Back Email icon Contact

How to set up a Facebook Ad for your Messenger Chatbot? #FullGuide 🤓📚

✍️ Written by: Zuza Śliwińska

Facebook Business Manager is probably the most powerful social media advertising system available for marketers nowadays. It makes it possible to run an effective and well-targeted campaign with a very low budget. In our opinion though, the vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses avoids this kind of campaigns in favour of one-time, high-reach generating methods.

We think that in the long term, investing in Facebook advertising ecosystem is a very good move. It not only can generate added value, but also compared to other tools, does it in a very systematic way. Moreover, thanks to countless amounts of data, we can optimize campaigns and our methods of promotion endlessly.

In this article, we would like to show you how to run Facebook ads for a Messenger chatbot and present some methods and tips for optimization based on our own experience.

👣 Step 1: Setting a Campaign Goal

Since the 26th Sep 2017, there has been a possibility to set a new ad goal, which is starting a conversation between the user and a brand through Messenger.

When you choose a ‘Send Message’ option as your objective, the ads redirected to the Messenger are optimized automatically and screened to the target group, which is more willing to click the button and answer the message.

It is a dedicated Messenger format and, from our experience, the best to use in this case. Of course, you can find dozens of guidebooks from before the update, suggesting to choose ‘engagement’ or ‘traffic’, but if you respect your budgets – don’t choose them when promoting a chatbot.

Facebook Business Manager: Setting a Campaign Goal

👣 Step 2 – Choosing an Ad Type

The choice is very simple, since we have only two ad formats – ‘Click to Messenger’ or ‘Sponsored Message’.

Facebook Business Manager: Ad Type

When do you choose the following formats? It is also pretty straight-forward:

🔵 ‘Click to Messenger’: this is the most efficient way to acquire new bot’s subscribers. There’s only one click needed to open a Messenger’s welcome screen or to redirect users to a specific message (I will tell more about it later…).

🔵 ‘Sponsored Message’: this is the perfect format for big fanpages. If you already have about twenty thousand fans, it’s definitely worth it. This is the easiest way to convert your Facebook fans into subscribers.

👣 Step 3 – Setting the Target

We cannot really help you that much with setting the target group, since the key thing here is to know and recognize your own target group and how it varies across industries, countries and brands. It’s good to have a regular Facebook ads experience, so that you know what works for your audience. But if you already have a chatbot, a considerable subscribers’ base and you use Chatfuel, I would highly recommend to try a Lookalike Audience mechanism. It will allow you to build a target group similar to the most engaged users.

For more details and instructions go here.

👣 Step 4 – Deciding on Ad Placements

Here we recommend to pick the ‘Edit placements’ option and follow these two tips:

🔵 Limit the type of devices to mobile only.

🔵 Exclude Instagram as an ad placement because it makes a user’s experience more difficult (crossing between apps).

Of course, there are exceptions to all the rules and these above are NOT absolute musts. For example, for chatbots from beauty industry I would risk an Instagram budget or in case of chatbots linking to websites, I would include placement to desktop. 

Everything has to be filtered through your own business ecosystem. But what we can guarantee for sure, is that these setting options will definitely help you boost most of the common types of chatbots.

Facebook Business Manager: Ad Placement

👣 Step 5 – Budget & Timetable

Most of the ad options are imposed on us from the Business Manager, but this is the place where we can have to make an actual choice. The system will automatically optimize the ad format in terms of views and this is also the way your final budget is set. But what about the money? How much does it cost to acquire a new subscriber?

The actual aquisition cost per user

We have scheduled dozens of ad campaigns. For both several hundred and several dozens $$. According to our experience, we can assume that the optimal cost of acquisition amounts from 0,15$ to 0,5$ per user on average.

Of course sometimes it’s more, sometimes less. But usually though, we can be sure that with a well-optimized ad campaign and 500$ budget, we should acquire around 500 people. Our record is the cost of 0,45 polish zloty so less than 0,15$ per user.

This result may scare off at the beginning, but we shouldn’t compare ad click cost or video view with a subscriber’s acquisition. The value we get from a single acquisition is much higher than a video view or click-through. Since we can activate the potential consumer with a free message whenever we want and the cost of acquisition is spread over time, so well-planned activities will bring savings in further ad campaigns.

👣 Step 6 – Setting the Identity

There isn’t much philosophy in this step. The only thing you have to do is choosing the right fanpage, on which the ad would be published. IMPORTANT. On this level, the chatbot has to be connected, because it is needed to run tests in the Ads Manager.

Facebook Business Manager: Chatbot Identity

👣 Step 7 – Choosing the Ad Format

This is a more pleasant part of the Ads Manager, since here you can use your previous advertising knowledge. Available ad formats are: Carousel, Single Image, Single Video and Slideshow. All of them have one thing in common, which is an action button: ‘Send Message’. I highly recommend choosing this solution, because it contains a Messenger logo, what makes the process more intuitive for mobile users.

Facebook Business Manager: Ad Formats

Based on our experience, this is the rule we would definitely stick to. The advertisement should communicate in clear terms the most attractive features of your chatbot from the user perspective, with both image and text. And let’s face it. The chatbot format is not the easiest to present on a static visual, so we need to find the most attractive part of it and present it in the most effective way.

Let us show you an example. Once, we have programmed a chatbot with plenty of features, such as: game, quiz, contest, FAQ, and locations, but when it came to advertising, we chose only one engagement point, without emphasizing how well-packed the whole experience is. However, it is also worth creating an ad set with all elements separately, even to test which feature sells best.

Below you can see the user acquisition effectiveness graph. The first ad included all the bot’s features presented in a single video. The second version focused on just one, the most attractive thing. I wonder if you guess when the ad was switched, if you know that it was active from the first day of campaign.

Our own data: user acquisition effectiveness graph

👣 Step 8 – Redirecting to Messenger

This is probably the most difficult aspect in the whole configuration, but it has a decisive impact on the conversion rate from ad to bot.

The type of redirecting determines how the chatbot-user interaction is going to start and if the whole experience will continue.

Facebook Business Manager: Redirecting to Messenger

The safe mode is to choose use a “Get Started” screen, because we don’t need any specific settings for it. It simply runs a welcome screen with the blue ‘Get started’ button.

Long4Lashes Global Get Started Screen

Theoretically, everything is clear and simple – we have a gathering data info, a simple button and we can post a brief description of our chatbot. But in our opinion, this format drives users away. Why?

Of course, it is only a hypothesis, but our experience confirms that the highest conversion rates are reached with experiences that are the most similar to the real private conversations with friends. The screen you’ve seen above can simply be something unknown for the user.

Apart from that, this part of a chatbot is very often neglected by brands. We have a typical company’s description which is just…boring to the user. So let’s have a look at oftentimes more attractive alternative.

👣 Step 9: Creating a Custom Message

This may be the key to success of your activation. No matter what kind of business or type of campaign you’re dealing with. I just can say that Custom Message has always brought the best results for us. But let’s take it step by step…

Facebook Business Manager: Redirecting to Messenger

What is a Custom Welcome Message?

In a nutshell, it is a message, which would be sent by a chatbot right after the user clicks on the CTA button from the ad. Below you can see a visualization of what happens if you choose a Custom Message.

An example of a non-standard welcome message

Why is it the best option, in our humble opinion?

First of all, there is no format or redirection, which allows the user to find himself or herself in a conversation as similar to his/her private ones as this one. There are no buttons or ‘ugly’ messages with links.

Secondly, we can place a chatbot conversation in an ad context. If the user clicks on the ad concerning the product / service ‘X’, the chatbot will start conversation connected to the mentioned feature, without any unnecessary distractors.

How can you set a Custom Welcome Message?

You need a creator, which will automatically turn on when you click ‘Create your own welcome experience’ in Ads Messenger. This is how it looks like:

Facebook Business Manager: Custom Welcome Message Settings
Facebook Business Manager: Custom Welcome Message Settings

Now let’s pay attention to details.

1st step: Choose a format

At the very beginning you need to choose a format of your message, which would be sent to the users after clicking the ad. This is what we can choose from:

From our experience, we recommend to choose a ‘Text Only’ option. It usually brings the best results, since getting a simple text message is the most natural form of the first Messenger interaction. We share images, GIFs and videos as well, but not before we get to know someone (or somebot) better.

2nd step: Personalize the Message

The next step is to create the message itself. The best you can do is to prepare the easiest open question about the most interesting subject for our user. It is worth using ‘Add Personalization’ option, because then the chatbot would for example address each and every by their name.

3rd step: Quick Replies

This is one of the most important settings, because it concerns users’ activities after receiving a message from the chatbot. We can choose between ‘Buttons’ and ‘Quick Replies’. I highly recommend the latter. You can use 11 QRs maximum. That’s quite a lot, right?

In ‘Reply Text’ space you write a text which will show on a Quick Reply button screened under the message sent by a chatbot. We don’t know why, but Messenger does not display emojis typed in inside the ad creator 🙁

The space “Bot Payload’ you can see above is another key element. We indicate here which block of our chatbot scenario is going to be run after clicking a particular button.

The correct formula:

| block name: name_block

It gives enormous possibilities of personalization. Let’s assume that chatbot asks about your favourite colour. Red, green, blue… Each button can run up the window with a suitable pair of shoes.

4th step: Ad Testing

In the upper right corner you will find a button:

When you click it, the Ads Manager will send a test message to your smartphone – the same message users will see after clicking the post. It is worth to test it and check if everything works properly.


We would highly recommend to treat and use this guide with a reasonable flexibly. Don’t stick to those recommendations 1:1. Each and every chatbot activation is different and aimed to reach various audiences. You are the master of your own target group and know best how they react. That’s why running tests is so important.

We should also warn you against a common mistake, which is investing in a chatbot without any strategy and promotion plan. The fact that we will create a Messenger chatbot means nothing and brings no value without a group of engaged subscribers.

We keep our fingers crossed for your chatbots!

Good luck! 😉👍

Contact Us