I’m sure you’re familiar with the adage “the money is in the list”, unless you are from another planet. The thing is, this list can take many different shapes and sizes, not just the well known “email list”. For example, with the advent of Facebook’s Messenger Platform in 2016, a new kind of tool based on subscription messaging has emerged, the messenger bot, which I’d describe as the “enfant terrible” of the audience growth and traffic.
How to use a messenger bot is out of the scope of this article, but it will be covered in another one. However, there is a related Facebook setting – Subscription Messaging – which I’m going to deal with in this article.
How Facebook Subscription Messaging is Changing
Until now, in order to use a messenger bot platform, the bot users didn’t have to do anything in relation with Facebook, because the subscription messaging setting had to be authorized only at app level by the app’s developer.
Starting July 31, 2019 this is no longer the case. After that date, any app level authorization will no longer be honored because Facebook will require page-level subscription messaging permissions only.
In order to benefit from uninterrupted service, each bot user must take care of applying for subscription messaging and getting approved at page-level, for each and every page that is going to continue using a bot. The sooner, the better.
This article describes the steps you need to take to submit a successful application from the perspective of my own experience.
I hope that the explanations will be clear enough even for non-native English speakers, because when I first looked for information I had some difficulties understanding some of the details, especially regarding the 24+1 rule (see the Q&A section below).
How to Apply for Facebook Subscription Messaging – Step by Step Guide
Edit October 2020: Facebook recently changed its face in an almost unrecognizable way, so I edited the section below accordingly.
Step 1: Request Subscription Messaging in Page Settings
- In your Facebook account click on the flag icon on the top bar and select the page that you want to authorize. You should be in your Page’s home view now.
- Now go to Settings option on the left sidebar in the bottom. You may have need to scroll the page.
- Go to Advanced Messaging also on the left sidebar.
- And in Advanced Messaging Features/Request Features/One-Time Notification, click on Request link.
Step 2: Complete the Application
You must keep in mind that the approval process for Facebook Subscription Messaging is done manually by a human, so be just that (a human) while completing your application.
- Select the type of messages your page will send. You have to choose from:
- News – for the most part this one should be chosen;
- Personal Tracking.
- Fill the Additional Details field. This is where you will plead your case.
- Provide two examples of non-promotional messages that may be sent by your bot. Don’t worry, these are just examples whose role is to convince your reviewer to approve your application. Still, you’ll be able to send promotional messages under certain conditions (24+1 rule). See Q&A section below.
- Check the confirmation and click on Save Draft.
- Click on Submit For Review.
After submitting for review all you need to do is wait for the result. Don’t forget that the approval process is performed manually and the amount of time it takes varies. When your page gets approved, under Advanced Messaging Features you’ll see this notice prepended by a green check mark:
In 2020 I already had one page approved and I decided to ask for approval for another and I got it instantly. I really don’t know if this happened because I had one already and I can only assume that the approval process has not changed much.
If you weren’t that lucky and got disapproved, don’t panic, just read on to see what experience I had about all of this.
How My Page Ended Out by Being Approved – Case Study
I must confess I wasn’t successful after my first attempt, nor after the second one. It was only after my 3rd attempt that my application was approved. It looks like the way I wrote the contents of “additional details” field made the difference.
Follows the actual contents I have used in my attempts:
My 1st Attempt
Result: disapproval. 🙁
My 2nd Attempt
Result: disapproval. 🙁
As you can see, my second attempt was not essentially different from the first one, and the lame result confirms one of Einstein’s quotes:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
Therefore, the obvious thing to do next was to try a different approach…
My 3rd Attempt (the last one)
Result: approval. 🙂
All of the example messages I used were non-promotional in nature. They all were purely informative. In the 3rd attempt their style wasn’t fundamentally different from that of previous attempts.
However, in the third attempt there is something fundamentally different, namely the angle of the message in the “additional details” field! This time I did more than just answering the question “what kind of messages I will send and how often”. I backed up my case by making a real plea and it has really paid off.
Firstly I acknowledged my previous disapprovals and ensured the reviewer that I’m 100% committed to comply with all of Facebook’s policies.
In addition, I explained the nature of the content on my site and of my messages, as if I were talking to a real person, which was indeed the case.
Don’t forget that the review is done by a real reviewer, so you simply must be upfront and honest. That’s all.
You can use my content, rewrite it a little bit to make it unique, adjust the topic to match whatever niche you are in, and I’m sure you will succeed! Every time you fail, change the way you present your case in the subsequent attempt.
Questions & Answers
Q: How long does a review usually take?
A: It may take anywhere between 3 hours and 3 weeks! My first 2 attempts took about 12 hours, but the 3rd one (which was approved) took only 3 hours!
Q: What kind of messages can I broadcast with my bot using a subscription messaging enabled page?
A: The explanation starts with the 24+1 Facebook Messenger rule.
In the first 24 hours of a user opting in to messaging, you can send unlimited updates, promotional and non-promotional.
After 24 hours, you can send unlimited non-promotional updates and one promotional follow up. This is called the 24+1 Rule and what Facebook calls “standard messaging.”
The interesting thing is that, if the user interacts in some way (clicks a button, clicks on a quick reply or just replies with plain text), the time resets, and so does the 24+1 rule. 🙂
Q: Do you have to request subscription messaging approval for every Page?
A: Facebook is switching to page-level approval, so yes, requests must be made for each Page. Go into each Page’s settings to find the request form.
Q: What happens if you don’t apply for Facebook subscription messaging?
A: All users should apply for subscription messaging to get permissions to send non-promotional and 24+1 promotional messages. If you don’t apply, or aren’t approved, you’ll be able to only send sponsored promotional messages. You’ll basically have to pay for every message you send.
PS: Please comment below and share with us your page approval experience, both good or bad.