March 2

Instagram and Messenger in Chat Marketing: What’s the Difference?


If you are a ManyChat user, you know there are a few ways you can communicate with your audience with a chatbot. You can use automation with Messenger, Instagram (as of 2021), SMS, email, WhatsApp, and even Telegram; the list continues to grow as ManyChat develops more ways to engage our audiences through chat marketing.. Some people might wonder what the difference is between automating each platform. For the purposes of simplicity, in this article,, we will outline some of the key distinctions between Messenger, Instagram, and SMS automation. You will see that Messenger and Instagram have more similarities to each other than the SMS flows, but that they all have their own nuances.

Channel Settings

When you go to settings in ManyChat you’ll see a list of the previously mentioned channels, with features specific to each. 

Both Messenger and Facebook

  • Conversation Starters - This is a great way to engage with subscribers who want information about your products or services. This is where you can provide frequently asked questions and other valuable topics related to your brand.
  • Keywords - You can set up replies to common messages. For example, if someone types something like " Hi!" into their text box you can have your bot reply with, 'Hi!' in return! We recommend setting up different replies depending on common messages people might send. Things like, “thanks!” “I need help,” or “are your shirts machine washable” so your bot can simplify your subscribers’ experience. What keywords you set up will depend on your brand. You can also provide subscribers with a list of keywords in your welcome message when they first subscribe! (Tip: include variations like, “thanks,” “thank you,” and common mistakes like, “thanks you”)
  • The Default Reply - This option is a way for your bot to reply to any message that it cannot understand. For example, if you haven't set up keywords or someone types something random like they aren’t greeted with silence. It could be as simple as, “Sorry, I don’t understand that question. Here are some examples of things I can help you with….” This helps the bot provide more information when needed without making your subscriber have to navigate through endless menus within an hour-long conversation.
  • Opt-in and Opt-out Automation - Whether it is the Messenger channel or the Instagram channel, the user chooses to opt-in once they type or tap “Start” or “Subscribe. In both channels, if the user types “Stop” or “Unsubscribe” they will be opted-out of your bot.
  • Refresh Permissions - Like most things when it comes to the internet, websites, and apps, you’ll run into errors sometimes. In your ManyChat account, Facebook and Instagram can lose connection to your page permissions without much warning or explanation. If you have an issue, like something your bot isn’t sending or you have trouble saving a setting, always start troubleshooting by refreshing your permissions first.

Messenger Only

  • Welcome Message - After your contact subscribes directly in Messenger, the Welcome Message will be sent to the user when they click the Start button. If they enter your chatbot another way, (ie. growth tool) they’ll never see this message.
  • Menu - This feature helps your contact navigate through your bot. It’s a hamburger style icon located at the bottom of Messenger only. You can direct your contacts to any chatbot flow you want, or to another site like a Shopify landing page, for example.
  • Personas in Live Chat - This tool will allow you to communicate with your contacts via Messenger or SMS right inside ManyChat. You can jump into a conversation and answer the questions, manage their data manually (add Tags, subscribe for Sequences), send them messages - all while staying up-to-date on what's going on!
  • Handover Protocol - You should use Handover Protocol when you have several different messaging apps because it helps to evade an abundance of spamming your contact list with messages from multiple apps. But if you’re only using one type of messaging app like ManyChat, there is absolutely no need to use this.

Flow Builder Content Block Types

With blocks, you can be versatile with your message and use the entire space to its potential. This means that instead of using just a few lines of text and emojis, you have other options - depending on which channel you’re using, you can also add images, gifs, and similar features for grabbing your customers attention!

Both Messenger and Facebook

  • Text - As one of the best ways to communicate, this is good for sharing information, asking multiple choice questions, or creating a stopping point for the user For example, if the user has a lot to read, you can create multiple text blocks to  break up the content. This is also an option for SMS.
  • Images - This gives you the ability to upload a png, jpg, or you can insert a link to the image (gifs are available only for Messenger). There is a minor difference in what dimensions of images you can add. For both, you can add the recommended resolution (width and height in pixels) of 1080px by 1080px (1x1). But only for Messenger, you can add images in the recommended width and height of 909px by 476px (or at least 500x262). Adding pics is also an option in the SMS channel.
  • User Input - You can save the information users type into these fields right inside ManyChat! The process is simple, containing a text field with a question or inquiry and what the user’s typed response is to the inquiry. This is also an option for SMS.
  • Cards & Gallery - Cards are just like the image block, plus you can add a title, description, and a link to an external resource. A gallery is a group of two or more cards, which is great to showcase multiple products or services.
  • Dynamic - A block that you can add to your flow to dynamically generate a message based on external data. The content in this feature can contain a normal message, a gallery, an image, or a combination of these.
  • Waiting Delay - This block will make it seem as if you are sending messages manually. Just click the icon, choose your delay time and place anywhere in between two messages or at the start of one! This also helps give the user time to read one message before another one appears.

Messenger Only

  • ONTR - An OTNR, or “One-Time Notification Request”, is a very important step where your contact can give you explicit permission to send them a message even after their 24 hour window expires. You have to make sure there’s no deception in what you’re sending. It has to be what the user agreed to receive. You also can’t incentivise your contacts with any monetary value in return for opting in through the ONTR. However, you can ask them if they want to sign up for a promotional message such as when an item goes on sale or a BOGO offer, for example. You just need to define what the OTNR is for in the beginning and then only use the OTNR “token” for that particular message type.
  • Typing Delay - Just like the waiting delay with the “typing” effect while the pause is happening. For longer pauses, it may look better to have a waiting delay right before the typing delay. (think three bouncing dots showing that someone is replying)

You can also add audio and video files to the Messenger channel as well.

Growth Tools

In a nutshell, a Growth Tool is how a user will make their grand entrance into your chatbot. Whether it’s through a QR code on a product insert, a comment on social media, or a link in email, there’s more than one way someone can get to your bot. You just have to make sure you do a great job at sharing the entry with your target audience. Which one (or more) works best for you?

Below you’ll see Instagram only has one GrowthTool and it works similarly to Messenger’s.

Instagram Comments

Although it’s the only Growth Tool for IG automation (so far), it’s a pretty powerful one. Brands can trigger three distinct automations at once in order to reply to a user’s Instagram Post Comment  - post  a comment, like or “heart” a user’s comment, and send the user who commented a message.

For example, if your jewelry brand is promoting a giveaway, you can post a question like,  “what occasion would you want to wear our earrings?”

Messenger Triggers

  • Facebook Comments 2.0 - These are a lot like Instagram Comments where you have a post connected to the comment tool and it will trigger if someone comments with the right keyword.
  • Facebook Ads JSON - This activates when a Facebook user taps or clicks on a Facebook ad.
  • Customer Chat - A feature used on your brand’s website. It’s used to engage and support users through Messenger.
  • Messenger Ref URL - Probably the most versatile growth tool to use. It’s simply a link that will take users directly to the relevant Messenger flow. You can add the ref URL to the Facebook menu, Instagram bio, website landing page, etc.
  • Facebook Shop Message - If you have a shop set up, you can send an automated reply once someone messages you.

Messenger Embeddable Widgets

  • Button Widget - If you’re looking for a discreet way to talk to your patrons on your website, ManyChat’s button widget is one way to go. From this button, you can send your future customers to a clear-cut chatbot conversation to build your customer list by collecting information, delivering a lead magnet, or you can personally engage with customers through Live Chat.
  • Box Widget - This is another cool widget you can embed anywhere on your website. Think of it as the button’s bigger brother. A good example ofwhere you can use this feature is on a blog that ties into a Messenger flow related to the blog.

Messenger Overlay Widgets

These easy-to-use tools can be added onto any website and can turn visitors into bonafide subscribers for promotions or other goodies without you having to do anything else but provide content (that can be updated and editable on ManyChat). They can be used with any platform that has customization capabilities for the head section of your web page, so you don't have to integrate them manually!

How do you want this to look on your website to boost conversions and capture leads? Well, ManyChat has four options:

  • Bar - You can use this on any of your website pages you want. It hovers at the top of the page or you can set it as a sticky footer. If you’re looking to promote limited time or seasonal product sales or launches, the bar is great to use.
  • Slide in - Appearing at the edge of your screen. It can slide in from the left, right, or the bottom. This is great to use if you want to decrease the likelihood of abandoned carts, getting customer feedback, and providing product recommendations.
  • Facebook Modal - Probably the most popular of the four overlay widget. The modal is a pop-up window that appears at the center of the screen. It’s purpose is to increase conversions, leads, and ManyChat contacts. If done correctly they can also help increase sales!
  • Page Takeover - It’s exactly how it sounds. This feature covers the page to really grab the visitors attention to make a decision. This is also great for product launches and relevant offers and coupons.

Other Messenger Widgets

  • QR Code - I’m sure the majority of us are familiar with this one. Immediately direct the user to your bot by just scanning. If you have a product insert (hopefully you do) this should absolutely be on it! A great Messenger flow example is a product registration flow.
  • Landing Page - With the landing page Growth Tool, you can quickly and easily publish an engaging lead magnet in minutes. It’s perfect for Chat Marketers who want to drive leads into their Messenger bot sequence without spending hours on design work.
  • Checkbox - When you add the Checkbox Growth Tool to your website, it will allow visitors who complete certain forms on-site and enter their email address into these boxes. Then they can be opted in for future messages from ManyChat.

What’s Best For Your Brand?

So, which automation platform should you choose for your business to up your chat marketing game? The answer is – it depends. Instagram automation still has great features to create leads, but Messenger automation currently has more features than Instagram does. Of course if your customers live on Instagram, it is the clear best option. We’ll have to wait and see what Facebook announces in the future regarding their platforms - hopefully we will see a lot more features coming available in Instagram soon! In the meantime, if you’re looking for customer engagement, The Chat Agency can help! We are experts in chatbot marketing and building chatbots that convert. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business grow using chatbot marketing strategies!


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