In 2020, Facebook has changed its policy regarding Facebook Messenger, causing you to change your chatbot flows in order to comply with the new regulations.
These new regulations are made to enhance the user experience of Facebook users and allows you to think twice about the user experience you are delivering.
In this post, I will talk about these new changes and gives you a hands-on cheatsheet so you can comply with the new regulations!
Why did Facebook change its rules?
Facebook has changed its policy because they want to improve the experience for Facebook users. Facebook says that the policies are designed to encourage businesses to:
- Respond to customers in a timely fashion when they reach out
- Share important updates that are personally relevant to their customers
The third reason, which Facebook did not mention explicitly, is that is not possible anymore to spam people through Facebook Messenger with your chatbot.
What has changed?
The new regulations change the way how you can send messages to people and relate only to promotional messages.
Promotional messages are messages that you send to your audience in order to promote your product, website, blog, etc. A great example of a promotional message is an e-mail blast.
Therefore, Facebook made two important changes: the 24-hour window and message tags.
Every time a user communicates with your chatbot, a “24-hour messaging window” will open. Within this window, you can send every message to the user, with absolutely no constraints.
This means that every time the user interacts with your chatbot, the “24-hour messaging window” will start over again. So take this example:
User interacts with your chatbot. *24-hour messaging window starts*
The user does not interact for 4 hours, so there are still 20-hours left in the messaging window.
After an additional 4 hours, the user interacts again with your chatbot. *24-hour messaging window starts over*
And this will go on and on, until the user does not interact with your chatbot anymore and the 24-hour messaging window is over.
But what about messages outside the 24-hour window?
Facebook has created four specific scenarios in which you can send messages outside the 24-hour window. These four scenarios are also called the “four tags“.
The reason behind it, is that the message that you are sending needs to be tagged with one of those four tags, otherwise the message will not be delivered to the user.
The four tags are:
- Confirmed Event Update
This is the tag you need when you send the user reminders or updates for an event they have registered for (e.g. event updates or purchased tickets). This tag can be used for upcoming events and events in progress.
- Post Purchase Update
A message with this tag notifies the user of an update on a recent purchase.
Examples are the confirmation of a transaction or notification of shipment status.
- Account Update
A message with this tag notifies the user of a non-recurring change to their application or account.
Examples are a change in application status or notification of suspicious activity
- Human Agent
This tag allow human agents to respond to user inquiries. Messages can be sent within 7 days after a user message.
Note: this tag is still in beta version and can only be used by beta-testers.
But, what about messages without these tags?
And now I hear you think, what about messages that don’t relate to one of those tags?
There are three options: Use the One-Time Notification, pay Facebook to send messages or go omnichannel.
With the One-Time Notification, you ask inside the 24-hour window for permission to send a message outside the 24-hour window.
Let’s imagine a product you sell is out of stock. Then, you can ask the user “Do you want to receive a message when the product is back in stock?” When the user wants to receive that message, you can send the message outside the 24-hour window.
This is just a simple example, and I even wrote a more elaborate post on this about the One-Time Notification.
The other option is to just pay Facebook to deliver the messages, which is called sponsored messaging.
This is basically that you need to pay for a message which you send to people who interacted with your chatbot.
What must be said is that often not all the messages are delivered to your users, you can reach a maximum of about 50%.
The last option is to not use Facebook for messages outside the 24-hour window.
In your chatbot, you can ask the phone number or the email of the user and then you can send the message through other channels, such as Email, SMS and WhatsApp.
By the way, omnichannel is just a fancy word for contacting your audience through multiple channels 😉
So, what do you need to do?
You need to go through every message in every flow you have and follow my cheat sheet:
- Can I tag it with one of the four tags (mentioned above)?
If you can answer with “Yes”, tag that message with the right tag and you are done!
If the answer is no, go to the following step…
- Can I transform it, so it fits within the 24-hour window?
If you can transform the message into a message that fits within the 24-hour window, then do it!
An example of a message that fits is when normally you send a sequence of several messages and the time between those messages is 2 days. You can set the time between those messages to 23 hours, so it fits within the 24-hour window and then you are done!
If this is not the case, go to step 3!
- Is it worth paying for?
Is the message so important to you that want to pay for it to deliver it to your audience? Then, use Sponsored Messages!
If this is not the case, go to step 4…
- Use the One-Time Notification or go omnichannel!
If you do not have the money to run an ad on the specific message (or it is not that important), make sure you capture the email, phone number or a One-Time Notification permission inside the 24-hour window. If you do this, you can use the One-Time Notification or other channels to send your messages outside the 24-hour window.
Can I still send broadcasts via Facebook Messenger?
Yes, you can.
But, you can only send broadcasts to the users who engaged with your chatbot in the last 24 hours, so that probably will not be much that users.
So yeah, the effectiveness of broadcasts is decreasing. But, you can still use them:
- Use Sponsored Messages to broadcast your information. This will cost you some money but allows you to send messages to users outside the 24-hour window
- Use other channels (like Email/SMS/WhatsApp) to send your broadcasts. For this, you need the email address/phone number of the user.
- Use the One-Time Notification to send broadcasts to your users.
New Facebook Messenger Rules in Europe
As of December 16th, 2020, Facebook will restrict the use of Facebook Messenger because of privacy rules of the European Union.
These changes affect your Facebook Page if:
- Your Facebook Page is located in Europe
- Your Facebook Page has an admin that is located in Europe
- Your Facebook Page talks to European users
If you want more information about these new changes, read this post so you can stay compliant with the new EU rules.
If you don’t want to get blocked on Facebook, your chatbot needs to be compliant with the rules of Facebook Messenger. If you follow my cheatsheet and go through every message, you will be set for all the Facebook rules.