Facebook just announced a major change to its messaging policy for marketers.
Read this article to find out…
- What exactly is changing
- What you need to know for your marketing purposes
- A go-forward Facebook Messenger marketing strategy
Here’s the tl;dr: If your Facebook Business Page is not approved for subscription messaging, then beginning July 31, you can no longer send chat blasts. Instead, you can only send sponsored messages, which cost money, because they’re ads of course.
EDIT: PLEASE READ THE UPDATE AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE.
What’s changing? You may send chat blasts only if you are approved for subscription messaging.
There are three major Facebook Messenger policy changes from March 2020:
- The 24+1 rule is now the 24-hour rule.
- Message tags have been reduced from 17 tags to 4 tags.
- Facebook News Messaging (Subscription Messaging) will only be available to registered, approved news pages.
If you want to send chat blasts in MobileMonkey, your Page must be approved for subscription messaging.
If your Facebook Business Page has not been approved for subscription messaging (find out why), then you will need to send messages as Sponsored Messages, which is a paid ad format.
(Even without approval, you are allowed to send two free promotional messages. This is known as the 24+1 Rule. Details on that below.)
If you are approved for subscription messaging and you want to send promotional messages, these messages must be sent as Sponsored Messages.
How is this different from before?
Previously, any MobileMonkey user could send chat blasts, even if their page didn’t have subscription messaging approval. Facebook generously provided blanket approval to MobileMonkey as a platform, which spread approval across all MobileMonkey users.
Facebook has asked MobileMonkey to rescind that widespread approval so they could better protect Messenger as a marketing channel and better enforce their non-promotional messaging rule.
Now, in order to use subscription messaging, approval must be given at the Page level.
Here’s Facebook’s official word on its developer site.
Starting April 30, 2019, a Page must be approved with the Page-level Subscription Messaging feature in order to use the Broadcast API. Apps were granted the subscription messaging permission at the app-level will no longer be respected. This change is in effect immediately to v3.3+ of the Graph API, and will apply to all lower versions on July 31, 2019.
What’s not changing?
Just as important as understanding what is changing, it’s important to know what’s not changing.
These three things:
1. The 24+1 Policy
Facebook’s 24+1 policy means that your page is allowed to message new contacts (unlimited) for free during the first 24 hours. After that, you’re allowed to send your contacts one promotional message for free.
Let’s say someone sends your page a message. Yay. Your bot pings them back, they respond, and so forth — free and unabated for the first 24 hours.
After that, the free communication shuts down. Almost
You can send them just one more promotional message outside of the 24-hour window for free.
Please note: If your Page is approved for subscription messaging, you can carry on unlimited, non-promotional Messenger conversations with your contacts for free.
Subscription messaging still exists for Pages that have been approved.
3. Non-promotional Messaging rules
The major rule about subscription messaging is this: no promotional content allowed. Nothing. Nada. Nope. No.
Violation of these rules is one of the reasons why Facebook is making it necessary for Pages to become approved for subscription messaging.
Facebook has told us that they will be protecting the integrity of contacts by making sure this non-promotional rule is followed 100%.
If your Page is approved for subscription messaging, take heed. Facebook will be proactive in policing any violation of the non-promotional messaging rule.
What should you do about the change in Messenger policy?
First, if you haven’t already, apply for subscription messaging as soon as possible.
We’ve discussed this topic extensively, so check out these two resources:
- How to Apply and Get Approved for Facebook Subscription Messaging
- All-In-One Subscription Messaging Checklist for Applying and Sending Subscription Facebook Messenger Broadcasts
Second, in the event that your subscription request is delayed and/or denied, seek to get permission from your subscribers to contact them on a different channel (email or phone/SMS)
Third, if you are approved for subscription messaging and want to send a promotional message, no problem! You’ll just need to send it as a sponsored message.
Fourth, please follow the rules.
Everyone gets hurt by people who break the rules. If you are approved for subscription message, respect the rules that Facebook has put in place.
I’m not trying to get all preachy here, but as marketers using Facebook’s platform, Facebook gets to set the rules. And marketers must abide by them.
I’ve learned from experience that Facebook indeed enforces the rules.
So, can you still send chat blasts?
If you are approved for subscription messaging, yes.
If you are not yet approved for subscription messaging, then chat blasting is available in a different form — sponsored messages, which is an ad form. And ads cost money.
Sponsored messages are a paid ad format that allows you to send messages to some or all of the contacts on your contact list.
Sponsored messages typically cost $20-40 per 1,000 impressions. Facebook recommends setting the bid at $30 per 1,000 impressions.
When does this all happen?
This policy change goes into effect on July 31, 2019.
Until this time, Pages not yet approved for subscription messaging can continue to send chat blasts for free. Keep in mind, however, that the rules do apply and are being stringently enforced.
Why the change?
The main reason for the change is the number of spammers that were sending promotional messages under their subscription messaging approval.
Remember, the rule of all rules in subscription messaging is no promotional content.
We’re glad about the change since it’s going to clear out the spammers and shore up the quality of subscription messages that contacts will receive.
Facebook Messenger marketing remains a free channel, but there are low-cost options for promotional messages.
Wrapping it up
The cliche holds true. The only consistent in marketing is change. Take, for example, Facebook’s recent earth-shaking announcements at the F8 Conference. Marketing is an arena of constant shifts
Facebook informed us of this change months ago, but since the information was under embargo, we are only now permitted to release the information.
This change is a good thing. It adds integrity to the channel and protects contacts from spam.
As Facebook’s fastest-growing Messenger partner, we’re interested in helping marketers succeed in the arena of Facebook Messenger marketing. There is a lot of potential in this channel, and we want to help you take advantage of it.
We’ve got your back. Our developers are hard at work creating a sponsored messaging blaster, currently in beta. It delivers the beauty, power, and simplicity of chat blasting, but with the added change of its format as a sponsored message. Stay tuned, because we’re planning to release it as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: We’ve released a second article with seven specific strategies on what exactly to do in the wake of this policy change. Please review it now.
Be a unicorn in a sea of donkeys!
What do you think of this change?
Let us know by heading over to the MobileMonkey Island Facebook page and joining the discussion.
Important Next Steps: