Upcoming Changes to Messenger Bots in 2020

Facebook recently made some big announcements that seemed to set the Messenger groups on fire.

“Messenger bots are DEAD!!!” – The usual suspects

– The MSGHero Team

We’ve waited a few days for the dust to settle before writing our official response and thoughts on the update.

So, why the chaos?

Facebook recently announced 3 big changes coming to Messenger in January 2020.

  • The removal of the 24 hour + 1 rule. It’s now just 24 hours.
  • Subscription messaging is being removed as a page-level permission and is now only available to official News pages.
  • The large list of messaging tags is now trimmed to just 4.

I’ll go through each one, one by one to give you some insight.

#1 – 24 Hour Rule

Messenger has up until now had a “24+1” rule in which you were allowed to send any message within a 24 hour rolling window (from the most recent user interaction) and then a “+1” follow-up message outside that initial 24 hour period.

It’s important to note the 24 hour window is not from the first interaction with a user, but rather from the most recent interaction. This means the 24 hour window is a rolling window and resets every time a user messages back.

This change basically means you can still message your customers freely within the usual 24 hour window, but you won’t be able to send that extra +1 message as you could previously.

#2 – Subscription Messaging is going away

Subscription messaging basically allowed you to send a broadcast to your Messenger subscribers outside of the 24 hour window (non-promotional broadcast).

This was generally used to send content, re-engage and unfortunately – abused. Which leads us to why this change was made.

You might remember just a few months ago, Facebook shifted this permission from the app-level (auto-approval if you signed up to a Messenger bot platform such as MSGHero) to the page-level.

This meant that you had to apply for this permission manually from your Facebook page settings.

However, people continued to abuse the subscription messaging permission and unfortunately Facebook has decided to remove it completely now.

As of January 2020, this permission will only be available to News pages.

After the date above, sponsored messages will need to be used to reach your subscribers outside of the 24 hour window.

#3 – Four Messaging Tags Available

Messaging tags were a way for Facebook to categorize the messages people were sending to their subscribers.

Prior to the official announcement, there were 17 tags available. Things like shipping updates, business productivity, appointment updates, payment updates etc.

So 17 down to 4? Not quite.

Well yes, there are just 4 tags to choose from BUT they aren’t removing 13 tags.

They’ve created 4 new tags which merged some of the previous tags. This simplifies things a lot.

Here are the new tags:

Confirmed Event Update

Send the user reminders or updates for an event they have registered for (e.g., RSVP’ed, purchased tickets). This tag may be used for upcoming events and events in progress.

Examples:

  • Reminders of upcoming classes, appointments or events.
  • Confirmations of reservations or attendance.
  • Notifications related to transport such as arrival, cancellation, delays etc.

Post Purchase Update

Notify the user of an update on a recent purchase.

Examples:

  • Confirmation of transactions (invoices/receipts).
  • Notifications related to shipping of products.
  • Changes related to a customer’s order (payment declined or any other order updates that require action from the user).

Account Update

Notify the user of a non-recurring change to their application or account.

Examples:

  • A change in the status of an application (credit card, job etc).
  • Notification of suspicious activity such as fraud alerts.

Human Agent (Closed BETA)

Allows human agents to respond to user inquiries. Messages can be sent within 7 days after a user message.

Examples:

  • Messaging a user when the support issue at hand cannot be resolved within the standard 24 hour window.

Our Thoughts Here at MSGHero

As with all Facebook changes, we need to adapt our marketing to fit their changes. Jeremy (our co-founder) made a great analogy to the restaurant industry awhile ago. As trends come and go – they need to adapt to fit the industry changes to keep going (think cauliflower pizza bases, CBD oil pizzas, etc etc).

Using Messenger as a tool to improvement engagement, generate leads (collect emails in all your funnels to diversify), segment prospects, automate customer support and to sell (within the 24 hour window) – will continue to be the norm.

Creative ways to engage and improve interactions will become important to keeping the conversation going.

Sponsored messaging will become the main way to reach your subscribers from Jan 2020 (we believe the Messenger team will be making great improvements to this module).

We’ve always been behind the fact that Messenger bots should be used to create great customer experiences and add value and that will continue despite the update.

It’s also important to note the 24 hour window is not from the first interaction with a user, but rather from the most recent interaction. This means the 24 hour window is a rolling window and resets every time a user messages back. So an engaging bot will allow for a longer interaction window with a customer.

Here at MSGHero – we’ve been building a tool that is unaffected by these changes (it uses a messaging tag unaffected by the deprecation of standard_messaging).

It’s been in development for the entire year – and we’re excited to bring it to market soon (it’s currently in a BETA phase).

Click here to sign up to be a beta tester and get early access.

We also have more features coming soon to help make the switch for the update.

Short answer: We’ll continue with a few small changes, and we have some exciting announcements on the horizon 🙂 My #1 piece of advice would be to collect email leads in all your funnels to diversify. This would allow you to take advantage of both email and Messenger and reap the rewards of both.

An Example of How to Use Messenger Moving Forward

Messenger is a communication channel for you to be able to communicate with prospects, leads and customers.

It shouldn’t be the only communication tool you utilize, but is an AMAZING add-on to your existing marketing mix.

Email, push, SMS, Messenger… they’re all very effective in their own right.

For a practical example of a marketing mix involving multiple communication channels:

Think of using Messenger as an entry point (opening the initial line of communication), ask a few questions (segment), ask for their email (push them to different lists) and market after that according to your segmentation (super targeted marketing to leads).

Once you’ve synced them to your email autoresponder (CRM), you can now freely engage with them anytime you want.

Even place a reference URL in your email so that when they click it, it reopens the Messenger window.

This is just one way to effectively use Messenger as a powerful marketing tool in your business.

To take it a step further – create custom audiences for people engaging with you inside Messenger and you can even create custom audiences of people clicking through your segmented emails (website custom audiences).

Send out content, sell, automate, customer service etc.

It’s all possible and made more effective by using Messenger as an entry point for your funnel.

Have any questions about the changes? Feel free to comment down below!

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