How the UFC is Winning with a Facebook Messenger Bot

Stefan van der VlagCasestudies, General


With Messaging Apps surpassing social media usage in 2014 already… Whatsapp containing a user base of more than 2 billion, Facebook Messenger 1.3 billion, and WeChat 1 billion… It’s safe to state that, as a business, you can’t ignore conversational marketing. 

Hell, especially Facebook Messenger. It’s expected to grow to a whopping 2.4 billion users by the end of 2021! And don’t forget about the Customer Chat widget. This widget can now be used on your website, without 100% reliance on Facebook. Yes! People, whether they have a Facebook account or NOT, can now talk to your Page via your website. Now this, along with Messenger’s astronomical growth… Assists in the fact Messenger has a 70% greater open rate than email marketing. We don’t know if this is due to the psychological temptation of an unopened text. Or if we can count it to the user’s frustration towards flooded email inboxes… We do know it currently outperforms any other marketing channel out there. So, whether you like it or not… Facebook’s introduction of bots in 2016 has reshaped B2C and B2B interaction.

So, let’s take an in-depth look at what bots are and how Facebook Messenger changes marketing as we know it:

The Age of Instant Messaging

Messenger Apps have already taken over. Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and WeChat are the world’s most popular messaging apps. Between each of them, more than 4 billion users use these platforms. They use it to keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues – and now businesses too. Messaging platforms are simple in their functionality. They tend to focus on instant messaging and stories. Snapchat and Facebook Messenger are prime examples of this strategy. 

And since many people access messages daily… the likelihood of seeing an advertisement is high. And with people now used to receiving quick instant messages… It’s the perfect time to shove your messages between their day-to-day conversations. But, Facebook Messenger allows businesses to go one step further. Chatbots can message and respond to customers without the oversight of marketing teams.

Messenger Bots: What Can They Do?

Messenger bots can use the power of AI to interact and guide customers through the sales process. They can respond to concerns or highlight promotions. But they can also collect feedback or quote prices. Yup, it’s all possible through a chatbot. Chatbots enable 2-way communication between the business and the customer. Without human interaction on the business end. The bot reads inputs by the user. It then curates responses and conversation flow from thousands of possible combinations. You can automate messages depending on customer behaviors.

The time of selling and buying person to person is already somewhat old fashioned. Online shopping and consumers are now willing to forgo human interaction for convenience. Receiving notifications on orders, promotions, and messages in one place saves time. With Chatbots, customers can get the answers they want without small talk or waiting. The ROI for businesses is significant, with one set up and thousands of sales conversions. Sales teams can focus on improving the quality of the sales experience.

Why Do Messenger Bots Work?

More complex bots use machine learning. They use it to interpret the right words, phrases, and intents, following customer input. And so, bots can simulate human conversation using this understanding. But, bots don’t always have to be ‘smart’. They can feed the user with static information depending on user’s input.

I.E., If someone wants to know the price of a product… the bot can reply instantly without any complicated computing power. 

Developing and programming your own chatbot in cold hard code can be tedious. Especially when you want to add algorithms and/or decision trees. It also requires considerable resources and data. Luckily, through Clepher, the bot creation process is far more straightforward. Bots can create automated chat sequences for specific groups of subscribers.

What’s cool is that chatbots tied to a social platform have more data on each subscriber/user. And savvy as you are, you know that data is key to winning with business in today’s world. For example, Messenger provides a full name, timezone, gender, and profile picture. Plus, you can ask for people’s email addresses and phone numbers tied to their FB account. When you put this off against email marketing… it only provides an email address. And bots? They can send notifications like news reports, receipts, and sports scores. Users can also scan QR codes, make bookings, and discover new bots.

Advantages of Messenger Bots

There are many advantages to businesses using a Messenger Bot. Chatbots offer your customers 24/7 instant support. Response time is essential, even during after-hours when the marketing team is offline. Bots can pick up the slack during the night. This reduces your team’s daily load, and it keeps customers feeling heard. Waiting for responses can frustrate customers or dissuade them from making purchases. But, bots provide instant answers.

Messenger can target specific customers and groups. They can even do this at different times or for other purposes. The same targeting capabilities on Facebook Ads are now available via Messenger. Bots have access to a lot more customer data without any touchpoints to collect that data.

Facebook news feed posts only get 0-2% organic visibility and a 2% CTR. Whereas Messenger has 90-95% organic visibility and a 30% CTR. Plus, bots on Messenger currently have a far higher percentage open rate and CTR. Messenger Ads are also now far cheaper than other alternatives. Chatbot capabilities can provide information, confirm purchases, make bookings, and schedule appointments. Chatbots can take a significant load from your team so that you can focus on more valuable work.

Disadvantages of Messenger Bots

Nothing? 😉 Alright, if I were to think of one… One of the downsides is that your messages have to be distilled down to a few lines. And due to this, it’s harder to offer in-depth content or newsletters that worked well through email. It was easy to adapt, though. Copy needs to be shorter. Punctuation is more important. But, Messenger is not email. And so, it should not get the same treatment. Oh, come to think of it. Facebook owns Messenger. While Messenger will not likely shut down any time soon. But when you want to run Sponsored Messages, you are subject to the Ad rates FB sets. Updates or changes that you don’t like or agree with aren’t optional.

How Businesses Are Leveraging Messenger Bots

‘Email’ has been the go-to marketing strategy for businesses for more than a decade. It let companies update their subscribers on promotions. Email also allows for targeted ads due to shopping history and manage memberships. But there’s a problem. Email marketing is only as effective as the quality of the database. Database quality is the matching degree between the marketing targets and customers. Like, how many customers in your user database actually want to receive your emails? How many are interested in your new product this week? It’s these kinds of questions that are crucial to the effectiveness of email marketing. 

Targeting options on Messenger platforms allow you to find prospects. Prospects that are most likely to want to engage with your business at that moment. You can even upload customer data to Facebook, such as emails, FB user ID’s, or phone numbers… and have the platform match those contacts. This superior targeting ability is likely one of the reasons why Messenger’s average open rate is 90%. And why its average CTR (Click Through Rate) is 30%. This is superior to email’s average open rate of 23% and an average CTR of 3.3%.

What Does This Mean in Practice?

Now that we understand the advantages and disadvantages of businesses. We need to interpret what this means for your business. Practically, there are several benefits to business metrics and KPI’s.

Let’s run through Messenger’s main benefits first. Before studying how the UFC leveraged Messenger Bots:

Better Lead Generation

Bots are a highly efficient way for businesses to talk to prospects. Especially when it comes to guiding them through the buying process. Plus, bots will follow your preset questions to convince customers to gain leads. Chatbots ensure better lead validation. Chatbots can convert visitors to your website into potential customers. After qualifying, they can be directed towards the sales team. Once directed there, lead nurturing is based on the customer’s specific journey. Personalized offers, discounts, promotions, and combination offers help boost sales conversions.

Saving on Customer Service

Operational costs, like spending on customer support, can be significantly reduced. Every year, approximately 265 billion customer requests come through. Costing a total of $1.3 trillion in servicing. Chatbots can help reduce this sum by 30%. Costs add up over salaries, training, and infrastructure. Hiring more customer support staff takes time, effort, and money. If revenue isn’t met after such an investment, damage to the business can be substantial.

Chatbots are adaptable. They can scale support during busy periods. Or, before significant events, like UFC fights. Scalability can be a big issue with human customer support agents. Businesses in need of live support agents may not be able to predict when to hire them accurately. Opposed to bots, they can handle thousands of conversations simultaneously. And every customer will be answered instantly. If they have very specific or detailed questions, your live support can pick them up.

Increased Engagement

Successful engagements with customers increase the amount people spend on your business by 20 to 40%. One-on-one support for your customers will significantly increase satisfaction with your services. Personalization also helps smooth customer interactions.

Saved Time

It is estimated that Chatbots can help save businesses more than $8 billion globally per year. Reduction in the workforce, operating costs, and time are priceless. Bots automate simple queries, which save time for more crucial support. Bots can deliver results without the need for human interaction. And so, cover when teams are not available.

Increased Productivity

With a shift towards bot interactions… sales teams can focus on more important tasks like improving flow. The productivity of your team can skyrocket. Think of faster average response times. Or shorter first response time.

How the UFC Leveraged Messenger Bots

The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is a world-renowned mixed martial arts organization. They utilized Messenger to boost purchases by 25% compared to previous promotions. The UFC has more than 80 million social media followers. They’re considered to be the world’s most high profile MMA organization. Think Wimbledon of Tennis but for combat sports. UFC broadcasts to over 1 billion TV’s across more than 170 countries.

The UFC Messenger Chatbot

Using Messenger to remove friction between customers and fans’ interactions, the UFC capitalized. The UFC maintained profile and publicity leading up to UFC 244.

Using Past Experience

The UFC before created similar experiences for fans. Which allowed them to use detailed responses. They worked with Media33 (their media partner) and built an AI experience. The AI included automated FAQs, photos, GIFs, videos, content, and links to products.


The UFC has fans and customers all around the world. Different customers in different time zones and locations. Through Messenger, they can access content and fights in a wide variety of ways. Messenger allowed the UFC to give fans a personalized experience. Depending on their location, they saw advertisements and promotions only relevant to them. The result? A significantly higher conversion rate.

Spreading the Word

The UFC also used lookalike audiences to target users. Audiences with similar interests to the same content as other UFC fans were picked. In doing so, the UFC managed to locate other MMA fans and encourage contact via Messenger. The UFC could track the effectiveness of its new strategies live during its campaign. As a result, the UFC saw a 15% increase in returns on ad spending. It also saw a 2.1X increase in conversion rate from messages and a 25% increase in conversion from interest.

Final Thoughts

Messenger Bots are transforming the way businesses interact with their customers. Reduced costs, increased efficiency, and improved conversion rates are some of the bonuses a business can expect. Especially when you’re interested in tailoring a more personalized approach. Which has proven to be more of an effective campaign to promote your products, events, or brand. In that case, Messenger might be right for you.

If you’d like to discover how Facebook Messenger Bots work, please check out the rest of our blog. Chatbots can be complex, but they don’t have to be. They are just extremely beneficial in both the short and long-term. Messenger Chatbots are changing the landscape of marketing. If you’re already convinced… and are ready to hop on board and use the future of marketing…. check out our powerful solution to create your personalized chatbot without coding. See you there!

Click Here to Discover How to Implement a Messenger Bot in your business!


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