What Facebook's August 15 Messenger Updates Mean for Messenger Marketers

The August 15th Facebook Update and What It Means for You

Yesterday, Facebook announced that it’s going to be sunsetting a few features in order to make Messenger the fastest messaging platform in the west. While a speedier Messenger is good for all in the long run, it’s also going to require some updates to existing flows.

Below is a quick look at each section of their update, how it may impact your bot, and what you can do about it.

During F8 2019, we announced our plans to launch a lighter, better and simpler Messenger designed to build closer connections between people and businesses. Starting August 15, 2019, updated versions of the Messenger app will reflect the following changes,

Facebook Messenger Platform Changelog, June 10, 2019.

Facebook first outlines why they’re making the update – to create a speedy, simple, and clean Messenger experience. That means they need to remove any redundant, data-heavy, or rarely used features in favor of a faster system.

While this creates some inconveniences for Messenger Marketers, a healthy Messenger ecosystem is better for us in the long run. A better Messenger experience means more time spent on Messenger and more opportunities for people to connect with your business on Messenger.

Video courtesy Facebook Messenger News

We’ll go through the update section-by-section, explain each change, and how it will impact you.

What Won’t Render on the New Messenger App

These elements will no longer show up when a user is interacting with your bot.

Location Quick Replies

Location quick reply which allows people to send their location in the Messenger thread will no longer be rendered. We recommend businesses ask for zip code and address information within the thread. While we are sunsetting the existing version of Share Location, in the coming months we will be introducing new ways for people to communicate their location to businesses in more valuable ways.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • Using a quick reply to gather a customer’s location as a custom field will no longer work.

How you can update your bot

How you deal with this change will depend on why you’re gathering or sharing location information.

  • If you’re qualifying leads based on region, update your reply type for your user input block to “text” and ask for city, state, or zip code.
  • If you need an exact address, you may want to use multiple user-input questions so that you’ll have discreet custom fields for address, city, zip code, state, country, etc.

*Note* All of these solutions are temporary – Facebook mentioned it will be coming out with a better location sharing option after this update.

Share Buttons

Share Button within the media, list and generic templates will no longer render. People can use the Messenger forward functionality instead of the Share Button.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • Share buttons will no longer appear on cards, lists, and other media after August 15th, 2019.

How you can update your bot

  • Make sure that when you have a “share” call-to-action (CTA) it’s still eligible for Messenger’s native forward function. That’s the little up arrow button on the side here:
 
  • If you’re missing the “forward button”, it’s probably due to having a button on your card that replies to the bot. The “forward button” only appears for cards that only have URL buttons inside them.
  • You can still bring attention to the forward button in a separate message below your card or by photoshopping in a little arrow towards it inside your image.
    • The forward button is placed in the center of the card, so you’ll have to test where it lands before adding an arrow to your image.
  • Make sure to remove any share buttons that are still in your bot after August 15th. While they won’t appear to users, it could end up confusing team members who come to edit the bot later.

What Won’t Function with the New Messenger App

These elements will no longer work in the new Messenger app.

Sharing From Webpages Inside Messenger

Begin share flow Messenger extension SDK that allows developers and businesses to trigger a share experience from a webpage that loads within Messenger . As a workaround, developers can generate a link using the context in the webview and provide a way for users to copy the link and share it in the Messenger conversation.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • When viewing a webpage from inside Messenger, share links on those webpages will no longer trigger sharing on Messenger. 
  • The majority of ManyChat bots shouldn’t be affected by this.

Sharing to Messenger From Inside Other Mobile Apps

Share to Messenger SDK that allows people to share links and media from apps to Messenger will no longer be supported. Businesses and developers might need to make modifications to their app to trigger native OS sharing. People will be able to share content to Messenger using the native sharing features that is built into their devices.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • Share to Messenger links that are inside other mobile applications will no longer work. People will still able to share to Messenger using iOS and Android native share features.
  • This shouldn’t impact the majority of ManyChat bots.

Messenger Codes

Messenger Codes the Messenger camera will no longer support scanning these codes. We believe this experience will be more seamless by leveraging the phone’s native capabilities to scan QR codes with m.me links.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • This one’s been coming for a while—Messenger codes will no longer work.

How you can update your bot

  • Create a Messenger ref URL for the appropriate flow using the Ref URL Growth Tool.
  • Use a QR code generator to turn it into a QR code (there are several free ones online).
  • Replace your existing Messenger Codes with the new QR codes.

Many phones already recognize standard QR codes when operating their camera. That means fewer steps between a user and your bot.

By the way – we are currently building a QR code growth tool for ManyChat to make this whole process more smooth. Keep your eyes peeled for the update.

What Will Render Differently in the New Messenger App

These elements will still exist but the way they appear and function will change.

Vertical Lists

Vertical list templates will no longer be supported. Instead, we recommend businesses use the horizontally scrollable carousel templates. Vertical list templates will render as horizontal scrollable carousel template post August 15th.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • Vertical list templates will no longer work. Any remaining will automatically become horizontal carousels.

How you can update your bot

  • To make sure your images look their best after August 15th, go and rebuild any vertical lists into horizontal galleries.

Nested Menus

Nested menu will no longer be supported. To create a more seamless experience for people on Messenger, we are transitioning from nested persistent menu to a single layer menu format. We believe this will create an even better experience for people on Messenger. Nested menu items will render as a flat list.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • If you are using only top-level menu buttons then your bot won’t be affected.
  • If you are using submenus – they will be rendered as a flat list on the top level.
  • We suspect that Facebook will end up reducing the total number of menu options allowed but allow for a longer scrollable list at the top layer.
  • Good news – you will be able to put more than 3 items on the top level menu of your bot.

How you can update your bot

  • Regardless of the outcome above, you could start configuring your menus to work as a series of cards or a gallery. That leaves you with up to 10 cards each with 3 buttons a piece. Plus you get pictures!
  • With our recent update to ManyChat bot, we already made this type of navigation an option. Head over to our Facebook page and type “menu” to try it out.
 

Sharing Streaming Music

Open Graph template which allows people to play songs inline within Messenger will no longer be supported. As a fallback, we are rendering the generic template which links to the URL. When a user clicks on the song that is shared in Messenger, the user will be directed to the audio streaming platform’s website or app.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • Streaming songs shared in Messenger will now link-back to the appropriate audio streaming platform’s website or mobile app.
  • This shouldn’t impact the majority of ManyChat bots.

Messenger Bot Reviews

Messenger Bot Reviews will be removed on August 15, 2019. They allowed people to leave a star rating and review for a bot. Page owners will no longer be able to view these ratings for their app and Page in the Page Settings or in App Dashboard.

Facebook Platform Messenger Changelog, June 10th, 2019

What it means for ManyChat users

  • Bot reviews will no longer available.

How you can update your bot

  • If you want to gather user feedback on your bot, you can build out a quick flow to request a rating using either buttons or a user input field.
  • This update creates an excellent opportunity to ask users who give a high-rating to write a review for your business or share it with your friends. You can also tag these users to segment for future outreach.
 

That’s a wrap for this Facebook update.

As you can see, Facebook is working hard to make Messenger lighter, simpler, and faster. While Facebook is sunsetting some features, all-in-all a quicker Messenger means more people using it—more often. And, that’s good for business.