should stop spam messages coming from (irresponsible) businesses. What does this mean? Well, less spam keeps users on Messenger happy, engaged, and conversion rates high! This results in a simpler yet healthier system for businesses (who are responsible).
Previously there were 16 tags to choose from. And they changed to these 4 Message Tags right here:
One special mention: The Human_Agent Tag is still in its BETA phase. Once The Human_Agent Tag public, we will apply it automatically to messages sent via Live Chat. To understand which tag applies to the messages you’re going to send out, it’s best to go to the source — Facebook’s guidelines.
Wowzers! Changes! What do you think about this?
Well, it may be an unpopular opinion, but we think it’s a good thing because it makes things simple. It also rids the Messenger platform from bad apples that have been ruining it for the good people. Yet, we do recognize that it’s now harder to match your Flows and messages with a Message Tag. That’s why we strongly recommend requesting tags here over at Facebook.
In short: Facebook uses Message Tags to protect Messenger users from spam.
These Message Tags should stop spam messages coming from (irresponsible) businesses. Less spam keeps users on Messenger happy, engaged, and conversion rates high! This results in a simpler yet healthier system for businesses (who are responsible).
Darn. Do I need to apply a Message Tag to each Message?
To help you stay compliant, we’re introducing Flow Types – It’s a simplified (and clever way) of applying the Message Tags to you Flows… because asking you to add Message Tag to each Message is just silly. Moreover, it takes the fun out of building your bot. Nevertheless, the Flow Type approach should keep you safe in regards to sending out messages and the 24-hour window.
What if a Message Tag doesn’t fit my Flow?
For Messages and Flow that does not fit any of the Message Tags, either request a new tag over at Facebook here or use an SMS or email instead. Yea, we got some cool stuff for you too.
So, what are these Flow Types you’re speaking off?
Flow Types make things simple. You’re able to set the purpose of the Flow when you’re creating a new one; Non-Promotional or Promotional. You can always change the purpose of a Flow if you want. And if the purpose of the Flow is changing “Mid Flow”, we encourage you to use the Action Card with the “Change Flow Type” action.
Here’s how it looks when you’re about to create a New Flow:
Which Flow Types did you come up with?
- The Promotional Flow Type can contain ads and promotional content. Messages under the Promotional Flows can be sent to your subscribers at any time given they are active. Meaning to subscribers who interacted with your bot during the past 24 hours of the time of sending your message.
- The Non-promotional Flow Type with the help of Message Tags give you the ability to send messages to subscribers outside of the normally allowed 24-hour window. Note that these messages are for a limited number of purposes. Once selected you will get a list of Message Tags to further specify the purpose of your flow.
Please remember that using Non-Promotional Flows to send promotional content is against Messenger Platform Policy.
What if a Flow changes Type mid Flow?
It’s possible that a Flow can have both promotional and Non-Promotional content. For this exact reason, we came up with a new Action in the Action Card called “Change Flow Type”. This allows for changing of the Flow Type “Mid Flow”.
To make it backward compatible, all your Flows will be marked as a Promotional Flow. This is done to stop any Flow sending outside a 24-hour delay automatically. We are keeping you safe!
3. Subscription Messaging Only for News Page type.
Previously any Facebook page could apply to Subscription Messaging (now called News Messaging). And once approved, they could contact their subscribers at any time. However, this has now changed and is now only applicable to Pages on Facebook News Page Index.
What was Subscription Messaging?
Subscription Messaging are non-promotional messages sent outside the 24-hour messaging window for use in cases where regular non-promotional notifications may be needed.
Why can’t I use Subscription Messaging anymore?
It’s now reserved for NPI pages only. There’s a 99.9% chance you’re not falling into this category. Subscription Messaging refers now only to news content, and should not be used for promotional content, including, but not limited to, subscription offers, sales, vouchers, promotions or content created or promoted by a 3rd party (e.g., branded content, affiliate marketing).
Final Thoughts on the Facebook Messenger Policy
It may be a lot to take in. Especially if you’re new to this whole thing. But, in summary, know that this is a good thing. It’s getting rid of the bad apples and making the platform more enjoyable for us good pears. However, this is not all just yet… We think the educational process starts now, so next to doing more Blog Posts like this, we’re picking up our Facebook Lives again in our group. (Personally, can’t wait to showcase all the new features we’ve lined up for you)
We’ve done a lot in terms of new feature releases that are going to help you take the Messenger marketing game to the next level. And a little bit of training on this will not hurt anyone, right? For instance, we’ve created Integrations with Twilio and Nexmo, allowing you to send SMS to your subscribers right from within the Clever Messenger platform. We’ve created Integrations with Sendgrid, ElasticEmail, and other SMTP providers that allow you to send an email to your subscriber right from within the Clever Messenger platform. IF you’re a customer, its all live in your account already… It’s a lot and we didn’t find time to announce all this cool stuff… yet.
Clever Messenger users will need to review their Flows! You need to apply appropriate Message Tags. To keep things simple, we use Flow Types. Flow Types make things simple. You’re able to set the purpose of the Flow when you’re creating a new one; Non-Promotional or Promotional. You can always change the purpose of a Flow if you want. And if the purpose of the Flow is changing “Mid Flow”, we encourage you to use the Action Card with the “Change Flow Type” action. You now only need to select a type when creating a new Flow. No need to tag each card in your Flow with a Message Tag – that would be silly. 😉
For Messages you want to send that don’t fit any Message Tag – we recommend you either using SMS (using Twilio or Nexmo)… Or sending an email, using Auto Responder integrations, Webhooks, or our new SMTP integration.
Collect email addresses immediately to maximize your reach. It’s best practice to ask for a Messenger subscriber’s email as soon as possible. You can reach your subscriber via email. I.E., Access your audience independent channel from Facebook. Plus, using our SMTP integration, you can always (re)activate them on Messenger by sending an email with an M.me Link. Do the same thing above but with Phone Numbers. Capture your subscriber’s Phone Number early on… You can send SMS or Ringless Voicemails (RVM) to market using this independent channel. Or send an M.me link to (re)activate them again. And of course, while you’re at it, ask for a One Time Notification.
That said, Messenger is still cool – if not the coolest. But if we need to take one thing out of these changes, it’s that we should think bigger. Even though Messenger should be central to your marketing… definitely add SMS and Email in your marketing strategy. Marketing is a multi-touch experience in today’s world. And with Clever Messenger you hit people with your message via multiple channels.