How to set up Facebook Ads chatbot

Running a “click-to-messenger” Facebook Ads campaign is easy with Activechat. You can set up your Facebook Ads chatbot to start new conversations from the very beginning of your flow (“start” skill) or from any other chatbot skill.

We advise you to build a specific skill for each of your Facebook Ads campaigns. It will help you build more engaging and personalized conversations to increase both conversion rates and lead quality.

Click-to-Messenger ad campaign basics

“Click-to-Messenger” Facebook Ads campaigns are mostly similar to other campaign types. These are regular ads displayed to customers in their Facebook news feeds or other placements. The only difference is that instead of driving more traffic to your website or Page, this type of ads directs users to message your Facebook Page (which has a chatbot by Activechat connected!)

Example "click-to-Messenger" Facebook Ads chatbot campaign
Example “click-to-Messenger” Facebook Ads chatbot campaign

Once the user clicks the “Send Message” button, Facebook will immediately take them to the Messenger app and display a so-called “Messenger template” (which is not a part of your chatbot yet!)

Example Messenger template for Facebook Ads chatbot
Example Messenger template for Facebook Ads chatbot

This Messenger template is actually a part of your ad setup. Its primary objective is to start the conversation between a Facebook user and your business chatbot. We’ll dive into more detail soon.

Once the user interacts with this template (clicks a button or quick reply or just sends a message back), they will be added to your chatbot audience, and one of your conversation flows (chatbot skills) designed in the Visual chatbot builder will start running.

Building Facebook Ads chatbot skill

As said before, we strongly advise building specific skills for your Facebook Ads chatbot campaigns. This will help you seamlessly continue the conversation with your customer that you have already started with your ad creative (first) and Messenger template (next). A thoroughly designed conversation will help you increase the conversion rate and improve the quality of customer communication.

ℹī¸ Quick tip: the first message that your chatbot sends in the ad skill should continue the conversation started in the Messenger template.

Since we’re using a pizza chatbot example, let’s build a simple skill to interact with users and ask them what exactly they would like to order. We’ll name that skill “fb_ad1” (this name will be used later for buttons / quick replies settings in the Messenger template).

Example skill for the Facebook Ads chatbot
Example skill for the Facebook Ads chatbot

Notice that this skill does not greet the user, and starts with “Awesome! Pizza or salad?” message instead. Why is it? This actually continues the conversation started in the Messenger template above (“Hi <first_name>, would you like to check our offers in your town?”), creating a seamless conversation flow for the user interacting with your ad.

Don’t forget to click “Run” to deploy the new skill to the cloud, otherwise, your Facebook Ads will not work.

Setting up a Facebook Ads campaign

Now, let’s switch from Activechat to Facebook Ads manager and set up the campaign to drive traffic to our chatbot.

When creating the campaign, you should choose “Messages” as your marketing objective.

Choosing "Messages" as Facebook Ads marketing objective
Choosing “Messages” as Facebook Ads marketing objective

Give your new campaign a name and click “Continue”.

Naming your Facebook Ads chatbot campaign
Naming your Facebook Ads chatbot campaign

On the next step (“Ad Set”), choose “Click to Messenger” as your message destination. You can also choose “Sponsored Messages” here – this is a different type of ad placement (Messenger app instead of the news feed) that we will discuss later.

Now, choose your ad audience and placements, and set budget preferences – exactly as you do this for any other ad type.

Next, you will proceed to the ad setup. Build your creative like you do this for other campaign types, just keep in mind that after the customer interacts with this creative, they will be taken to your chatbot on Messenger (instead of visiting your website or Facebook page).

Chatbot-specific ad campaign settings

If you have multiple pages in your Facebook Ads manager, do not forget to choose the right page (the one that you have your chatbot connected to) in the “Identity” part of your ad setup.

Choosing the right page for the chatbot ad campaign
Choosing the right page for the chatbot ad campaign

Then, set up your creative – image or video, primary text, headline, description, and CTA (“SEND MESSAGE” CTA is recommended).

Example ad setup on Facebook
Example ad setup on Facebook

Now comes the fun part – Messenger setup. Scroll to that part of the ad setup screen and choose “Create new”. Later, when you have some Messenger templates designed, you will be able to choose one of them by switching to “Use existing” instead.

Messenger setup screen for click-to-Messenger Facebook Ads
Messenger setup screen for click-to-Messenger Facebook Ads

Choose the “Start conversations” template and click “Edit” to customize it. Other types of templates (“Generate leads” and “Advanced JSON setup”) are not necessary with Activechat since you can do all of this in Activechat instead.

Once you click “Edit”, another window will pop up, pre-populated with some standard questions from Facebook (we’ll get rid of it in a moment).

Messenger template consists of two parts – greeting and customer’s actions. When customers click the CTA button in your ad, Facebook will send them the greeting and expect them to take some action.

First, choose what kind of greeting you would like to use in your click-to-Messenger ad. Your options are “Text only”, “Text and image” and “Text and video”. In the example above we’ve been using “Text and image” to make the customer experience more consistent (using the same image in the template that we used in the ad creative), but the choice is completely yours. In certain situations “Text only” option will work best.

Next, type the greeting text in the box below. You can personalize it with the customer’s first, last or full name. Designing this part is crucial for your conversion rate and ROI since it will define the first impression that the customer gets from your chatbot.

Setting up Facebook ads chatbot greeting in the Messenger template
Setting up Facebook ads chatbot greeting in the Messenger template

Finally, you need to design some “actions” that customer is supposed to take upon seeing the “greeting”. Scroll down to the “Customer Actions” section and choose which options you would like to use. It can be either “Buttons” or “Quick replies”. Do not use “Frequently Asked Questions” or “None” – both of it will reduce your conversion rate dramatically since these options are for Pages that do not have a chatbot.

Based on our research, the “Quick replies” option works best in terms of interaction quality, but your case can be different. To learn more about differences between buttons and quick replies, check “How to use buttons and quick replies with Facebook Ads” article. For now, let’s stick to quick replies.

Usually, you will want just a single quick reply that customers will click to start the conversation with your chatbot. Reducing the choices in your Messenger template will increase conversions. Keep the quick reply text simple and focused on your offer.

Once you are familiar with different chatbot skills in Activechat, you can experiment with multiple quick replies, each triggering different (or even the same) skill in the chatbot. Refer to “How to use buttons and quick replies with Facebook Ads” article and don’t forget to share the results of your experiment with us!

In our simple example, we’re using two quick replies (“Sure!” and “Why not?”) that will trigger the same skill in the chatbot.

Setting up quick replies to trigger specific chatbot skill in the Messenger template
Setting up quick replies to trigger specific chatbot skill in the Messenger template

Edit quick reply text and click “Connect your bot” to specify the skill that should be triggered once the customer clicks on this reply. Add your skill name (actually, the name of the event that triggers that skill), preceded by the “/” sign. In this example, we’re using the “fb_ad1” skill that we’ve built before.

⚠ī¸ IMPORTANT! Please note that if you do not specify the event name, the “default” skill will be triggered when the customer clicks that reply. The reason for this is that quick replies are treated as regular messages sent by your customer, and the “default” skill is triggered on every incoming message. The text of the quick reply will be available in the $_last_user_input system attribute. When you specify the event name in the “Connect your bot” box, the “default” skill will not be triggered.

Voila! Give your Messenger template a recognizable name (remember you can re-use it in other ads and campaigns?) and click “Save and Finish”. You can also click “Preview on Messenger” to see how the template will work – Facebook will send the message to your own Messenger account.

Now you can preview your ad on Facebook, and publish it once you’re satisfied with the result. Don’t forget to experiment a lot, since fine-tuning your Messenger template and the conversation flow in your Facebook ads chatbot skill can drastically affect your conversion rate and ROI.

Check this guide from Facebook too 👉 “Five simple ways to improve your next click to Messenger campaign”

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