The marketing ecosystem today is full of noise; everyone wants to engage and retain their audience, but most marketers end up annoying them. Amidst this chaos, businesses are leveraging different marketing channels to pave their way towards efficient engagement. Hunting untapped channels have become crucial for maintaining the efficient nature of engagement. Facebook messenger push notifications, which is the new kid on the block, comes across as an engagement hero.

 

What are Messenger Push Notifications?

Facebook messenger push notifications are broadcasted media-rich messages that are sent to users who have either initiated a chat with you on Facebook or have given permissions (similar to the classic web push notification permission) to you on the website itself.

Facebook-messenger-push-notifications

 

These notifications appear just like an app push notification received from the messenger, clicking on which, the user lands inside the messenger inbox. Messenger push notifications appear on all the browsers, operating systems, and devices that have messenger installed in it.  

 

What are Messenger Push Notifications Used for?

Messenger push notifications help you build and engage your audience on Facebook messenger. Engaging the audience on a channel with 1 billion+ active users gives businesses a chance to reduce their Facebook ad spend. Messenger push notifications as an engagement channel work best in online retailing and publishing industries where effective touch-points are required to interact with the target audience.

Here are some of the popular use cases:

  • Delivering real-time event updates (news and shipping details) 
  • Updates on newly published content 
  • Utility messages like traffic, weather, and ski snow reports
  • Flight check-in, change, and connection information
  • Sales alerts, new coupons, and product updates 

 

How Are Messenger Push Notifications Different From Web Push Notifications?

Messenger helps businesses interact with their audience like a friend. Delivering messages right inside their messenger inbox allows you to become a part of their personal life, unlike web push notifications that get delivered at an arm’s length. Here are some of the key differences between the two:

  • From a performance PoV, messenger push notifications, being a recently introduced marketing channel, gets 2X of web push notification CTRs and it gets as high as 8X for the emails. 
  • Unlike web push notifications, where users do not need to install any app to receive notifications, messenger push notifications requires users to install Facebook messenger app on their device if they want to receive messenger push notifications. It’ll simply land inside their messenger inbox else-ways.
  • Businesses can target an iOS user with messenger push notification (missing in web push).
  • Shelf life. Unlike web push notifications that keep getting far from a user’s reach in the notification bar as the other notifications kick in, messenger push notifications give a brand its individual space where notifications can stay for eternity.

 

Where Do Messenger Notifications Appear On Desktop and Mobile?

Messenger notifications do not require a user to be active on messenger at the time of delivery. On the desktop, these notifications get delivered like the traditional web push notification from Messenger. On the mobile, a messenger push notification looks similar to an app push notification from Facebook messenger.

There are two notes to take here - First, users must be an active subscriber to receive these notifications or must have initiated a chat on the brand’s Facebook page in the past 24 hours (explained in the messaging section below). Secondly, in order to receive a messenger push notification right next to the task bar, users need to have the messenger app installed. 

 

What Are The Facebook Messenger Message Types?

We know that in order to engage a user on messenger, the conversation must be initiated by the user. Facebook has classified the messaging into three broad types. Each of these messaging has its own set of guidelines attached to it. To give you an overview-

 

Standard Messaging

The standard messaging type is free and has a 24 hours policy attached to it. What it means is that in order to send messages to a user, there must a user interaction within the past 24 hours. Every time the user interacts with the message, the 24-hour limit gets reset in which the brand is allowed to send as many messages as it wants (we advise you to maintain a friendly engaging experience and not push the user away through a bad user experience). 

These messages can be promotional, news, updates, etc. Remember, user clicking on a button that takes the user to another website won’t reset the hourly limit. Once the 24-hour limit is expired, the brand gets one additional message for specific use cases (24+1 policy is only available till January 2020 update).

 

Subscription Messaging (currently in beta)

Subscription messaging requires users to grant permission to the brand to engage them with messages that have no hourly limit attached to it. This version is currently in beta stage and will require publishers to be approved as News Publishers via the NPI (News Page Index) after January 15, 2020. At iZooto, we strongly advise our audience to submit their forms. Applying sooner will fetch you sufficient time for the review and approval process.

What Are the Eligible Subscription Messaging Categories - 

  1. News - Brands that send news updates or share information on sports, finance, business, real estate, weather, traffic, politics, government, non-profit organizations, religion, celebrities, and entertainment.
  2. Productivity - Brands that help users manage their personal productivity with tasks, such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders, and paying bills.
  3. Personal Trackers - Brands that help users monitor their fitness, health, wellness, and finance.

Sponsored Messaging

 

Facebook-messenger-push-notifications-sponsored-message

Sponsored messaging has no conditions attached to it. It doesn’t follow the hourly limit. There is no eligibility criterion for your messages. It can be promotional. The only set back here is that you pay for the engagement. You can reach out to any user that initiated a chat with you at any time with a message that has “Sponsored” marked on it.

 

Enabling Messenger Push Notifications on a Website

Enabling messenger push notifications on your website is a multi-step process. You can connect ONLY one of your Facebook pages to your website. Facebook also requires you to submit a News Page Index Form, on approval of which only you’ll be able to send notifications after January 2020.

Requesting this permission from Facebook requires you to -

  • Connect your messenger notification solution to your Facebook page. 
  • Once that’s in place, log into your Facebook account.
  • Go to settings on the top right.
  • From the left-hand side panel, select advanced messaging. 

Advanced settings messenger

 

  • Scroll down to locate the request button next to subscription messaging and click on it.

Subscription request

  • Select your messaging category (news, productivity and personal tracker) in the form.

If you don’t provide services under productivity and personal trackers, we advise you to select “News”.

 

How Do Facebook Push Messenger Notifications Work?

After connecting your Facebook page to your messenger push notification solution, your website will start showing a messenger prompt. You will be able to send messenger notifications from the dashboard to the audience once it opts-in to receive your messages. 

Facebook-messenger-push-notifications-Anatomy

There are 6 key elements of a messenger push notification:

  • Title - The primary message of messenger notification in bold is called the title. It is present just below the embedded media. 
  • Message - We know that there’s a character limit to the title, crossing which Facebook simply shows a 3 dotted line at the end of the title. A message pasted right below the title is what helps brands describe the notification intent.
  • Website URL - A website URL is shown just below the message in a messenger push notification.
  • Icon - Icons on a messenger notification helps audiences build brand recall. To distinguish your notifications from hundreds of other notifications received by a user, it is always advised to use your brand logo as your notification icon.
  • Media - The messenger platform supports most of the widely used content types. You can embed a video, .gif, a banner image, text, files, etc in a messenger notification.
  • Call To Action Buttons - Up to 3 call-to-action buttons can be used in a messenger push notification. CTA buttons are used to trigger various set of actions. For example - a notification can ask a user to choose content pieces from three distinct titles. 

 

Facebook Messenger Push Notification Opt-ins

To be able to send a messenger push notification to the audience, the brand is required to collect the user’s permission or user’s consent to receive your messages. There are eight ways in which a brand can re-engage a user -

 

1. Customer Chat Plugin

 

Facebook-messenger-push-notifications- opt-in-Customer-Chat-Plugin

The customer chat plugin allows you to bring the messenger experience to the website itself. It lets users chat with the businesses at ease by getting the same media rich and personalized experience offered on Facebook messenger. The plugin automatically fetches the recent chat history of the user and the business from the messenger which helps in creating the single chat experience for the users. Businesses can reply to the messages even after the user has left the website.

 

2. m.me Links

 

m.me-link-opt-in-facebook-messenger-push-notifications

m.me links are the shortened URL that gets pasted on the website, email, newsletter, etc. On clicking on a m.me link, the user is redirected to a specific page inside the messenger. Once the user lands on the page, the chat window shows a message that says - "You have entered this conversation by following a link. We've let PAGE_NAME know you're here."

 

3. Messenger Code

 

Messenger-code

Messenger codes are the scannable profile codes that have dots and dashes circling your profile photo. A user can easily opt-in by simply scanning a messenger code of your page. They work beautifully on fliers, ads, or any platform where your audience can scan them. Using the messenger code API, you can easily get a messenger code for your Facebook page.

In order to scan a messenger code, all a user has to do is:

  1. Open the messenger app on your device
  2. Go to the "People" tab at the bottom right corner
  3. Tap on the add people icon with the "+" sign at the top right corner
  4. Tap on "SCAN CODE" at the top left corner
  5. Press and hold in the viewfinder. Adjust the messenger code at the center of the circle.

After scanning the code, the user will be redirected to the Facebook page of the brand where it can start a conversation with you and become a subscriber. On the desktop, the user will be redirected to messenger.com whereas, on mobile, the user will be sent to the Messenger app.

"As stated by Facebook - the messenger codes might not be available in the upcoming versions. Although they have not specified any reason for the deprecation, the optin process being time consuming could be taken as an obvious one".

 

4. “Message Us” Opt-in

 

Message-us-opt-in-1

The “message us” opt-in is integrated within your app and website. Users that click on the opt-in are redirected to your Facebook page where they can start a conversation with you by clicking on the “Get Started” button and become a subscriber.

 

5. “Send to Messenger” Plugin

 

Send-to-messenger-plugin

The “send to messenger” is similar to the “message us” opt-in as it gets integrated within your app and/or your website. The key difference here is that users can become a subscriber on the website itself without getting redirected to the messenger. It triggers an authentication event to your webhook which lets you add parameters such as purchase ID or user ID. It stores the information of the user, by linking it to the webhook at the backend, and the transaction tied to the event.

 

6. Checkbox Plugin

 

Checkbox-plugin2


A checkbox plugin, similar to “send to messenger” plugin allows businesses to embed a checkbox in their website forms that lets users opt-in to receive the messages. The only difference is that it can be added to almost all the website forms. Whenever an already logged in user lands on the website, it will be shown a checkbox with its profile picture and name mentioned just below the checkbox. This will help the user know which Facebook identity will be entering in communication with your business. If the user clicks on “Not you?”, it clears the active Facebook session stored and presents a login dialog.

 

7. Facebook Page Opt-in

 

Facebook-page-opt-in


Notifications can be sent to a user once it has initiated a chat with you on your Facebook page. Consider setting "Send Message" as your primary CTA for the page.

 

8. Ads That Click to Messenger

 

Ads-that-Click-to-Messenger-1Facebook ads that show up in your feed can also be used to send users to messenger. Businesses can segment users by leveraging Facebook targeting and start re-engaging users. An ad can be created from Ads Manager > Consideration > Messages. You can create custom audiences for retargeting. Ads that click to messenger help you raise brand awareness, generate leads, upsell and tailor the conversation flow in order to meet the specific needs of the users.

 

Messenger Push Notification Templates

Notification templates help you create an engaging user experience by integrating media, buttons, lists, etc in your standard text format. Using these templates businesses can offer information on multiple options that users can choose from. Here are the notification templates currently offered by Facebook:

 

Generic Template

Generic-template

A generic messenger notification template contains a title, a subtitle, an image, and CTA buttons (up to 3). It is the most widely used template as it allows businesses to send a horizontally scrollable carousel (up to 10 in one message). These carousels support images with an aspect ratio of 1.91:1 (images that do not fall under the aspect ratio will get cropped). 

Carousels are best used for messages that are consistent in their information hierarchy, for example - weather forecast list of multiple days, preview list of articles, list of products, etc. It is recommended to limit the number of templates used in a carousel to make it easier for users to remember the options.

 

Button Template 

Button-templateButton template helps with offering multiple responses to given notifications. For example - a notification mentioning Black Friday sale could offer multiple product categories to choose from. You can attach up to three buttons in a button template. The character length should be limited to 20, including spaces. 

These buttons can invoke different types of actions including the likes of Login, Logout, Game Play, Call a Representative, etc. It, however, is advised to not rely heavily on URLs for the buttons. The more conversation you have inside the messenger, the more seamless the experience gets.

 

Media Template 

Media-template-1

As the name suggests, a media template allows you to embed .gif, images and videos in a notification. Animated .gifs and videos sent using the media template can be played inside the messenger conversation. However, if you want the user to consume the content outside messenger, you can use buttons. Remember, you can only attach media URLs that take the user inside Facebook. For external sites, upload it using  Attachment Upload API.

 

Receipt Template 

Receipt-TemplateReceipt templates are used to keep users informed about their orders. The notification here includes an order summary, payment information, and shipping details. Once the order confirmation details are sent to the users, you can send them timely updates on shipping and delivery.     

 

Airline Template 

The airline template is a dedicated notification template that supports use cases like sending boarding passes, check-in reminders, flight updates, and itinerary details. The template has four sub-templates that are specifically designed to share structured updates with the airline customers. 

  • Boarding Pass Template

Boarding-pass-template

The boarding pass template helps airline businesses in sending the boarding passes to the passengers. The template has a “View Boarding Pass” button that opens up the full boarding pass when tapped. 

  • Check-in Template

Check-in-template

The check-in template helps airline businesses in sending a check-in reminder with flight details. The template has a “Check-in” button that takes the user to the check-in page of the airline.

  • Itinerary Template

    Itinerary-Template

The itinerary template helps airline businesses in sending purchase receipt and the flight itinerary to the users. The template has a 'View Details' button that shows the entire flight itinerary when clicked.

  • Flight Update Template

Flight-update-template

The flight update template is used to send flight changes or updates to the users, such as status, schedule, and gate changes.

 

Understanding The Message Tags

 

Reaching out to users outside Standard Messaging with Message Tags

While Standard messaging is free, it has a 24-hour policy restriction attached to itself. With Message Tags, you can message the users 1:1 by sending relevant, important and personal updates, even if you use Standard Messaging. 

It is advised that you should respond to the user within 24 hours of the user messaging you. But with message tags, you have the luxury and freedom to reach out to users after the Standard Messaging window. 

Even with Message tags, though you can message users after the 24-hour window, you can not send them promotional messages. If you do, you may be restricted when it comes to sending more messages. Here is a table of what each tag is and what is allowed and what is not -

 

Tags

Description

Allowed

Disallowed

  • CONFIRMED_EVENT_UPDATE

Users can be updated about an upcoming event or an event that is currently taking place if they have registered for it.

  • You can remind users if the user has enrolled for a class, has booked an appointment, or registered for an event.
  • Assure users by sending them a registration confirmation for an event or an appointment
  • Update users about transportation details- arrivals, cancellations, baggage delay or any status/schedule change
  • Any promotional content like offers, deals, coupons, and discounts.
  • Update on an event the user has not registered for
  • Content related to events in the past or any poll, reviews to surveys.

POST_PURCHASE_UPDATE

If a user has purchased something recently, inform them about any update on the product.

  • Confirmation messages like invoices or receipts.
  • Updates on the shipping status
  • Any change in the order the user placed, if the credit card declined or back-order items the user can be informed.
  • Any promotional message like deals, promotions, coupons, and discounts. 
  • Messaging users about a cross-sell or upsell of a product or service.   
  • Notifying users about being a part of any survey, poll, or review

ACCOUNT_UPDATE

Informing users about a non-recurring change in their account or their application.

  • Any change in application status (e.g., credit card, job)
  • Alerting users about suspicious activity such as fraud
  • Promotional content, like deals, promotions, coupons, & discounts.
  • Recurring content (e.g., the statement is ready, the bill is due, new job listings)
  • Prompts to any survey, poll, or reviews

HUMAN_AGENT
(Closed BETA)

It allows you to respond to user queries and doubts. In this, messages can be sent within 7 days after a user sends a message.

  • Human-agent support for queries and issues that can not be resolved within the standard messaging window. (e.g., if your business is closed on the weekend, the query requires >24 hours to resolve it)
  • Any automated message
  • Messages that are not relevant to the user inquiry

 

While it still stands true that any promotional messages can only be sent via Standard Messaging and Sponsored Messaging. 

 

The Non Promotional Subscription Tag

With this tag, you can send non promotional messages to users who have subscribed to messenger push notifications. According to the Messenger platform subscription policy, you can send messages that in no way promotes you brand directly. Here is what is included in the tag and what isn't - 

 

Tags

Description

Allowed

Disallowed

NON_PROMOTIONAL_SUBSCRIPTION

  • Non-promotional messages  included in this tag
  • You can apply for access to use this tag under the Page Settings > Messenger Platform.

Any message that pertains to news, Productivity, and Personal Trackers are included in this tag.

 

After March 4th, 2020 publishers require to be approved as News Publishers via the NPI (News Page Index), and only then can they send messages.

 

Note: Page that fall under these categories need to immediately register with the News Page Index to make sure that there is ample time to get it reviewed and approved before the new policies go into effect.

 

Permission UX - The Right Way To Ask A User To Subscribe To Messenger Notifications

Facebook messenger notifications is a permission-based channel, which gives users the power to choose if they want to receive messages from you or not. As marketers, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to identify users who have an interest in your brand, and to reach out to them with relevant notifications. 

While the prompt asks for permission to send notifications, it does not make sense to show it to them as soon as the page loads. The users might not even know if they are interested in your brand, let alone receive notifications from you. Not only does it hamper the user experience, but it also decreases the chances of users subscribing on the first go. Don’t come across as an annoying website that just wants to put their interest before the users’. 

Let the users show intent before you display the prompt. Give them time to browse your website, understand what your brand is all about and then show them the prompt. 

 

Slaying it with Messenger push notifications across devices

The messages you send your users will get delivered to them no matter what device your users are on. This cross-device capability helps send messages to users on desktop, mobile (both Android and iOS) and tablets. Reach out to users whenever, wherever and on whatever device. 

 

The iOS crusader - How Messenger Push Notifications Can Be Alternative To Web Push Notifications

Marketers have been using web push notifications to engage, retain and retarget from quite some time now and seem amazing results. But, when it comes to reaching out to users on iOS, web push notifications have taken a back seat. All the leading browsers with the exception of Safari on iOS support service workers and web push API, making iOS push notification a distant reality.

With messenger push notifications, there is finally a workaround to reach out to users on iOS. iPhone users account for more than 45% of all smartphone users in the United States, and the number is just growing. You can’t afford to turn a blind eye on these users anymore. 

111

Source

Messenger push notifications give you the luxury to reach out to users on iOS and engage with them. This gives you an opportunity to increase the number of subscribers who you can reach out to and build a loyal audience base. 

 

What Are Messenger Notifications Used For?

Messenger notifications are used by different businesses for different purposes. Some use it for updating users with news, some use it to share the shipping updates, while some use it to inform users about flight schedules. Here are some messenger push notification use cases that businesses make use of- 

Industry-wise use cases

  • News and media                                                                 

Publishers can send out real-time news updates, keeping users abreast of what is happening around the world. A lot of people depend on Facebook to get their daily news. Facebook messenger push notifications is a wonderful solution to send breaking news and flash news making sure that they heard it first from you. You can also send real-time event updates like cricket scores to make sure users don't miss out on anything. News-and-media                                        

  • Content publishers- Bloggers

Users can be kept in the loop when they publish new content. You can segment the users and send relevant Facebook messenger push notifications according to the genre of content they usually read. You can announce the event that is being held in the town or a podcast that has been uploaded to make sure they are well informed.

Content-publishers--Bloggers-Notification-text-

  • Travel and hospitality

Send booking confirmation, inform the users about a price surge, show them the different kinds of packages you have to offer and lure them into planning a trip. Send them flight reminders, update them about a flight's status, share reward programs with users and encourage them to write feedback with Facebook messenger push notifications. 

Travel-and-hospitality

  • Online food chains

With Facebook messenger push notifications you can flaunt the new dishes you have added to your menu, share an offer code they can redeem or tell them what is your most popular dish. Online food chains can make use of this solution to update users about their food delivery status to keep them informed. 

Online-food-chains

  • Healthcare

    Users need to be updated about delivery status or informed about the availability of the medicine that is back in stock. With Facebook messenger push notifications you can make sure that the users are informed in real-time. Send users alerts to remind them to buy their next set of medicines or a consultation reminder.

Healthcare

  • Banking industry

With Facebook messenger push notifications you can make sure the user is informed about their account, make an announcement about any change you make in the banking policies and update them about any new scheme you come up with.

Banking-industry

  • Ed-tech businesses

You can remind the users about the courses they have enrolled, announce about new chapters added to the course, and remind them about a test and share the test results. Share updates about the courses they have enrolled and keep them in the loop. 

Ed-tech-businesses

  • SaaS

Send price drop alert, festive offers, remind them about trial expiry and change in policies. Share content that would help them understand your product better or help them grow their business. Send them product updates, request for reviews and ask for feedback.

SaaS-2

  • E-commerce

With Facebook Messenger, you can help users make a choice, guide them to make a purchase and answer their queries. You can share delivery details to make sure they are well informed. Users can be encouraged to have a conversation and lead them to purchase.

E-commerce

 

How To Create An Effective Messenger Notification Strategy?

An effective messenger notification strategy can give you amazing click-through rates and even outperform email and web push if executed well. Here is what you need to keep in check-

Personalize the experience

No one wants to receive a notification that is not relevant to them. The one size fits all approach does not yield as much as a personalized message would. Mass messages get annoying after one point of time and will lead to unsubscriptions. This means that you need to segment users based on geography, interests, physiography & behavior, user status and loyalty. Accordingly, send messages to users that would spur interest or update them with information that caters specifically to them. Flight updates, news relevant to interest, shipping updates are examples of notifications that can be sent once you embrace personalization. 

Keeping time zones in check

Time zones exist, and it is about time marketers start taking it seriously. Sending messages in the wrong timezone is absurd. Imagine you receive a Facebook messenger notification in the evening that reads - 'Top 5 songs to listen to start your day’. Or a messenger push notification that you read first thing in the morning, that talks about 5 ways to sleep like a baby. Absurd! Make sure that you adhere to time zones for a good user experience. 

Adding Call To Action (CTA)  buttons

Encourage users to take action, by showing them the next step that needs to be taken. Provoke an immediate response, by using action words. You can also provide them up to 3 options to choose from, giving them the power to make the right choice.

Using media to evoke emotions

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But with Facebook messenger notifications, you can speak volumes with videos and gifs. Adding a media makes the conversation interesting and helps you convey the information in a jiffy. 

 

The Don'ts

Watch the frequency

Don’t send users notifications, just because you can. Receiving too many notifications can be irritating, especially if they are not personalized. Do not go overboard with Facebook messenger notifications, the users will end up blocking you.

Don't send promotional messages

If you are on a subscription model, make sure that you do not send promotional messages. Facebook will ban your website if you start misusing the platform to send promotional messages. 

 

Limitations

Notifications do not appear on Desktop

Unless subscribed to notifications on Facebook, your users will not be notified on the desktop when you send them a Facebook messenger push notification. But the notification would appear in their inbox. (The users would be notified on mobile if they have installed the Facebook messenger app.) 

Promotional messages can not be sent on the Subscription model  

If you plan to send promotional messages, it needs to fall under ‘Standard messaging’ or needs to be a 'Sponsored message'. This might lead to losing out on an opportunity to reach out to a potential customer if they do respond in 24 hours. 

 

How to unsubscribe from Facebook messenger notifications?

Users can unsubscribe to notifications by turning off messages, as shown in the image below.  

Screenshot-3

 

Another way a user can unsubscribe is when a brand sends out a notification with options for the user to unsubscribe, just the way emails provide an option to unsubscribe from the mailing list.

 

Ban Prevention

Facebook bans websites if they do not adhere to the Facebook Community Standards. The Facebook community states that any notification/post that pertains to Violence and criminal behavior, that hampers someone’s safety, posting objectionable content, harming integrity and authenticity, hampering intellectual property, adverse content-related requests get blocked. 

If your Facebook page has been blocked even if you did not send any sensitive information, then run it through the Facebook debugger. This shows the information that is used when website content is shared on Facebook Messenger.

You can also use the OpenGraph protocol to see how your markup appears to the Facebook crawler and how it appears to your users.   

If the message is newsworthy and in public interest, Facebook exempts the clauses and goes against their Community standards, making it possible to send the right information at the right time. 

 

Build vs Buy

Should you build your own Facebook messenger notifications solution or use a 3rd party service provider? This is a question a lot of brands have. Building a solution requires a lot of time and effort, which you would have to dedicate while running your core business. You would be required to 

  • Develop the solution
  • Test and release the product
  • Fix the bugs  
  • Ensure security
  • Provide ongoing support and maintenance
  • Keep in sync with the technology updates

Make a choice taking all this into consideration. It goes without saying that you can not compromise on your core business, you need to make the right choice. We would advise that you let experts take the load off of you and help you market on Facebook effortlessly. 

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