IMPORTANT UPDATE: Facebook Messenger is Getting a Facelift in August 2019 - What It Means For You

During Facebook’s recent annual conference for developers -- F8 2019 -- some major changes were announced. In particular, numerous changes for Facebook Messenger.

If you’re a business actively using Messenger, take careful note of what’s about to change. Starting August 15, 2019 the app will change overnight. Some things you’ve created will disappear, some will not work at all, and others will look completely different. 

472595_Cover photo for blog post_Cover1_072219.jpg

You can see the full announcement here on Facebook’s developer platform. Or you can stick with me while I make it a bit easier to understand below. For continuity sake, we’ll be using examples from ManyChat to illustrate the changes.

Things that won’t appear any longer from 8/15/19 forward…

1. Location Quick Replies

What is it and what does it mean?

In ManyChat, you have the ability to ask a multitude of questions and restrict them to certain user inputs. One of those is location. 

If you ask for location before the change date and you’re using a “User Input” element, then what the user sees is an option to quick-reply with their current location.

This will completely disappear.

Now this won’t make your user input question for location invalid, but it will require them to type in a location and will reduce the convenience. Don’t be alarmed if you see an uptick in users dropping off at those questions or if you see your bot responding with an “invalid response” auto-reply message a few too many times. 

What you can do:

Make sure to reword your questions asking for location and give them the example format that you need their response to be in. 

2. Share Button

This one is a pain…

With the Card Block in ManyChat, you can assign a button to share the full card directly in Messenger, which essentially forwards the whole card. 

Say goodbye, these will disappear.

The capability to share will not go away, however, the method in which you will need to do it is completely different. On the top right of the card, you’ll see a rectangle with an icon of an arrow pointing up (this is Facebook’s native Forwarding functionality). 

What you can do:

In all of your active flows and bot automations that utilize this Share Card element, make sure to go in and add an additional text element giving users the instructions on how to forward the card.

Things that WILL appear but WON’T WORK from 8/15/19 forward…

1. Begin Share Flow Messenger Extension

What is it and what does it mean?

At the end of buzzed articles or sites, sometimes they’ll have a “Share in Messenger” icon which then opens a thumbnail image and some brief text that you can customize before sending to someone.

This is going away and is pretty closely related to the next item in the list. 

What you can do:

Nothing. 

Okay, you can do something, but you’ll need to be a developer (or have one do it for you). You’ll need to figure out a way in web view for users to easily copy a link and share it in a Messenger conversation. 

2. Share to Messenger

What is it and what does it mean?

If you have widgets embedded on your website and apps that allow users to “Share a link via Messenger” then read closely.

You will no longer be able to trigger Messenger to open with a share message directly. 

What you can do:

You and/or your developers will need to make changes to your website and app so that you are triggering the native Operating System’s (OS) sharing capability which will bring up a list of apps that a user can share a link in.

3. Messenger Codes

What is it and what does it mean?

If you’ve used this feature at all, you probably remember how many times you’ve had to explain to someone how to use it. Or, how many people just couldn’t get it at all. 

I spoke at a conference last year and used this code on stage to get leads, let’s just say it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and I’m glad I kept it at the end of my talk. 

This is going away!

What you can do:

Well, if you were having success with this somehow, and if you have a ton of these codes in active circulation on printed materials… I’m sorry to break the bad news to you.

You’ll need to redo anything in circulation that has these on them.

If you’d still like to use a scan code of sorts, then you can opt to use QR codes to open up a Messenger REF URL Growth Tool. Or you can use link shorteners instead, which will see a lot more opt-in’s since not all users may know how to scan a QR code.

There are tons of free QR code generators, and attaching a link to them is quite simple. iPhone cameras have the native capability to scan these codes with a long press. Samsung uses Bixby Vision to scan them… and so on.

4. Messenger Bot Reviews

What is it and what does it mean?

Okay, so this is not something that is inside of Messenger, but it’s going away nonetheless. I doubt that 90% of people reading this even knew that Facebook allowed users to rate bots in a marketplace on a scale of 1-5 stars. 

It’s going away.

Probably a good thing to clear out this area that no one really cared about or used anyway. 

Things that will look completely different from 08/15/19 forward…

1. Vertical Lists

In ManyChat, we use this feature for a lot of our real estate agents when building out flows for their current listings so that users can quickly see things like bedroom/bathroom/sq. ft, etc. The restaurant industry is another that heavily relies on this for menu items.

Thankfully, this won’t just disappear and won’t stop working. Instead, it’ll look a bit different. 

Instead of being vertical and expanded, it will be converted to a horizontal carousel template.

What you can do:

You may not have to do anything at all. However, you may want to rethink the order of your list and images so that you have the best performing or most important one first in the order.

2. Nested Menus

What is it and what does it mean?

Alright, many of you probably understand why this one is going away. Nested menus can get pretty messy, really fast. And they also take up a lot of screen space in an already limited area.

Facebook said that instead of the persistent menu, it will lie flat as a single layer menu.

Notice: Single Layer!

This means that your submenus will be taken away. For some people, you may be thinking, “Eh, I never used a menu anyway.”  For others, you may have put a ton of time and effort into your nested submenus and will now have to do some work. Thankfully, the solution is not all that difficult.

What you can do:

Replace your submenus with quick reply options so that when someone clicks on one of the 3 main menu items, your bot responds with the same submenu but in a quick-reply format. 

Not all users are the most savvy with quick replies and many will still try to type a quick reply they see in a message. To make sure that less people slip through the cracks and are responded to, go the extra mile and also create keyword rules for your submenu quick replies.

3. Open Graph Template

What is it and what does it mean?

To be honest, I’ve never seen this feature utilized at all in any of my bot interactions. Nevertheless, some of you may be using it and need to be aware of the change. 

Messenger used to allow people to play songs within the Messenger chat without being redirected to another app or website. 

With this change, when a user clicks on a song that has been shared in Messenger, they will be directed to the audio streaming platform’s website or app.

What you can do:

I don’t think you need to do anything - Facebook pretty much covered it. 


That’s it…

I say that with some sarcasm because there are quite a few things that are changing inside of Messenger, some of which are changing in a big way. And for a lot of businesses, there will need to be some re-strategizing and rebuilding in order for their Messenger bot flows to accomplish the same things (and to work 100%).

Save the date: August 15, 2019. Re-evaluate what you’ve built against these upcoming changes and begin to re-work your bot now so that you’re not scrambling up until the last second. Don’t wait for users to start running into places in your bot that flat out stopped working. 

_____

Automated Dreams has been partnering with small to enterprise-level companies in their Facebook Messenger Marketing efforts for the past 2 years. Our bot team is run by 3 ManyChat Messenger Marketing Experts - how many companies can say that?!

We know that navigating Facebook’s terms of service and frequent changes is not something that you can always stay on top of; We’re sure that, for many, these announced changes may cause a bit of anxiety. If you’d like to schedule a call with one of our bot experts to help you with your bot game plan, we’d love to help!

Re-think your strategy with us by scheduling a free 30-minute consultation today!


STAY ON TOP OF IMPORTANT NEWS & TRENDS

Sign up with your email address below to receive news and updates from us.