Guide to Facebook Messenger’s 2020 Changes
How To Do Messenger Marketing
After March 4, 2020
Today we will learn that Messenger is making updates to their platform to help businesses deliver relevant, personalized and timely messages to people. Messenger is making these changes to improve the user experience for everyday people (protect against spam and abuse) and drive more effective business outcomes.
We know that even though that won’t make a big difference for some of your use cases (e.g. lead gen that happens inside 24 hours, live chat, etc.), for many others it will have an impact. This means that as an industry, we have to adapt and find new, better ways of connecting with our customers while staying compliant with the changing policies.
Before we dive deep into solutions, let’s talk briefly about what will change on March 4, 2020.
Table of Contents
- What are the changes?
- 24-hour Messaging Window
- Subscription Messaging is getting deprecated for businesses
What are the changes?
Here is the list of the revised policies that will take effect on March 4, 2020:
- Businesses will be allowed to message subscribers within 24 hours of a subscriber’s last interaction with that Business Page. This is known as the “24-hour messaging window.”
- Subscription Messaging is being deprecated even on the Page-level and will be available only for News Pages
- Promotional content will continue to be allowed within the 24-hour messaging window.
- Sponsored messages will be used to send promotional messages after a 24-hour messaging window
Ok, that’s a lot of incoming changes! Let’s talk about each of them and what it means for your business.
24-hour Messaging Window
Most of you are already familiar with the “24+1” rule which says that you can send more or less any message inside the 24-hour window following the last user interaction and 1 follow-up message after that 24-hour period (the “+1”).
Messenger is updating its standard messaging window to 24 hours and will deprecate the “+1” follow-up message. This means that you will still be able to connect with your customers, send rich messages and follow up with them inside that 24-hour period, but won’t be able to send the “+1” message once that time window is over.
Let’s imagine a subscriber that hasn’t interacted with your chatbot for a while. That person hasn’t sent any messages to the bot, pressed any buttons or quick replies, or taken any other actions that we will cover in When the 24 hour session becomes active.
At this point, our 24-hour messaging window is over.
When the 24 hour session becomes active ?
Here is a list of actions that are considered a “subscriber interaction” by Facebook and that open up the 24-hour messaging window:
- A subscriber sends a message to a business page.
- A subscriber clicks a button in the Main Menu.
- A subscriber clicks a postback button on a message .
- A subscriber clicks on a quick reply.
- A subscriber opts-in through a Growth Tool.
- A subscriber clicks the “Get Started” button on the Welcome Screen.
- A subscriber clicks on a Facebook Click-To-Messenger or Sponsored message Advertisement.
Each time a subscriber takes one of these actions the 24-hour window opens up and your bot can message back to the person.
 – Postback buttons are the ones that reply with a message to the user. They are different from URL buttons that open a link inside a web view. Clicking on a URL button DOES NOT open up a 24-hour window.
What to do if a 24 hour session is expired ?
I’m glad you asked.
First of all, let’s make sure we understand the actual implications of all of these changes. Let’s start at the top. As a business, what do we actually need from a platform like Messenger? What are the most important use cases?
We need a way to send a broadcast to multiple people at once. We need to be able to chat with our customers manually.
We can summarize this list as follows:
- Live Chat
Messenger gives us a solution for live chat (Human–Agent Message Tag), and broadcasts (sponsored messages).
Human-Agent Message Tag
The “Human Agent” tag is supposed to be used with human replies to subscribers’ queries.
This tag is currently in closed beta-testing, but as soon as it is public we will apply it automatically whenever you send a message via Live Chat.
More details on compliant Live Chat messaging will be available when Facebook makes this feature public for everyone, so please make sure to follow updates in this section of the guide to learn more about it.
Broadcasts using sponsored messages
Being the only compliant way of messaging subscribers who went beyond 24 hour messaging window according to Facebook Messaging Policies, Sponsored Messages is truly essential tool for customer re-engagement activities such as:
- Customer reactivation by sending relevant offers, deals or coupons, announcing new arrivals
- Promote a product or an event similar to ones subscriber expressed interest to
- Continue conversation from the point where subscribers left off.
You’ll still want to contact subscribers outside of the 24-hour messaging window. To reach this audience after March 4th, we suggest you use sponsored Messages. This will let you construct a Sponsored Message on Facebook using our Broadcasting interface. It can be accessed from Broadcasting → Sponsored Broadcast.
Sponsored Messages do have some limitations, so there are a few factors you should take it into account to determine if a Sponsored Message is right for your use-case:
- The delivery rate for Sponsored Messages is affected by factors like bidding competition with other businesses and the limit on how many Sponsored Messages a subscriber can receive per day. Since 100% deliverability is not a guarantee, it may not be best for emergency messages or other time-sensitive material.
- Sponsored Messages are limited to subscribers who interacted with your business within the past year.
Remember that unlike the old broadcasts, sponsored messages can contain promotional content right from the first message which should raise your conversion numbers.
Subscription Messaging is getting deprecated for businesses
Subscription messaging allows certain businesses to send regular, non-promotional updates on specific topics to users outside of the standard window.
The update: Only registered news pages will be able to use subscription messaging.
You should Apply for subscription messaging if applicable. Are you part of a news organization that wants to send non-promotional subscription messages outside the standard messaging window? If so, you have to register with the Facebook News Page Index (NPI) and be approved. For those that fit this use case, we recommend applying immediately.