EP 44: How To Prepare For Facebook Messenger Changes Coming in 2020

Episode Summary:

In “How To Prepare For Facebook Messenger Changes Coming in 2020,” the Messenger Mastermind team discusses the changes coming to FB Messenger in 2020 and how they will affect how marketers use messenger going forward. We discuss the pros and cons of these changes and how you can prepare and adapt going into the new year.
Learn more about the Messenger Mastermind team at: www.Messengermastermind.co


Episode Highlights:

  1. 1:31 What is the BIGGEST change coming to Messenger as of January 15, 2020?
  2. 5:47 Should you shift you mindset about the kinds of messages you send in ManyChat?
  3. 8:34 Why Facebook is making these changes, and how it can actually BENEFIT Marketers
  4. 10:50 What should you be doing until January 15 to boost your list numbers?
  5. 14:10 The Annual ManyChat Conference: The Five major ManyChat shifts and what to be aware of


Resources Mentioned:

  1. Facebook Messenger Tool – Manychat
  2. Email Platform- Klaviyo
  3. Ecommerce CRM – Drip


Episode Transcript:


Jeremy: Welcome, welcome, to another week’s episode of the Messenger Mastermind podcast. As always, I’m your host, Jeremy Horowitz, joined my incredible co-hosts, Mark Arruda, and Ben Vandal. How are y’all doing today?


Mark: What’s up, Jeremy? How’s it going, Ben?


Ben: Jeremy, happy to be back, man.


Jeremy: Yeah, glad we got the band back together and are recording again. So, today, we want to cover two topics. First, the announcements that Facebook has recently rolled out that will take effect on everyone’s Messenger account by January 15, 2020. And, the second one is some of the announcements from the recent ManyChat conference. So, Mark, do you want to quickly break down what are the announcements that Facebook has recently made, and what are the changes that everyone should be expecting in their Facebook account?



Mark: Yeah. The biggest change coming as of January 15, 2020 is the end of free broadcasting. So, we knew this was coming, we’ve been discussing this for a while, expecting it: as of January 15, we now have to pay-to-play to send out broadcasts to our lists.


Jeremy: Yeah, and could you just quickly break down what the change we’re expecting to see is?


Ben: Yeah, so, we are going to move into the sponsored message category for our broadcasts for everybody. We’ve talked about this before briefly in the past episodes.


What that is: it’s an ad placement in the Facebook paid advertising side. ManyChat will be rolling this out in their platform as well. But, some of the things that make this a little different: one, obviously the biggest one, is that you have to pay to send a broadcast to your list—it’s about 1-2 cents per message opened (you pay per open). You schedule it over a duration. So if you have some kind of flash sale, you can do it over a 24 hour period. If you want it to be organic, you can do it over a 30 day period.


The big deal about this that makes it a little bit better—we’ve talked about implementing different segmentations inside your ManyChat platform. On the sponsored message side, you’re going to be able to target a lot better by using the Facebook Ads platform. You can target age, you can target demographic, you can target location, you can use custom-built audiences on your back end.


So, it’s going to be really advantageous in some ways, even though it’s not going to be organic and free, will have to pay for it. But it does have its advantages.


Mark: I think the thing that is most important that Ben just mentioned there is the targeting and, most importantly, being able to identify who is a past customer and not a past customer. Previously, when sending free messages with ManyChat, this was always the biggest pain point that we had as marketers, was that we were never able to 100% identify who has made a purchase and who hasn’t.


So, now, with paid broadcasting through Facebook, we are going to be able to do that. And, yes, it’s paid, whereas ManyChat was free. But, when you compare the price of 1-2 cents of a Facebook messenger compared to anywhere from 7, 8, or more cents, through an SMS text message, it actually is a really good deal.


Ben: And just to go back on who you can broadcast to, the rules right now in Facebook for sponsored messages are that you can contact anybody who has interacted with your bot in the last calendar year.


Jeremy: That sounds awesome. And, yeah, I think a big piece of kind of a mindset shift that at least I’m seeing is we’ve been talking and we’ve been treating Messenger really as a channel very akin to email, where you have to get the person on your list first, you want to send them as many free messages and get them to engage, and there’s not quite as much targeting.


Whereas now, moving over to sponsored messages and putting this a little bit more as—I see as an advertising channel, you really get the full power of Facebook’s ad infrastructure to now really slice and dice who you message, how you message them. And of course, there are going to be a couple of trade-offs. But, as Mark and Ben said, it’s a cent or two per message sent.


All of these things we’ve been talking about—all of the strategies we’ve been breaking down so far—are still going to be really ROAS positive as you’re still hitting people in these intimate channels. And so, I think the really important thing to think about here is: how do you want to use this channel now that you do have to pay for it?


So, I know, Ben, you’ve been building a lot out recently. Has there been any shift in your mindset around what types of messages you’re going to send now that you might not have before?


Ben: Yeah, so, I think the big change going forward is you’ll be able to lead with the promotion. Again, I wouldn’t consider that the best practice, but if you do have a message that you think is very important that people see, you can lead with that promotion, and you don’t have to worry about coming up with an engaging question that people have to click in order to see your offer. So, that’s number one.


Number two is, like we talked about a lot, is targeting. We’re going to get super granular, and you’ll be able to send a different message to people who haven’t purchased, who have purchased, your warm audiences versus someone who just came in the door, so it’s just—it’s a little bit different, because you do still have to get them to interact with your bot at first in order to send them a promotional message or a sponsored message in this case. But, I think, the benefits far outweigh the cons in this area, and we’ve talked about how this will separate the real marketers from the spammers. We’ve talked about that for the past year or so.


Mark: Hundred percent. I definitely want to highlight what you said there, Ben, regarding not having to open with a non-promotional message, and I do absolutely agree: you don’t (even when you’re paying) just want to open—punch them in the face with free shipping offers and stuff like that. But, there is potentially still a time or place—maybe on, like, a Black Friday—where people are more accepting of being able to open a message and the very first thing is a promotion.


Whereas before, we were always in the constant battle of a non-promotional message being first and making sure it was as engaging as possible so that the second message would actually be seen. So, even with our tactics of making sure that it was as engaging as possible, we would still, Ben, what, about 50% of people not make it to the second message?


Ben: Yeah.


Mark: So, that’s 50% of people not being able to see your promotion. Whereas now, where we’re paying one to two cents a message, we know that, right off the jump, everyone will see that message, which is really powerful.


Ben: Yeah, and another thing to deal with here that you’re going to have to make a business decision on is: it doesn’t really logistically make sense to send content through this platform anymore.


You can—if it is really valuable for you, and you really value your content and want your customers to see it—but now, whereas you would be able to broadcast it organically on the ManyChat platform prior to this update, going forward, you’re going to have to make a decision about how much content you want to give. It might actually switch from leading with the promotion and following up with the content.


So, we’ll have to get creative, but it’ll force us to get creative, which is good.


Mark: Right. I mean, and as we know, Facebook’s move kind of comes down to two things. One, they obviously want to make money off this channel. And, two, there’s been a lot of people who have been abusing this platform. So, by this happening, yes, we have to pay, but now, it just got a little more exclusive to play in this club.


Which means that people that were potentially, come Black Friday, receiving ten messages in 24 hours from different brands are much less likely to be receiving a bunch of crap from everyone, and we are going to be much more able to break through all the noise that was previously there.


Jeremy: Yeah, I really agree with both of you, and I think that by having everyone pay to play, it’s just going to make them think about the messages that they’re sending and really just make it more valuable. Where, sure, some of the bigger brands will still be able to send whatever messages they want—and they have the budget to do that—I think, really, this is a good standardization move for the platform as a whole. Again, I mean, we’ve been talking about this for a year, but it’s just worth hitting home again that Facebook does not want this channel to become the next email.


They’re going to do everything in their power to protect the user experience here. And, unfortunately, for the past two years and three years, people have just been ignoring the rules. And so, now, we are just in this new position where you’re going to pay—and to be perfectly honest, this is the starting price. I can only imagine that it’s going to get more expensive from here as Facebook sees this as another ad channel.


I would not be surprised if an auction-based system was introduced into this channel as well. But, when you think about it, a cent or two per click—and even if that goes up to twenty cents or fifty cents per click, I’m sorry, per open. It doesn’t cost that much, and the effectiveness that we’ve seen drive way, way more revenue than most other channels.


Mark: Hundred percent. So, let’s maybe take a minute—unless you guys have other things you’d like to highlight on this—to discuss what exactly we should be doing up until January 15. You guys want to go into that a little bit?


Ben: Yeah, sure.


Mark: Okay, so, one thing that we’re trying to think about is the fact that we still have several months where we can reach these people through ManyChat for free. So, what we’re trying to do in a non-aggressive, non-spammy kind of way, is take our list—which we have 60,000 people subscribed to our ManyChat—and move them into our other channels. And I’ll give you an example.


If you’re able to have some sort of content that you are distributing on another channel, for instance, on a Facebook group, send out a broadcast message to your ManyChat list, and tell them that this piece of content that is hopefully appealing to them lives over in you Facebook group.


We did this, and we saw—I want to say—close to 1,000 people join our Facebook Group within a 24 hour span, just off of doing this. And we fully expect to be doing similar tactics over the next few months for our email list, and our SMS list, probably several times. So we’re just going to take all of the access, all of the free opportunity that we have to reach these people over the next few months and do our best to splinter them off into our other channels as we always do.


Ben: Yeah, and this is a super interesting tactic. And something else you have to really consider—I know a lot of people seeing this might hear, you know, “January 15, the last day I can do it, so I just gotta plow out as many sales as I can, free.” But, what Mark’s talking about is starting with content, right, and really building a relationship for everyone that’s currently on your list, and showing them that you’re providing value so that after January 15, they’ll still open your messages that are promotional through the Facebook side, even though you’ll be paying, your open rate will be better, and people will expect, “Well, I did get a bunch of good stuff out of them on the content side leading up to January 15,” and now it’s been a lot of promotions, that hopefully they’re hooked on your product already anyway.


Jeremy: Yeah, definitely. I would say that: keep using it as a super valuable free channel—I mean, this should be a banner year for Messenger for BFCM. It’s never going to be cheaper, and it’s never been more developed. I would say definitely start splintering them off into other channels either through giveaways, exclusive content, early access to promotions or product launches—yeah, Mark said Facebook groups—I think SMS is another big one.


And then, last but not least, I couldn’t agree with Ben more. Just prep the lists so that you don’t get them burned out, so you don’t get complaints—again, if enough people flag your Facebook account, you could lose access to ads. So, definitely don’t try to burn your list out going into holiday.

Really start to think about what types of targeting and sponsored messages you want to do now that you have access to all those deep integrations. I think the people who are really ahead of the game coming into January from the ads perspective will be the ones who are going to see massive, massive success in the channel next year.


Mark: Totally, yeah. We’re in it for the long run here. We’re not just trying to make a quick buck, you know?

Jeremy: So, I think that’s a good transition, now that we’ve laid out all the tectonic shifts that are now happening in the landscape.


To cover what happened at the ManyChat conference, recently: So, ManyChat had their big annual conference where they brought the community together and rolled out all of their major announcements.


We’re going to break it down to only about four or five that we think are relevant. We’ll drop the link to their announcement in the episode notes. They rolled out something like nineteen product updates that they’re planning on tackling in the next year. But, for what we cover and what we think are important, here are the four big ones, and then we’ll kind of break down each one for you:


First, ManyChat is getting into SMS and emails.


Second, they just rolled out a Shopify integration for abandoned carts.


Third, they’re going to now allow you to send sponsored messages through the platform.


Fourth, they just rolled out a mobile app for iOS, only.


So, I think to start off with what we talk about a lot, and what’s been really interesting to see in the landscape in general is them getting into SMS and email.


What are your guys’ thoughts on this?


Mark:  Yeah, I guess I can start off. I think that it’s interesting, I think that it has cool potential, I think that it makes a lot of sense for someone who may just be starting out. I think it makes a little less sense if you are an ecommerce company. Just because if you go and look at something like Klaviyo for email, that’s really the most powerful place that you are going to live due to the integrations into things like Shopify, or wherever your ecommerce platform is.


So, it doesn’t really make a ton of sense for an established company or an ecommerce company to maybe shift their email into ManyChat. I would say, pretty similar for SMS as well. Their prices do seem to be somewhat comparable, I suppose. But, again, they lack the integration that a company like PostScript might have. Specifically for, like, Shopify or Magento, and things like that.


Ben: Yeah, so this is kind of a validation statement for ManyChat to everything that we’ve been talking about in the past year or so—that it’s important not just to utilize one of these channels, but to utilize all of them, and make sure that you’re not messaging people the same way on each platform. And this will kind of allow you to do that. So, you’ll be able to see what messages and what emails and what texts are going out, and who’s opening what on what platform.


This is going to become a trend for a lot of different platforms coming up in 2020 and beyond because it’s so important that your marketing plan includes all platform and that all platforms are used differently going forward.


Jeremy: Yeah, I just think that this is so interesting is that they were the Facebook Messenger company and now that they see all of these big shifting elements that they decided to get into email and also SMS—I think also an important piece of context here is that everyone and their mother is getting into SMS.


At the Klaviyo conference, they rolled out that they are going to be getting into SMS. Octate recently rolled out SMS on their platform—this is in addition to the previous players in SMS, like PostScript and SMSBump.


I think that that is going to be the true owned channel that comes out of this. For the life of me, I honestly don’t understand the email play. I mean, Mark, I get that, sure, if you don’t have email, it’s easy to put that into one platform, and maybe for the other people that ManyChat is focusing on, it’ll be super valuable. But for ecommerce, yeah, it would astound me if anyone left Klaviyo or even like a Listrak for ManyChat considering just the basic integrations and the basic data that they lack—even purchase-level data, not even site-level data.


Mark: Yeah, yeah. I agree. I think Ben said it very well—that this is kind of ManyChat grasping at whatever they can at this point, and yeah, it’s true—you don’t just want to focus on one channel. You want them all working together, but I don’t know that having them all living within ManyChat is the strongest way you can do that.


Ben: Yeah, I mean, ManyChat was the Facebook messenger platform, like you talked about, Jeremy. But with these new rules coming out January 15, they don’t really have another option.


I mean there’s a lot behind companies like MailChimp or Drip or Klaviyo even, but this is a play for like 2030 where, hopefully, they can grab up a lot of ecommerce people that are just starting out and get them all on one platform at once and maybe ten years down the road, they’ll be able to catch up to some of the bigger guys. But, yeah, they don’t really have anything else.


Jeremy: Yeah, wow. That’s an insane vision, Ben. 2030—looking out at a decade, two decades.


Ben: I’m already in my flying Tesla at this point.


Jeremy: So, I think, moving to the second big announcement—we’ve been asking for this forever, and it’s nice that it finally came.


They finally rolled out a Shopify integration where you can send messages based on cart abandonment. Mark, I know you all tested this out for a little bit. Do you mind walking through what the experience was like and what you all netted out with?


Mark: Yes. I was super excited when it came out. I’ve been asking for this for two years, I’ve been in talks with people at ManyChat for quite a while, where they were continuously stringing me along, telling me that it was coming, and it’s finally here, so that was exciting.


Setting it up was super easy. It integrated very well into Shopify. That was great. We did end up turning it off, unfortunately, after a couple of days. We did find it to have a few issues—a little bit buggy. A couple things might have just kind of conflicted with either our theme or some apps. Like, the abandoned cart triggers and add to cart, and it created a popup to accept messenger at that time, which kind of conflicted with other things we had going on of like, cross-sells and upsells.


So, unfortunately, we turned it off. I do think it will get better, though. I do think that, you know, this is just their first run at it, and it will improve, and that it does have very good potential.


Jeremy: Cool, yeah. I mean, I think forcing capturing someone’s user information in a popup is such a terrible User Experience. Especially on the Abandoned Cart, where you just want them to check out as quickly as possible—it kind of takes some time and some learning of how ecommerce works and how the other players in the ecommerce messenger space have figured out and optimized to really capture that information, make it a seamless user experience, and create as much value for the merchant as possible.


Yeah, I think, it’s a good first move, it’s exciting to see—I think it’s about a year late. But I think it’ll be definitely interesting to see where they go from here and whether they decide to go deeper and broader. Are they going to dig into purchase information? Are they going to allow for things post-purchase, or even top of the funnel, like browse abandonment? I think that’s a very interesting feature that Octane has rolled out this year that’s—just like it was a big win in Klaviyo, I think it will be a big win in Messenger as well.


Moving onto the next big announcement was that now you are allowed to build sponsored messages from within ManyChat. This is another thing that all the other messenger players have been working on this year as well.


I guess my one question—and, Ben, I think it’s a little more targeted toward you since you spend so much time in Facebook: if you were going to build a sponsored message, would you go out of the Facebook Ads Manager platform into another tool to build those sponsored messages, or would you just do everything within Facebook?


Ben: Yeah, I personally wouldn’t. I prefer—and I’m pretty comfortable in Ads Manager. I could see how someone who isn’t familiar with Ads Manager and just wants to get going on the platform could use something like ManyChat or Octane to get it going.


It’s essentially the same tool, just mirrored in the ManyChat platform. I just like the familiarity of the platform for me, and making sure that I have full control on the Facebook side of things.


Mark: Yeah, I think it makes sense from the ManyChat side. If the bot that you’re building is pretty complex, if there’s a lot going on, if there’s a lot of interactions, then ManyChat might make a little more sense than Facebook. But if you’re sending out something pretty basic—a simple message, maybe one interaction with a follow-up, it might be best to just go through Facebook for that.


Jeremy: Yeah, I agree: I think it’s a User Experience thing. Some people will be intimidated by the Facebook Ads Manager and I think they’re just trying to scoop up those people and keep them in the platform as much as possible. If all broadcast is moving over to sponsored messages, I think owning that experience for any of the messenger vendors is going to be super important.


All right, onto the very last topic here: ManyChat rolled out a mobile app. Who wants to take this one?


Ben: Yeah, so I actually downloaded the ManyChat mobile app, because I was very excited on this: the mobile experience on ManyChat has been kind of limited on the developers’ side of things. I was a little disappointed to find that it’s only a live chat app—which does make sense if you want your CS team to download it, or if you’re a “Solopreneur,” as they call them, and you want to get in touch with people who message your page or react to your bot—then it’s very useful in that aspect.


But for bigger teams who have bigger lists and get a lot more messages, it’s kind of not practical unless you have a lot of people in there at once.

Which could be useful. But as far as the app goes, it’s just a live chat app.


Mark: My hope for this is obviously that this is just the starting point. If you use ManyChat and if you’ve ever logged into the website from your phone, you’ll see that it’s pretty much unusable entirely.


So, my hope is that they will continue to build this out over time. Like Ben said: there’s not much exciting about it now, but maybe over the next year or so, it’ll become a little more usable for us.


Ben: Maybe 2030, even?


Mark: 2030.


Jeremy: Yeah, I mean, I think it will be interesting. It’s always also fascinating to see what primarily desktop tools—how they translate that into a mobile app. I think, actually, Shopify is one of the best at really replicating all the things you can do on your computer on your mobile phone.


But, like, would you really want to build a bot on your phone?


Mark: Absolutely not. But, I would like to check on stat for a bot from my phone.


Ben: Exactly. Kind of see how your broadcast is doing, track what’s going on—maybe make some quick fixes. But no, I probably wouldn’t want to build a whole bot on my phone.


Jeremy: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I think Google Analytics did this really well: their mobile app is a really awesome seamless experience, of like the highlights and summary reporting, but you can’t go, like, all the way into the weeds on your phone—they save that for the desktop experience.


It’ll be interesting to see if ManyChat pivots their app into something similar. Or, if they keep it as kind of a—what was that other app that Shopify bought? Oh, Kit. That tool for the Solopreneur that is super light: a little bit of customer support, a little bit of marketing, a little bit of reporting. And, just, not really that full, robust app.


But only time will tell. I mean, we’ll see in 2030, I guess.


All right, so, the major takeaways here are:


First, on the Facebook side, free broadcasting is ending January 15 of 2020, whereas Sponsored Messages will really take the helm. One thing to really keep in mind, at least today, well, when that rolls out, you’ll be paying about one to two cents per open, not per send. Which is a really great value so that you’re only paying for opens.


You will also have targeting of the full Facebook Ads Manager platform, so start to think through creative ways you can utilize that and send messages.


And then, on the ManyChat side, they’re moving into SMS and email, they finally have a Shopify integration that today is only for abandoned carts, they’re also going to be diving deeper into the sponsored messages features, and they’ve just rolled out a mobile app which is live support.


We know that there are a lot of elements to this, so if you have any questions, just jump into the Messenger Mastermind Facebook Group. We’ll be able to answer and just have a general discussion around these updates. These things are constantly changing. I’m sure by the time we get to January 15, 2020, things will look a little different as well.


So, we’re just going to try to keep you all updated as we get the new information in. And, if anyone hears anything, please, drop the links in there—we would love to get what the latest updates on all of these things are.