Analysis of the Facebook Messenger platform update of 15 January 2020



Facebook has just announced new changes to the Messenger platform that will come into affect on 15 January 2020. Let’s analyse how this may affect our bots and strategies.

Facebook’s changelog says:
⚠ “We are updating our policies to a 24-hour standard messaging window.”

Facebook is clear about this: it will no longer be possible to send messages outside the 24 hour window, with only ‼ three exceptions ‼:

👉 promotional messaging (paid):

I’m expecting the popular chatbot platforms such as Manychat and Chatfuel to soon announce the option to set these up on their platform, thus making it easier to run this kind of message. The main difference will be that it’s paid where up until now it was free to send 1 message outside the 24 hour window.

For most bots this will mean an improvement. The relevance of content will improve with the costs and thus users will receive less spam. The result will be more trusted experience on Messengers accross the board and a higher read rate for our messages.

👉 post-purchase updates, event reminders, and account updates, and human agent (closed beta):

For these use cases we can add message tags to our follow-up messages, and they can still be sent outside the 24 hour window for free. I’m very curious to learn why the human agent tag is in beta only. At this moment it looks like businesses will need to answer incoming messages within 24 hours or they will lose the opportunity to connect with the user for free. After 24 hours they can still reply, but only by using a paid promotional message.

👉 subscription messaging:

Not surprisingly, the subscription message tag was often abused leading to a bad experience for Messenger users. It will now only be made available to verified (journalistic) news Pages that cover recent news events. Blogs are not in this category. This means subscription messaging will be unavailable for most Pages/bots as of 15 January.

It’s always a bit of a scare when Facebook announces far-reaching updates like this. It’s easy to focus on the work we need to do to comply and the restrictions it poses to our strategies. However, in this case Facebook is clearly trying to improve the quality of the messages that users receive. I am confident that these updates will help to strengthen the open-, read- and engagement rates of well-designed bots that truly want to give their users valuable and engaging content. In that sense, there is little to worry about.

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