Facebook Subscription Messaging Changes: What Does It Mean to You?

Hey ManyChatters.

Today I wanted to review the changes that are coming to Facebook subscription messaging and what it means to each of you.

There have been a lot of rumors flying around about different broadcast changes — and I wanted to set the record straight on what we know today, what we expect to happen in the coming weeks, and how we are going to address it.

Throughout this update, I will be referencing App-level subscription permission and Page-level subscription permission. So, let’s first understand what we are actually talking about.

Messenger Policy 101

In 2016, Facebook opened up Facebook Messenger API to help businesses connect with customers. This created an opportunity for platforms like ManyChat to develop products that would help companies like you to create Messenger experiences for your customers.

Facebook also implemented messaging policies to guard end-users from spam and abuse by bad actors. These policies dictated what is “OK” and what is “not OK” in terms of what and when businesses can send to their subscribers.

Over time the policy has evolved, but as of right now it’s pretty straight forward:

  1. Standard Messaging (24+1): You can send promotional and non-promotional messages to users that have interacted with your bot in the past 24 hours plus an additional message after 24 hours. This policy is commonly referred to as 24+1.
  2. Message Tags: If you want to send messages after the 24+1 window you can do so if your message falls under the eligible use cases of the 17 different Message Tags provided by Facebook (yes, there are 17 different tags, check out the full list here). Messages that are tagged with a Message Tag can’t be promotional.
  3. Sponsored Messages: If you want to send promotional messages after 24+1 you should use Sponsored Messages (more on that later).

So, what is Subscription Permission?

Out of the 17 Message Tags provided by Facebook, one Message Tag is special.

This tag is called NON_PROMOTIONAL_SUBSCRIPTION and it allows your page to send messages for the use cases of News, Productivity, and Personal Tracking.

The reason it’s special is that in order to have access to this tag your page needs to have Subscription Permission.

So, that is what Subscription Permission means – it’s a permission that lets your page access the NON_PROMOTIONAL_SUBSCRIPTION Message Tag which allows you to send messages for the subscription use cases.

So, what’s all the noise about this Subscription Permission?

Up until this point, you’ve probably haven’t heard about Subscription Permission because ManyChat provided each Page with automatic permission through our App-level Subscription Permission that Facebook granted us. This allowed your Page to send non-promotional subscription broadcasts without having to apply to Facebook for permission.

During this year’s F8, Facebook announced that after July 31, 2019, Pages that want to send broadcasts using the non-promotional subscription tag will require Page-level subscription permission to do so.

This means that in order to continue sending non-promotional subscription broadcasts your Page will have to apply for Page-level Subscription Permission directly.

That said, even if you don’t have access to Subscription Permission, there are 16 other Message Tags that cover many of the use cases that you were probably using broadcasts for (e.g. event reminders, business productivity, feature updates, etc.).

Does my Page have access to Message Tags?

All pages have access to 16 Message Tags and can use them for the appropriate use cases.

Yes, you’ve heard that right. All Facebook Pages have access to 16 types of messages that you will be able to leverage for your customer communication.

As we all know, the space is evolving rapidly. So, we should expect the policies will get refined as we continue to explore Messenger marketing together, but this is how the platform works as of now.

Will I be able to do broadcasts using these tags?

As of right now – yes.

The reason I’m saying “as of right now” is because we don’t know Facebook’s exact policy plans and should be prepared for any changes in the future. We chose to write to you with the best information we have on hand today rather than remain silent. If and when the policy changes we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

The current Message Tags listed in the documentation have eligible broadcasting use cases and for those use cases, you will be able to continue using broadcasts.

The ManyChat team is currently working on bringing the ability to use Message Tags in your broadcasts, and we plan to release this functionality before July 31st so that you don’t experience any interruptions in service for use cases that are supported by Message Tags.

What if I already have a Page-level Subscription Permission?

Perfect! ManyChat will support Page-level Subscription Permission which means that if your Page has Page-level Subscription Permission you will be able to continue using broadcasts as before without any interruption.

What if I don’t have a Page-level Subscription Permission?

If you believe that your Page falls under one of the eligible use cases of Subscription Messaging, check out the list here, then your Page can apply to get a Page-level Subscription Permission.

Here’s how to do it.

What about Sponsored Messages? Are you bringing them into ManyChat?

For sure.

We are working on a Sponsored Messages solution that will be available right inside ManyChat and will allow you to seamlessly send promotional “broadcasts” (they are actually Facebook Ads) to your users.

Better yet, you will be able to leverage our powerful segmentation for targeting – we are doing this by automatically generating Custom Audiences based on your ManyChat targeting and then targeting the Sponsored Message to this Custom Audience.

If you didn’t get what I’m talking about – just know that we are using some API magic to make your life easier and your conversions higher.

What you can expect from ManyChat

We’re here to help. We have the same goals as you — to empower you to market, sell, and support your customers over Messenger.

We’ll publish additional content in the coming weeks that will help you reach your marketing goals with all these changes. Just remember to keep calm and carry on marketing.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.