While Facebook messenger bots are still bringing incredible ROI and engagement level, Facebook has made some rules and guidelines how we can use them.
There are strict rules about who can be a subscriber, what kind of messages a bot can send them, and when.
In this article, I will explain the 3 main message types your chatbot can send to your subscribers, and the 24+1 hour rule.
How can somebody become a subscriber?
A person has to interact with your bot to be a subscriber. As a subscriber, you will be able to send them automated sequences, broadcast messages (more about this later in this article).
Facebook says that a person is a subscriber if they:
- Send a message to a business.
- Start a conversation with the business via a call-to-action button within a Messenger conversation, such as a share attribution.
- Start a conversation with a business via a plugin, such as the Send to Messenger plugin, checkbox plugin, etc.
- Start a conversation with a business via an ad with an App destination set to MESSENGER.
Chatbot message types:
Promotional messaging (and the 24+1 hour rule)
Promotional messages are the ones that contain promotional content, such as an offer, or contain a link to a promotional website. You can send promotional messages only for subscribers who engaged with your bot within the last 24 hours. This means pushing the “Getting started” button, opting in from a growth tool, or clicking on a button.
What Facebook has to say about it:
The following guidelines apply to usage of the Send/Receive API for standard (promotional) messaging:
- Integrations that provide live chat support are also subject to the 24-hour messaging window.
- Promotional content is allowed for standard (promotional) messaging. Note that promotional content is not allowed for subscription messaging (more about this later in this article).
- For a business or developer to send a message to a person on Messenger, the person must initiate contact first. Examples of how contact is initiated include the person tapping the “Get Started” button in the welcome screen, tapping a “Send to Messenger” plugin, sending a message, etc.
According to Facebook, any message that takes someone out of Messenger is considered promotional, whether it has a sales intent or not. [source]
To get as many subscribers as possible in the 24-hour window, send out a subscription broadcast before your promotional message. Remember, once they engage with your bot, you can send them offers within the next 24 hours. After the 24-hour window has expired, they must respond to one of the actions mentioned above, at which point a new 24-hour window begins. This is what Facebook refers to as the 24+1 hour rule.
If you send them an interesting, free content piece before your broadcast, they are likely to click on buttons, answer questions, and engage with your bot, and give you the opportunity to send them your promotion.
After the 24 hours have expired, you can’t send a promotional broadcast. You have to use a follow-up broadcast to message about your offer to your subscribers.
Again, to be very clear and avoid violating Facebook’s policies for chatbots: once the 24+1 period has expired, you can still send messages, but they can’t be promotional, until the subscriber responds using one of the actions above.
Subscription messaging is allowed for specific use cases and gives you the ability to send regular content to a person on Messenger. If you do this, you must inform them how to unsubscribe from your bot, if they so desire.
Manychat says: “Subscription broadcasts cannot contain promotions or ads, but on the other hand, you can send them anytime you want—regardless of your subscribers’ activity level.”
News: Integrations whose primary purpose is to inform people about recent or important events, or provide information in categories such as sports, finance, business, real estate, weather, traffic, politics, government, non-profit organizations, religion, celebrities, and entertainment.
Productivity: Integrations whose primary purpose is to enable people to manage their personal productivity with tasks, such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders, and paying bills.
Personal trackers: Integrations that enable people to receive and monitor information about themselves in categories such as fitness, health, wellness, and finance.
- Subscription content may be sent outside of the 24 hour messaging window that applies to standard messaging.
- The recipient must opt-in to subscription messaging.
- Subscription messages will have limited functionality compared to standard messages.
- Subscription messages cannot contain promotional content.
- Subscription messaging is only intended for specific use cases. Businesses and developers will need to indicate which use case their experience falls under when they submit their Messenger Platform integration.