Digital Marketing

How Facebook Messenger Generates Cost-effective, Trackable Leads

It’s been an undoubtedly interesting year running Facebook ad campaigns.

Apple’s implementation of iOS 14.5 has, at best, caused a shift in our ability to track and attribute campaigns that rely on pixel data.

At worst, it has made Facebook an advertising platform that is less attractive to advertisers interested in direct response.

But pixel-based conversions aren’t the only way to get results within Facebook. In fact, lead forms on Facebook and Messenger are an effective and relatively underutilized way to drive a lead flow that is immune to the tracking issues caused by iOS 14.5.

In this column, you’ll learn the step-by-step process to make it work for you. But first…

How did we get here?

To understand the value of lead generation tactics on Facebook, we need to understand why they matter now.

To make a long story short, iOS 14.5 flipped the text on tracking pixels for iOS devices this year.

Prior to iOS 14.5, Apple automatically selected device users for their IDFA (identifier for advertisers), which is like a cookie that allows third-party advertisers to track conversions on mobile devices.

When iOS 14.5 was pushed to Apple devices, IDFA was no longer an automatic selection. Instead, users were defaulted to opting out and asked if they wanted to opt in for tracking.

Suffice it to say, general privacy concerns and a lack of trust among consumers in how companies like Google and Facebook use their data have driven down subscription rates.

According to Flurrya mobile analytics company that has been tracking subscription rates since the launch of iOS 14.5, the current average subscription rate in the US is 15%.

This means that approximately 15% of Apple devices running iOS 14.5 allow IDFA. Or more importantly, 85% are not comfortable sharing their data.

Thus, Facebook has had to get creative when it comes to tracking iOS device users’ conversions by implementing sample conversions. The end result is delayed and not always that accurate data for pixel-based conversions.

Late data can make campaign optimization more difficult and less effective as you may not see the full picture.

Meanwhile, inaccurate data may lead advertisers to believe their campaigns are less effective than they actually are, leading to wasted opportunities.

Lead generation forms are immune to iOS 14 tracking issues

Fortunately, pixel-based conversions aren’t the only conversion options available. Facebook lead generation forms It has long been an alternative to landing page lead forms, allowing users to submit their information directly within the ad unit.

This medium does completely bypass landing pages – resulting in a smoother user experience and possibly a higher conversion rate – but there is no pixel involved.

And in today’s environment, no pixel means more reliable data. Leads are sent and tracked all within the platform.

While not perfect, Facebook lead generation forms have consistently outperformed landing pages from a CPL standpoint, in my experience.

If you’re running Facebook lead generation campaigns and rely exclusively on landing page web forms, I highly encourage you to test this alternative out.

Chat: A new way to generate leads on Facebook

But forms are not the only way to generate leads within the Facebook platform. Over the past several months, Facebook has quietly transformed Messenger, Instagram DM, and WhatsApp into powerful lead generation tools.

For a while now, advertisers have been able to boost conversations, which means that ads can generate conversations with the page as the main target (instead of directing traffic to a website).

But the goal of these types of campaigns is to create conversations between brands and potential customers.

They are not designed for easy or automated lead generation, and usually require manual labor to chat with the lead. It is not ideal for large scale lead gen campaigns.

Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp now have the ability to generate the same kind of leads on Facebook that a lead generation model can drive.

How to create an effective lead generation chatbot campaign

Step 1: Create a new campaign within Facebook, and choose “Lead Generation” as your goal.

Step 2: Under Ad group settings, you will see an option at the top for ‘Lead Method’. Select “Chat Bot”.

How to Create an Effective Lead Generation Chat Campaign Step 2

Step 3: Under the Ad Settings section, towards the bottom, you’ll see a section titled “Form Message.”

How to Create an Effective Lead Generation Chat Campaign Step 3

Step 4: Create your chat experience

Facebook’s chat template generator will allow advertisers to create automated chat experiences that collect leads through a simple question-and-answer interface.

Create your own welcome message. This will be the first automated message sent on behalf of your Page.

This can be coded to dynamically insert the name of the person who initiated the chat.

How to Create an Effective Lead Generation Chat Campaign Step 4.1

Create questions for each piece of lead data you wish to collect.

Facebook has several pre-populated options for different contact fields, which will automatically suggest an answer based on the user’s profile information.

How to Create an Effective Lead Generation Chat Campaign Step 4.2

How Facebook Messenger Generates Cost Effective & Trackable Leads

Step 5: Create your completion letter.

The completion message is the last message the user will receive, after successfully completing all the lead generation questions.

At this point, the data has been sent to Facebook and is available for download. You can also integrate directly with your existing CRM system thanks to the Number of partner integrations with the best platforms.

In addition to collecting leads, these lead generation conversations can be used to fulfill content offerings held after the lead has been submitted.

So if you’re using an e-book, white paper, or other content in exchange for lead information, you can include a link to download that asset here.

How to Create an Effective Lead Generation Chat Campaign Step 5

Step 6: Preview the user experience and make adjustments.

As you create questions and adjust the chat flow, you’ll see a chat preview on the right side of the window.

In addition, you can send your draft chat directly to your Facebook Messenger, allowing you to go through the experience step by step.

How Facebook Messenger Generates Cost Effective & Trackable Leads

Please note that this will create an actual conversation with the Page, so plan accordingly if you have other team members monitoring your Page’s messages.

Step 7: Define your audience and create your ads.

With the created and tested chat experience, you can now finalize the rest of your campaign details.

Define your audience just as you would any other lead generation campaign, and create ads that entice users to engage with your brand via chat.

Why use lead generation chats?

If you are familiar with chat testing as a lead generation method, consider the following results.

For one of our agency’s largest B2B clients who uses forms as their primary method of generating leads, we tested a chat campaign with matched targeting and the results were:

Example of Facebook conversation results

  • The CPM was much lower (almost) for a lead generation conversation campaign, allowing for more impressions to be offered for less spend
  • While the chat CTR was lower, the conversion rates for the chats were similar enough for the models to allow for a significant reduction in total conversion cost.
  • This achieved around 30% reduction in the average cost of paying as you go chats

In addition to the potential efficiency gains, the chat functionality also allows your page to continue chatting with the user.

This is excellent for the additional opportunities to engage your leads after you’ve submitted your lead – something that’s not so easy to do with forms.

These campaigns can also be programmed to run only at times when additional sales and support representatives are available to answer any additional questions that arise.

And for companies that use third-party chatbots on their websites, such as Intercom or Drift, Facebook can seamlessly integrate with many service providers.

This gives sales and marketing teams the ability to connect with Facebook chat customers using their preferred platform.

Test it

If your social lead generation strategy relies entirely on driving traffic externally, you are likely to find your job increasingly challenging as more privacy-focused changes are made by the companies that provide our existing marketing infrastructure.

That’s why now is the time to build, test, and perfect your tactics for driving leads through native Facebook tools.

It is often a better experience for users. The results can outpace current tactics.

More importantly, it’s immune to changes that made advertising on Facebook more difficult in 2021.

More resources:

  • How do Facebook ads actually work? Here’s what you need to know
  • How to build the perfect Facebook ad audience
  • How to Advertise on Facebook: A Beginner’s Guide

Image credits

Featured image: Caspars Grinvalds /
Screenshots taken by the author, September 2021

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