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Facebook Ads Chatbots

Chatbots are a great tool to run Facebook Ads due to a whole bunch of features that are hard (or almost impossible!) to achieve with other ads media.

  • You can interact with each customer personally from the very first touch
  • You do not have to wait until customer signs up or registers to count him/her as a lead – even if the purchase is not made immediately, you have customer data and can interact to convert later
  • Interaction cost for “Send to Messenger” type of ads is usually 20% to 60% lower than with other CTAs
  • You can easily customize and fine-tune lead conversations to get the most of it for each campaign/ad and customer segment
  • You can build unique conversations for each of your ads to make it relevant to the offer you make.

Let’s dive into setting Facebook Ads Chatbots with Visual Chatbot Builder to see how easy it can be. You can find examples from this article 

Step 1. Creating bot skills

First, we’ll need a couple of bot skills that will serve as entry points to specific campaigns. 

When user starts communicating with your bot for the first time, he(she) sees the “Get started” bot screen. After clicking the “Get started” button actual communication starts from the “start” bot skill that every bot has. 

We will use “ref=” bot URL parameter to branch the conversation to different bot skills depending on the value of “ref”. You can use the same approach not only for Facebook Ads, but for other purposes too – for example, when building Messenger Codes to be scanned by mobile Messenger app.

Here is the sample content of specific skill for “Ad Campaign One”:  

facebook ads chatbots

Repeat the same for another skill that will be serving Campaign Two and don’t forget to build the bot by clicking orange RUN button in the top right corner of the editor.

Now we have to tell the bot which skill to run based on the value of “ref=” parameter in the ad settings. We’ll use SWITCH block to do this, checking $_event_start_payload system variable for various values that can be put inside “ref=”.

triggering bot skills with ref= parameter

What happens on the screenshot above? Every time the bot is started by new user, we check the value of $_event_start_payload to extract the actual value of “ref=” parameter and branch the conversation to different bot skills if there is any of pre-defined values that we use in ad settings. If none of these values are found we start bot conversation with regular introductory sequence.

Now when the skills are in place it’s time to move to Facebook Ads Manager to set the actual campaigns.

Step 2. Setting up chatbot Ad Campaigns

We’ll not be diving into general Facebook Ads setup procedures (there’s plenty of resources on this out there), and will focus solely on bot-specific tuning details.

Start with creating new campaign and prepare creatives exactly as usual. The only difference will be that you’ll set “Messages” as campaign objective. 

Next, set budget, audience and placements – exactly like you do for any other ads. 

Finally, set required parameters for your creative. Don’t forget to select the page that the bot is connected to in “Identity” section!

setting the right ad identity

Now, let’s jump to setting actual ad parameters to start the bot from one of the skills that we built on Step 1.

Put “ref=campaign_two” in the “URL parameters” field of the “Tracking” section. Note that “campaign_two” should be the same as the name of the bot skill that this ad should trigger.

And finally, it’s time to create template for initial Messenger communication with users clicking the ad. 

The reason for this is that bots cannot initiate communication with Facebook users – they can jump in only after some initial action from the user. And your task as marketer is to create this initial template so that it will encourage users to take action. The usual flow looks like this:

  1. User receives your ad with “Send to Messenger” CTA on Facebook News Feed or any other location.
  2. After clicking “Send to Messenger” user receives initial Message Template (the one that you set in Ad Settings in Ads Manager). This template contains a button or quick reply which has to be clicked by the user.
  3. After the user completes this initial interaction (clicking the button or quick reply) the bot jumps in and conversation goes as designed by you in the flow.
 Select “Create your own” in “Messenger Setup” section of Ad Settings and click “Custom Template”, then “Create New”.
facebook ads messenger setup

Now compose initial message in “Welcome message” section (don’t forget you can already personalize it with customer first and last name – use “Add Personalization” link to do this). 

Facebook Ads Messenger template

Select “Buttons” or “Quick replies” in “Customer Actions” section and put there something that will help user click the action. 

Your complete micro-copy can be previewed in the window on the right.

Click “Finish” when you’re done – and your ad is ready to be published!

Step 3. Testing the bot

Now it’s time to send Ads Preview to your own Facebook News Feed and test bot behavior.  

  1. Click “Ad Preview” and send it to Facebook Desktop News Feed. 
  2. Find the preview in the Feed and click “Send Message” to see the initial template you’ve just built.
  3. Click the button or quick reply in the template and see the bot start from one of your ad skills created in Step 1. 
facebook ads chatbot preview

And here’s what you get in Messenger.

Now go back to Activechat and build that skill to give your customers awesome ad experience. 

Repeat for other ads in this and other Ad Sets and/or Ad Campaigns!