Submit a ticket

Sending messages outside of the 24-hour and 7-days windows


In 2020, Messenger by Facebook implemented its “24-hour rule”. The same rule has been implemented with the public release of Instagram API in 2021.  Although it has some technical implications, its main purpose is to promote a world where brands and Meta users have conversations, not a lengthy message from businesses you never signed up to receive.

Understanding Meta's 24-hour rule

What is the 24-hour rule? It is best explained as the following: After 24 hours have passed since a contact's interaction with your business, you cannot send them any messages unless they fall under the specific conditions we will explain later in this article. 

Why does the 24-hour rule exist? Simply put, the 24-hour rule is there to prevent businesses from spamming users.

What’s key to note here, however, is that by following these rules, businesses will ultimately help themselves. By keeping Messenger spam-free, Meta users are more likely to open messages, respond to them, and engage with brands.

What happens if I ignore the 24-hour rule? Any business that violates these policies will be given warnings, have their features limited, or be permanently blocked from using Messenger or Instagram to send messages. In general, if you violate Messenger’s 24-hour rule, you will receive a warning from Facebook,  with further infractions resulting in having your page blocked. 

It is important to note that ManyChat will automatically protect you. If you have any subscribers that fall outside of the 24-hour window, and you have Messages scheduled for them, ManyChat will automatically stop those messages from being sent. 

Note: If you have been violating policy, Facebook will give you multiple warnings. They appear in your Page Settings on Facebook, so make sure that you check your Page regularly and often. ManyChat will also give you warnings through your sign-up email.

If you do get blocked, make sure to appeal. After you appeal, you’ll speak with an actual human at Meta who will review your potential violations, so do check your warnings and then appeal if you get blocked.

How can I message contacts outside of the 24-hour window without violating the rule? For Messager, there are several ways you can do that:

1. Using Message Tags;

2. Using Messenger Lists or One-Time Notifications (OTN), which require previously granted explicit permission from a contact; 

3. Using Paid (Sponsored) Messages. 

For Instagram DM automation, only the DM Lists are available.

7-day window or the Human Agent Tag

This feature allows you to message your Contacts after the 24-hour window is closed. The permitted usage for this feature is to provide human agent support in cases where a Contact's issue cannot be resolved in the standard messaging window.
Examples include when the business is closed for the weekend or if the issue requires more than 24 hours to resolve. The tag is automatically applied to any messages sent manually by a human agent via Manyсhat Live Chat, so you do not need to manually select it as a reason for sending messages outside of the 24-hour window. Please, note that sending automated messages is not allowed during this 7-day window.

The Human Agent tag can be used for up to 7 days since the last user interaction with your bot. After the 7 days are over, you can use other Message Tags, Messenger lists, or DM lists to reach out to these Contacts.

The Human Agent tag is available for both Instagram and Messenger.

Message Tags

Facebook Messenger provides several default reasons for sending non-promotional messages outside of the 24-hour window - Message Tags. Promotional content includes a product drop announcement, an upcoming event that the user hasn’t registered for, cart abandonment, new content like a blog, and more. When using Message Tags, it is important to make sure that the message you are sending matches the purpose of each specific Message Tag. 

You can select a Message Tag as a reason for sending messages outside of the 24-hour window within the Flow Builder: 

Now let's take a deeper look into each Message Tag and what you can and cannot send with it.

Post-Purchase Update Tag

While it’s allowed to notify users of a recent purchase, like with receipts, shipping notifications, or payment-related items like a return, it is not ok to cross-sell or upsell users in the same message that uses the Post-Purchase Update Tag. You can, however, use the tag to solicit information required to complete a purchase, such as an address, confirmation number, etc.

You are free to include a link to your website or to another flow with messages such as, “Your product has shipped. Here is your tracking code [XYZ123]. Click here for more information or go to our website.” But you are not allowed to showcase or reference specific products. 

The benefit of having a link that clicks out from the Post Purchase Update and into a different ManyChat Flow is that it reopens the 24-hour window, which allows you to create more interesting and complex flows that have a greater promise of success when upselling or cross-selling users.

Confirmed Event Update Tag

The Confirmed Event Update tag is used to send the user reminders or updates for an event they have registered for (e.g., RSVP’d, purchased tickets). This tag may be used for upcoming events and events in progress.

The keywords here are “they have registered for.” You cannot use Messenger Tags if a contact has not explicitly registered for your event. This tag might be a little confusing, and you’re probably thinking, “Why can’t I remind someone of an event that’s confirmed?”

While your confusion is understandable, the tag is meant to remind subscribers of an event they have signed up for. A helpful rule of thumb is the “calendar accept” rule: Does your event send someone a calendar invite, or something similar, like a Facebook event? If so, have they accepted the calendar invite?

A contact who accepts the calendar invite is a great example of an explicit registration since they not only received the invite but proactively confirmed that they’ll be attending.

The best tip on how to make sure your Confirmed Event Message Tag use won't raise any metaphorical eyebrows of the automated Meta checking system is to get your contacts to engage with your bot before, during, or after the registration process for the titular event. 

For example, if you have an event, you typically would send an email confirmation to the user who registered for the event. In that confirmation email include a link to your bot that will send a message that says something like, “You’re confirmed for this event! Would you like to get notified on Messenger before we get started?” 

Or, perhaps you just have a landing page with your event. You can create a sign-up flow or form that uses Messenger (instead of an email) to send registration confirmation. In that message, be sure to include words like, “You’re confirmed” or “Registered.” The clearer the better. 

Following this tip will clearly showcase to both automated and human reviewers a history of conversation about the event, so when you do use the Confirmed Event Update Tag to remind event registrants, it won’t appear out of context.

Another good tip would be to reference the event in your message with specific language about the user’s registration or confirmation. 

Even if you can’t follow the previous scenario, you can at least use language inside your message that showcases the user has registered, and, even better, the date that they registered for! 

Include phrases like, “This is your reminder of the event you registered for,” or “Hi [first name], remember that event you signed up for? It’s happening in 30 minutes!”, or “This is a follow-up reminder for an event you registered for on [this date].” As much as possible, include when the happening is occurring, with specific references to time or date.

There should be some indication in the Messenger thread that the user indeed has signed up, registered, or RSVP’d for the event. If your event has some kind of order or confirmation number, try to include that in the message, too. 

Again, explicitly call out that the user has registered for the event. If it’s possible to include the date of the user’s registration, do it. You can dynamically include parameters like that with a Google Sheets integration.

Now, let’s look at two messages that are clear examples of the abuse of the tag:

  • “Hi [first name], you attended our concert yesterday. Buy tickets for our concert next week.” 
  • “Get your merch for the conference you attended!”

These two messages contain several violations. First, it includes promotional content, asking users to buy more tickets or merchandise; and second, the messages are being sent after the event is over. The Confirmed Event Update Tag is for events that are upcoming or are in progress.

Account Update Tag

The Account Update tag is used to notify the user of a non-recurring change to their application or account.

The keyword here is “non-recurring.” You are allowed to use the Account Update Tag to notify a user of a change to their password, for example, but not to notify a user every time they’ve increased their loyalty points after shopping with you. 

These “changes” that Meta refers to are changes to the account itself, not activity on the account. For example, let’s say you run a Shopify store and you have a feature that allows customers to add products to their “favorites” list. Let’s say that one of these items goes out of stock. You cannot use the Account Update Tag to update the user about it. 

But, a customer’s credit card being declined or an updated password are examples of changes to the account itself.

A good strategy would be to try and include as much information and context as possible. What Meta doesn’t like to see is a message that appears out of the blue and says only, “Jim, your password has changed. Click here to learn more.” 

Add helpful context, like why the update is happening, when it happened, what change is happening, information about your business, and more specifics about the next steps.  A better message would say something like, “Hi Jim, this is Acme Inc. You changed your password yesterday. This message is to notify you about it. You can click the link below to reset your password or to let us know if you didn’t do this.”


How to avoid the misuse of Message Tags

The first thing to note is that prompts to any survey, poll, or review unrelated to a preceding interaction in Messenger are strictly forbidden. 

What this means is that you can’t ask a contact for a review, poll, rating, or survey while using any of the tags, unless it’s related to something you and the subscriber have talked about before in Messenger. For example, you shouldn’t message users out of the blue and say something like, “We are surveying users to understand what kinds of shoes they prefer. Please fill out the survey below.”

On the other hand, let’s say you’re engaged in conversation with a customer while helping them find the right color of shoes and are successful in converting to buy. Four days later, using the Post Purchase Update Tag, you can follow up and ask the customer for a review of the shoes, since there’s a preexisting, written, and documented history of the customer purchasing the shoes.

You are also not allowed to use Message Tags for any promotional content, including but not limited to deals, promotions, coupons, and discounts.

In essence, this means you shouldn’t try to sell or market anything using Message Tags. Facebook lists some examples of selling or marketing activities, like promotions, but do note that these are examples and Facebook might spot any other attempts to market or sell.  While it’s not possible to come up with an exhaustive list of other examples that will be flagged, use your best judgment. 

If you’re using Message Tags for its intended purpose and use case, but include promotional content within the message, you will likely get flagged. For example, if you use the Account Update Tag to notify users about a credit card being declined, but also include content about a new sale, this would be a violation of policy.

If there’s a general rule of thumb to think about Message Tags, it’s to add as much context within your message as possible. Context means information about the who, why, when, and where related to your message. While this might make your messages a bit longer than you’d like, it’s the best way to err on the side of caution.

In general, if you violate Meta's 24-hour rule, you will receive a warning from Facebook, with further infractions resulting in having your page blocked. The improper use of Message Tags is a common reason for policy violations. 

While the overall purpose of the 24-hour rule is to prevent spam and promotional content, you can only use Message Tags for their intended, and very specific, use cases.

Even if you think the content you’re sending while using Message Tags isn’t promotional or spammy, if it doesn’t adhere to the four, pre-defined Message Tag use cases, your page or Messenger functionality will be blocked. 

If you do get warnings from Facebook, go through your Flows and check any that are using Message Tags, ensure that they’re being used correctly, or use a different approach such as SMS, email, One-Time Notifications, Messenger Lists, or Sponsored Messages.

Messenger and DM Lists

Unlike Message Tags, the Lists are available for both Instagram and Messenger. While the Messenger Lists are thoroughly explained in their respective article (Messenger List), let us take a look at DM Lists. 

Just like its Messenger counterpart, DM List List allows your business to re-engage your contacts outside of the 24-hour window, with prior permission, on a daily basis. 

There are 3 main steps to successfully send DM List messages to your contacts:

  1. Create the DM List Topic. DM Lists are organized by Topic within Manychat. The Topic is the internal title of the Messenger List messages you will be sending that is not viewable on the customer end. Utilizing the Message Request block to collect subscriptions within the topic from your customers.
  2. Tracking active Message Requests within the Contacts tab
  3. Sending out the DM List messages via Broadcasts, Sequences or through Flow Builder

It is also worth noting the One-Time Notifications (OTNs), which are similar to Messenger Lists, but allow sending only one message. Since Meta has deprecated the frequency feature of the Messenger Lists, OTNs become obsolete and therefore might not be available for most Manychat accounts. 

In essence, a subscriber agrees to be sent a single message (sent at any time and reason of your choosing) as long as you receive their explicit permission. The OTN must be related to the topic that the customer opted in to receive. For example, if you set up an OTN for an eCommerce product drop, you can’t use the same OTN to send a message about a webinar.

To clarify this further, if you use the OTN for the permissible reason the subscriber opted in for, you can’t add additional content there. 

Let’s say you use an OTN to notify users about a sale on T-shirts. You can’t use the OTN for sales on shoes or sweaters. Using OTNs in this way can get you blocked by Meta.

To make sure you can use OTN as a reason for sending messages outside of the 24-hour window, make sure to send your contact an OTN request first and acquire their consent. To do so, select the Messenger List (since unlike the DM lists, OTNs are only available for Messenger automation): 

After you choose to create a new Messenger List, you will proceed to the setup and be able to select "One-Time Notification" in the Frequency setting. 

To safeguard yourself, read more about how to use OTNs and watch a YouTube video.

You can read more about the Paid Messages in this handy article. However, it is important to note that since March 2023 Facebook Ads integration feature has been deprecated and is no longer supported.

Thank you for reading, and happy Flow Building!