Please note: this blog was written before the EU changes made in December 2020. Please contact me for further information on compliance and chatbot functionality.
Chatbots – what not to do if you want to stay compliant
Chatbots. They personalise customers’ experience with your business, automate repetitive tasks and they are a fantastic addition to your omni-channel marketing. Sound great don’t they? Well, yep I think they are. BUT, yes there is a but – how much do you know about keeping your Facebook Messenger chatbot compliant?
It’s not exactly the sexiest of words, but if you are considering adding a chatbot to your (Facebook) user experience, it’s worth spending a bit of time reading up on compliance. Breach the rules and – just like ads – Facebook will penalise your account.
And it’s not good enough to gen up just once.. This is Facebook after all, the rules are always changing and being added to!
Facebook’s principal aim for its Messenger platform is for businesses to get their customers into a conversation with a human as soon as possible. When you link a chatbot to Messenger (I use ManyChat) it’s important to remember this. What Facebook doesn’t want – and is checking for – is bots that are built to constantly spam customers with messages they never signed up to receive. It wants brands to have conversations with customers, and therefore kick-start more meaningful relationships. So you, as a business, need to think creatively. What engaging ways can a chatbot benefit your audience and not repel them?
The 24-Hour window
One of the main Facebook regulations relates to the way your chatbot sends messages to people in a promotional manner. Back in March 2020, Facebook introduced the ‘24 Hour Window’ rule. The idea of this policy is to ensure you are servicing your users well. Facebook wants you to get back to your customers or potential customers in a timely fashion. In short, if a subscriber engages with your business via a chatbot, you have 24 hours to send them any promotional message you want. Outside of this 24 hours, you need to use the correct tag, or send a Sponsored Message, in order to send a message.
ManyChat explains this rule best. “After 24 hours have passed since a subscriber’s interaction with your business, you cannot send them a message, unless you’ve gotten their expressed permission to do so (via a One Time Notification), or if the message falls under one the predefined use cases, or you pay to send it using Sponsored Messages.”
The importance of tagging
For any communication your chatbot sends outside the 24-Hour Window, Facebook wants you to tag these messages with one of these labels: Post-Purchase Update; Confirmed Event Reminder or Account Update. If you don’t then your message won’t be delivered!
However, it is also important to play by the rules even when using these tags. Use of the tags alone is not enough to avoid your bot from getting into trouble with Facebook.
For example, let’s look at Confirmed Event Reminder. If you create a bot to try to get sign-ups for a webinar, you can only use this tag for customers who have actually registered for the event, ie: they have given their email/telephone number/contact information and are expected to attend. Even when you use this tag, make sure the language you use in the message gives it the correct context. For example:
“Here’s a reminder of the link for the event we are running next week.” No. This is not clear enough.
“Hey, here’s a friendly reminder of the event you signed up for. We are live in 20 mins.” This message explicitly states that the user has signed up.
Let’s look at another: Post-Purchase Update.This tag is to be used for shipping updates, receipts or returns etc. It cannot be used for upsells and cross-sells. For example:
“Thank you for your purchase. Here is another product you may be interested in…” No. This is promotional.
“Thank you for your purchase. Your product has been shipped – here is your tracking number.” Yes, this explicitly meets the requirements of that specific tag.
If paying for sponsored messages isn’t within your budget consider this clever work around. Try to capture the user’s name and email address within the 24-hour window and then you can move them into an email sequence. Emails and texts within the ManyChat application are not subject to the same 24-hour rules.
Chatbot marketing has incredible potential, when used properly! The ability to personalise your messages and deliver them right into the Messenger inbox of your audience is powerful. But please… please.. Do your research and implement and build them properly.
Do get in touch if you need help – or just a chat! I can do full bespoke set-up and management for you, or give you enough guidance to get you started.
Want to read up further on compliance? The latest guidance from ManyChat can be found here: