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The 7 most common reasons why your ManyChat bot isn’t working – and how to fix it

January 17, 2021

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You’ve got a ManyChat bot that’s been working well for your business, but suddenly it’s stopped working. Or maybe you’re building your bot and can’t quite get it to work as you want.  Broadcasts aren’t sending, chats are stopping mid-conversation, or images don't load correctly.  

Rather than spend hours watching out of date YouTube videos or waiting for someone to reply to you in the ManyChat Facebook group, work your way through the steps in this article.  

I’ve put together a list of the most common reasons I’ve seen for ManyChat bots not working. This is from clients I’ve worked with over the past two years, managing over 150,000 Messenger conversations.  

Download the ManyChat bot fix checklist now

Before you dive in - check these 2 things first 

Always check these two steps first, whenever you have a problem with your ManyChat bot. ALWAYS. Trust me, it can save you hours of frustration! 

 

(a) Has your Facebook page connection dropped?  

Sometimes the connection between your Facebook page and ManyChat account drops, causing issues with the bot. And you often won’t know that anything is wrong until something in your bot stops working. 

Whatever the issue with your ManyChat bot, the first step you should take is to refresh permissions.  Refreshing permissions in ManyChat reloads your connection to your Facebook page, and will often fix the problem. 

Think of it as the ManyChat equivalent of an IT support line telling you to first “turn it off and turn it on again”.

Have you tried turning it off and on again gif

 

In fact, it’s such a common fix that you’ll see people refer to it in the ManyChat support community as the Magic Button 💫.

Here's how to refresh permissions in ManyChat:

Go to Settings > General, then scroll down the page until you see the blue button that says Refresh Permissions. 

How to refresh permissions in a ManyChat bot. Settings - General - Refresh Permissions

Click the button and you should see the page reload and show a confirmation message:

Confirmation message that ManyChat refresh permissions has been successful

(b) Is there an outage at Facebook or ManyChat? 

Sometimes it’s not you, it’s them.  Before you go down a rabbit hole trying to figure out why your bot isn’t working, head on over to the ManyChat Status Page to check whether there are any outages. 

Although not a regular occurrence, this does happen more often than we’d like - especially in the past year while Facebook has been merging the back end of its messaging platforms (Instagram DMs, Whatsapp and Messenger).      

I’d recommend signing up for status updates from ManyChat, so you always know when something might be affecting your bot (and can take action accordingly). You can get updates by email, SMS or in Slack, so pick the one where you’re most likely to see them.    

Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into specific things that might not be working in your bot, and how to fix them.  Ready? Let’s go 🚀  

Here are the 7 most common problems with ManyChat bots not working - and how to fix them:

1. Broadcast messages are not sending

You set a Messenger broadcast to send, but either it wasn't sent at all or it went to fewer people than you expected.  

There are three main reasons this might happen:

 

i. You haven’t selected the correct content type 

When you send a Messenger broadcast in ManyChat, you need to select the type of content that your broadcast fits into. 

Selecting Promotional content only will mean your broadcast is only sent to users who have interacted with your bot in the previous 24 hours. 

If you chose Non-promotional or Mixed content, you need to make sure the first block in your broadcast message has one of the non-promotional content types set:

  • Post-Purchase Update 
  • Confirmed Event Update
  • Account Update
  • A One Time Notification topic 

If you’ve used the content-type other in your message block, this will be blocked from sending to anyone who hasn’t interacted with your bot in the past 24 hours. 

For a full explanation of the 24-hour rule, how to use content types and which broadcasts are allowed under Facebook’s current rules - see this updated guide from ManyChat. It’s much more comprehensive & helpful than Facebook’s guidance (which can best be described as vague!)  

ii. You’re trying to send a One Time Notification

If your page is affected by the EU changes that came into effect on 16th December 2020, you will no longer be able to send messages using the One Time Notification tag. 

Who’s affected by this? 

For Facebook pages based in the EU (or with page admins based in the EU) this applies across the board to all messages you want to send. 

If your page is based outside the EU, with no EU-based page admins, you can send broadcasts using the OTN content type for your audience members outside the EU. These messages will not send to EU users. 

If your page is affected by this change, you’ll need to switch to another method of contacting your page subscribers after 24 hours. You can use ManyChat’s omnichannel features to send your broadcasts by SMS or email if you’ve collected user emails and phone numbers (and collected permission to contact them by these channels).  

Also consider using a mobile wallet platform like Walletly to integrate with your chatbot and send push notifications straight to peoples’ phones for times you want to send multiple notifications (like summits, challenges or memberships).   

You can read more about the EU changes in ManyChat’s guide

 

iii. You’ve been blocked from sending messages by Facebook 

None of your broadcast messages are sending to users outside the 24-hour window, and you’ve checked your content types as above.  

The next thing to check is your Facebook Page Support Inbox.  If Facebook has put a temporary block on your page sending messages outside the 24-hour window, this is where you’ll see that.    

It used to be that any blocks like this were shown as a banner across the top of the screen when you log in to ManyChat. But, since the EU December changes, these are no longer shown in ManyChat.  So schedule regular reminders to go into your Facebook Page Support Inbox and check for any problems with Messenger.  

 

2. Your email and Google sheets integrations aren't working

Your chatbot is an amazing tool to grow your email list using ManyChat’s built-in integrations with email marketing platforms. And the Google Sheets integration is fantastic for backing up your user data and tracking sign-ups. 

But if your ManyChat flows are not set up correctly you’ll have trouble sending those email addresses you’re collecting across to those other platforms.  

The most common problem I see here is leaving email addresses in the ManyChat system fields rather than custom user fields. What does that mean exactly? 

When you set up a flow to capture someone’s email address, there are two important steps to set up. 

Step 1: Save the email address to the system field called Email. This enables you to use ManyChat’s email platform should you ever wish to, and logs the email collection in your ManyChat analytics:

How to save an email address to the email system field in ManyChat

Step 2: Copy the email address to a custom user field. 

How to save an email address to a custom user field in ManyChat

If you miss this vital second step, your integrations will fail.  The data you're sending to other platforms like email marketing systems or Google sheets has to come from Customer User Fields, not system fields:

So if your emails collected aren’t transferring to your email platform or your google sheets rows aren’t populating, check that you have both of these steps set up.  

 

3. Images or GIFs aren’t displaying properly 

You’ve added some images or GIFs to your bot to make it more engaging, but they don’t quite look right when you test it. The pictures are skewed or stretched, or the GIFs take too long to load. 

This is usually down to using the wrong size for your image files.  

Check this guide to find out how to create the perfect images and GIFs for your ManyChat Messenger bot, and how to adjust your ManyChat settings so they look right every time. 

 

4. Video and audio files are not sending in your Messenger bot 

You’re sending audio or video messages directly in the chat of your bot, but they’re not loading properly - maybe they’re too slow or just not sending at all. 

There are two main causes for this:

 

i. Your page is affected by the EU changes (see above)

If your page is affected by the EU changes, you can no longer send audio or video files natively inside Messenger (annoyingly!)

But, there’s a workaround:  

Load the audio or video to an external site (like Vimeo, Google Drive, hosted on your website) and then use a button in your bot to link to them: 

Although video & audio are engaging for users - and reflect how you’d use Messenger wit friends - linking to them using a button or hyperlink is actually Facebook’s recommended way to share audio and video. 

 

ii. Your files are the wrong format or size

If your video or audio are loading slowly (or not loading at all), it could be that they are too large or not the correct file type. You should make sure your files are less than 10MB and in these formats:  

📣 Audio - MP3 

📺 Video - .mov or mp4 (and ideally 270x480 in dimension)

But try to get your files as small as you can. Some of your bot users might not have great WiFi or mobile data, so larger files will slow down your conversation and make their experience worse. 

Or consider using the method above to link to the video or audio on a separate site - Facebook recommends this approach and it’s often a better experience for your end-user.    

 

5. Conversations are stopping before you expect them to 

 

Your bot conversation stops mid-way through a flow - it’s not firing off the next message or reply as expected. There’s a few reasons this could be happening: 

Are you using conditions in your bot flows? 

If you’re using conditions to send the user down different possible conversation paths, make sure all options have a next step where necessary.  You don’t want any dead ends.  This can be easy to miss when you’re building your bot, particularly the next step if the user does not match any of your conditions. 

How to check your ManyChat conditions

Sometimes you might want the conversation to end if a certain condition is met (for example, using a condition to check whether a user already has a certain tag, or has purchased a certain product before offering it to them). It’s good practice, in this case, to add a comment in your flow design to easily see in the future that ending the conversation there is deliberate. 

Are you using time-based conditions? 

Similarly to the above, if you have any time-based conditions built into your bot flows, make sure the dates and times are all correct.   

Do you have any smart delays set up? 

Check your flows to see whether you have any smart delays. If you do, double-check the timings of the smart delay to ensure they are correct.  The default time when you add a smart delay is 1 day - in the majority of cases you’ll want it to be shorter than this to stay inside Facebooks 24 hour rule.  Make sure you haven’t mistakenly added a smart delay of 30 days instead of 30 minutes (which was a real example I’ve seen!).   

Any content blocks that come after a smart delay will need a content type, otherwise they won’t send - if the smart delay is for less than 24 hours, you’ll want to use the content type Other.     

Where’s your starting step? 

Check where the starting step is in your flow. This is one that catches a lot of people out, especially if you’ve moved the starting step around as part of your building and testing.  Make sure the starting step is connected to the first message or action that you want your bot to deliver. 

 

6. Keywords are not working

Your user types a keyword that should start a conversation flow, but nothing’s happening. 

Head over to the Keywords section in ManyChat (Automation > Keywords) and check these three things: 

i. Check that your keyword is Activated (not disabled)

 

ii. Check your keyword logic

Make sure you select the right logic when you set up your keywords. There are 5 different options, each behaving differently when the user types something: 

 

message is  What they type must exactly match the keyword (with no other words in their message)
message contains  If the keyword is anywhere in their message - even within another word - the flow will be triggered  
message contains whole word If the user types the keyword within their message, your flow will be triggered. It must be the whole word as a standalone and not part of another word.  
message begins with The keyword must be the first word or phrase typed in the user’s message to trigger the flow 
message is thumbs up Triggers the flow if the user taps the thumbs up symbol (Not the thumbs up emoji)  

iii. Check the same keyword is not being used in more than one place  

If you have included a keyword in two different keyword rules, usually neither of them will trigger. So scroll through your list of keywords and make sure you haven’t included the one that isn’t working in more than one place.     

This can happen if you’ve installed a template (or more than one template) that contained keywords. 

 

7. Your comment growth tool isn’t activating when someone comments on your Facebook posts 

You’ve set up a growth tool to make your Messenger bot reply to comments on your Facebook page, but it’s not kicking in when people comment. 

 

Check the content type 

Open the flow you’ve linked to this growth tool and check the content type in the first message block. Have you used the comment reply content type? In most cases, the bot won’t fire unless you’ve used this content type. 

Has the user already commented on this post before?

Remember that a Facebook comments growth tool can only trigger once per post per user, so if someone has already commented on the post and received a bot message previously, it won’t work a second time. 

Is your growth tool pointing to the right Facebook post? 

Check the growth tool settings: did you set this growth tool to work with the correct post on your Facebook page? Or all posts if that’s how you want it to work? It sounds obvious, but always one to double-check if your Messenger bot is not triggering from a Facebook comment.  

 

I'm still having trouble with my ManyChat bot - what should I do next?

Still having trouble getting your chatbot to work, or can’t see your problem listed above? 

Maybe you want to stop wasting time and just get a ManyChat expert’s eyes on it? 👀 

Book a Power Hour with me and let’s see if we can sort it out for you.  

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