24 hour rule
24h chatbot rule is one of the most limiting rules in the Facebook Messenger Policy. It was introduced to facilitate the efficiency of business-to-customer communication and to help people and businesses to connect efficiently on Messenger.
Previously (until March 4th, 2020) it was known as the “24+1” rule, and many chatbot developers got used to it already. After March 4th Facebook changed that rule to make it even more strict. Some chatbot platforms (and not-so-good marketers too!) are afraid of it, but our experience demonstrates that there’s nothing to worry about if you have your conversation done right!
Basically, the rule means that you have 24 hours after the user interacts with your chatbot (for the first time, or consequently) to send all kinds of messages – promotions, updates, quizzes, etc. Outside of that window, before March 4th you could send just a single message to the user. If they did not respond to it, you could not send anything else.
After March 4th, the policy changes to “24h strict”. If your chatbot messages someone and they do not respond in 24 hours, you cannot message them again unless your communication falls into one of four categories (“message tags”) designed by Facebook for recurring communication (event updates, post-purchase updates, account updates or human agent responses).
Once the user interacts with your chatbot or Facebook Page, the 24-hour window re-opens and your chatbot can send any type of content again. Possible interaction types include:
- a user sends a message to the chatbot
- a user clicks a call-to-action button like “Get started” within a Messenger communication
- a user starts a conversation through the plugin like “Send to Messenger plugin” or “Checkbox plugin”
- a user clicks on the m.me link to your chatbot
- a user posts or comments on your Page
- a user reacts to the message sent by the chatbot
Facebook plans to introduce one-time notifications in early 2020. It will allow your chatbot to send relevant one-time notifications provided that the subscribers explicitly opted in for it. We will update this part once the feature is live.
In recent years, Messenger Policy was not strictly enforced by Facebook. A lot of Pages were sending messages and broadcasts outside of the 24-hour window and it was ok (at least it seemed so, although some Pages got banned for doing this). In 2019, Facebook started automatically blocking the delivery of messages that break that rule, and if you continue to do so after March 4th, you risk getting banned from Facebook.
So, to stay safe and use Messenger chatbots efficiently, you are advised to design the interaction process wisely and use some simple tricks to re-engage your users to keep the conversation window open:
- Try to get contact’s lead data (like email or phone number) early in the process of establishing the connection, so that you can reach out to them later on different channels
- Provide some useful content immediately after the first interaction so that the customer is incentivized to use your chatbot later
- Display targeted Facebook Ads to your subscribers so that they can start the conversation again