How to Survive the Messenger Marketing Armageddon: 7 Power Moves

Facebook announced sweeping changes to its Facebook Messenger policy.

To sum up the change, any Business Page that is not approved for subscription messaging can no longer send chat blasts to their subscribers. Instead, these Pages can send sponsored messages.

In wake of this change, we’ve assembled a tactical survival guide — seven things you can do right away to make sure that your Facebook Messenger marketing comes through unscathed.

(NOTE: This article applies to marketers whether they are approved for subscription messaging or not.)

Here’s the bottom line: MobileMonkey users wield enormous power when it comes to every aspect of Facebook Messenger marketing. If anything, Facebook’s policy change empowers the full force and capability of MobileMonkey chatbots. If you’re not yet a MobileMonkey user, it’s a critical time to start creating chatbots.

1. Apply for Facebook Subscription Messaging immediately.

This is the most important point.

Facebook dropped the no-chat-blast hammer only on pages that are not yet approved for subscription messaging. If you’re not yet approved, your first approach should be to request approval.

To request approval, go to your Facebook Business Page.

Click “Settings,” then “Messenger Platform.”

Scroll down to the “Advanced Messaging Features” and select “Request” next to Subscription Messaging.

The approval process for Facebook Subscription Messaging is not automatic and does not happen quickly.

Some legitimate Business Pages have requested subscription messaging repeatedly (15+ times) before being approved.

To increase your likelihood of getting approved for subscription messaging, please read these two important articles:

2. If you are approved for subscription messaging, continue to do so. (Just follow the rules.)

The reason Facebook made this decisive change to the Messenger policy was that subscription messaging was being abused. Too many businesses were spamming their contacts with ultra-promotional content in direct violation of the rules.

Because subscription messaging has been and remains a beta feature, Facebook was taking a moderate stance on enforcing the no-promotional content rule. This is now changing. Facebook has announced that they will more strictly enforce the no-promotional content rule.

Going forward, please be aware of and abide by their guidelines.

What are those guidelines? Here’s Facebook’s five-point explanation:

  1. Cannot contain promotional content.
  2. Must adhere to the Messenger Platform’s subscription messaging policy.
  3. Only contain content that falls into one of the subscription messaging policy’s eligible use cases (news, productivity, or personal trackers).
  4. Must include the NON_PROMOTIONAL_SUBSCRIPTION message tag in the body of the request.
  5. The bot must adhere to all Facebook Platform policies and community standards.

The salient points are 1 and 3.

However, on point 1, “promotional content” can be a bit vague, so it’s better to analyze any message according to what Facebook allows — point 3. Your message must fit into one of three categories known as “eligible use cases.”

  • 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.

When creating a subscription message in MobileMonkey, the app reminds you of these policies.

3. Diversify your chat methods.

If you’ve been relying on the chat blaster as your primary method of communicating with your contact list, start using alternate methods.

The chat blaster is amazing, and you should keep using it, but it’s important to try these methods as well.

  • Drip campaigns — Drip campaigns allow you to nurture contacts through a conversion funnel, and they’re 5x as effective as email marketing drip campaigns.
  • RSS Blaster — Set up a quick RSS integration to send new content to your audience.
  • Use paid methods — Messenger ads and the MobileMonkey Promo Blaster (coming soon to MobileMonkey) are great methods. Try them.

Take a look at the MobileMonkey Marketing Automation page. If there’s a feature you haven’t used yet, now is the time to do so.

We aren’t entirely clear on if (or when) Facebook will roll back more features or start charging for them.

It’s obvious that Facebook is turning Messenger marketing into a major revenue stream. If diverting businesses to sponsored messages is any indication of a trend, then we as marketers should make sure we’re using the Facebook Messenger tools that are still available.

And we should do so now.

4. Embrace the 24+1 rule.

The 24+ 1 rule states that you can send contacts promotional messages in the first 24 hours after they engage with you. Plus you can send them an additional message after the 24 hour period.

This is Facebook giving you free engagement.

Embrace it.

In other words, take advantage of the 24-hour period to send messages to your contacts in order to generate their interest and impress upon their memory your company’s message. You can send a two-to-three message drip campaign with upsells or other calls to action. These are powerful techniques!

Obviously, you don’t want to message them to the point of annoyance, but you do want to make your presence known.

Your goal during this 24-hour period isn’t necessarily a conversion, although that’s great.

Your goal is engagement. And Facebook is giving you the ability to engage them with promotional content.

The first 24 hours after the initial creation of contact is the golden hour of marketing. That’s why retargeting experts turn on retargeting efforts instantly. The contact’s interest is as high as it’s going to get but plummets precipitously as time goes on.

Strike while the iron is hot.

And, to that point, the next tip is a powerful move that will sustain engagement.

5. Use the quick question widget to keep contacts engaged.

If within the 24-hour promotional period, your contact engages with a bot, it resets the 24-hour clock.

All you need to do is keep the engagement active and you’ll be able to retain the contact indefinitely.

The most effective method of engagement that we’ve used is the quick question widget.

The quick question facilitates engagement by making it ridiculously easy for users to respond. All they have to do is click or tap their response — one tap and they’re in.

To add a quick question in MobileMonkey, go to the Bot Builder, then click on Dialogues. From the menu bar at the top, tap Quick question.

Your quick question should be really, truly quick. It can be a stupid question like “Do you like unicorns?” The only possible answer to that question is yes.

Don’t make people think. Make people click.

Create the dialogue…

And open the engagement floodgates.

(The screenshot above features the new dark mode feature in Messenger. To turn it on in iOS, tap your profile picture, then toggle on dark mode.)

Remember, the quick question introduces a sequence. Build out the sequence with more content so you don’t leave your contacts hanging.

Another unicorn hack for the 24+1 rule is to launch a drip campaign. Drip campaigns are excellent methods for continuing engagement and prolonging the 24-hour promotional message allowance.

6. Build your contact list.

Constant list building is a crucial component of ultra-successful Messenger marketing. And the most successful way to grow your contact list on auto-pilot is to turn on as many methods of list building as possible.

Here’s a quick overview of the six methods we recommend for list building:

  • Facebook Comment Guards — Anyone who comments on an organic Facebook post is invited to join your contact list.
  • Chat widget — Anyone who visits your website has an option to join your contact list.
  • Share links — Create a link that you can embed in an email, ad, website, etc., to funnel people directly into a Messenger sequence.
  • HTML Elements — Create HTML code to embed in an email or website for contacts to activate your chat widget.
  • Landing page — Customize a simple landing page that invites users to join your contact list.
  • QR code — Create a QR code that invites contacts to join your list.

You can create each of these without having to code. All are available in the Lead Magnets section of the app.

Out of the six methods above, most businesses grow their list the fastest using a chat widget on the website.

It’s brilliant because people engage with your website and end up getting added to your contact list. Once they’re in, you can send promotional content according to the 24+1 rule.

7. Use Facebook Sponsored Messages

As a paid alternative to chat blasts, Facebook is suggesting that businesses use sponsored messages.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with sponsored messages.

I’ve heard desperate cries of “digital fascism!” ripping across the digital marketing landscape, but it’s really not that conspiratorial.

If you can’t send promotional messages for free, then sending them with Facebook’s blessing for a small cost is actually a good deal.

Let’s break down some numbers:

  • The approximate cost for 1,000 messages sent is $20 (2 cents per send!)
  • The estimated open rate for these sponsored messages is 80% with a CTR of 20%.
  • Thus, the estimated CPC would be $0.12 per click.

That’s not bad at all. Considering that a decent Facebook campaign is running at $3–5 per click, sponsored messages are like getting a 97% discount!

Sponsored messages are not the Great Evil. They are a good marketing option.

MobileMonkey is preparing to release the Promo Blaster. It’s currently in beta, and you should expect us to announce it within a week or so.

If you haven’t yet, sign up for MobileMonkey as soon as possible in order to take advantage of this feature and others that are available for free.

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About the Author

Larry Kim is the CEO of MobileMonkey — provider of the World’s Best Facebook Messenger Marketing Platform. He’s also the founder of WordStream.

You can connect with him on Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.

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Larry Kim

Larry Kim


CEO of MobileMonkey. Founder of WordStream. Top columnist @Inc ❤️ AdWords, Facebook Advertising, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Start-ups & Venture Capital 🦄