ManyChat vs Chatfuel - An In-Depth Review & Comparison • ThinkTuitive
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ManyChat vs Chatfuel

An In-Depth Review & Comparison

By Dana Tran | Last Updated: June 21 2018

If you do a search for “the best Messenger Bot-Building platforms”, you’ll probably come across these two names and the debate between ManyChat vs Chatfuel

Both platforms require ZERO coding experience – which means that anyone can build a Messenger Bot! (Yay!)

But which platform should you use? What’s the difference between Chatfuel vs ManyChat? Which one is “the best” platform to build a Messenger Bot – an important question, especially since you cannot easily migrate your Messenger subscribers list from one platform to another!

To evaluate both ManyChat and Chatfuel, I came up with a list of 16 criteria. (Yes…sixteen. This is going to be an in-depth review and comparison!)

However, the goal of this article is not to pick “the winner”.

The main purpose is to highlight features, pros, cons, and compare the differences between Chatfuel vs ManyChat – to help you pick the platform that works best for your business.

A few note:

  • This review contains both fact and (my own personal) opinion. Not anyone else’s.
  • No one is paying me to review these platforms, and I am not affiliated with Chatfuel, ManyChat or Facebook.
  • I did NOT go through any how-to tutorial or documentation before evaluating each platform.
  • Although I plan on updating this article from time to time, I cannot guarantee that the information below is always up-to-date. For the latest price and features, please visit the platform’s site directly.

Sound good? Let’s get started!

The 16 Evaluation Criteria

  1. Free Plan & Subscription Cost – What’s does the platform cost? Is it a flat monthly fee? Or does it depend on the number of subscribers?
  2. User-Friendly Interface – Is the bot platform easy to use? Does it have a visual drag-and-drop interface? Or a built-in bot tester?
  3. Campaigns & Broadcasts – Can you send out a message to a segment of subscribers? How about automated sequences?
  4. Payment & E-Commerce – Can you to collect payments for your products or services directly in Messenger?
  5. Bot Elements – Can you send videos, attachments, galleries, and all other content types that are available on the Messenger platform?
  6. Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing (AI & NLP) – Can you teach your bot to reply to questions or keywords? Randomize responses?
  7. Subscribers & Live Chat – Is there a subscriber list dashboard? Or a built-in live chat feature? Can you temporarily pause the bot for a human to “take over” the conversation?
  8. Marketing – Any built-in tools to help you promote your bot? Buttons? Landing pages?
  9. Analytics – Does the platform report stats for sent, open or clicked messages? What about the number of subscribers? Can it report popular user inputs?
  10. Form & User Input – Can you create a bot to ask a series of questions, collect responses and save them to the user’s profile? Can it validate user input?
  11. Tags & Custom Fields – Can you tag user based on their actions? How about custom fields? Can they be set manually?
  12. Send Notifications – Can it send notifications to admins? By email and Messenger?
  13. Integrations – Can you send or get data from other tools? Any integrations with Zapier? CRM? Google Sheets? Webhooks?
  14. Clone – Can you easily clone your messages and bots?
  15. Template – Can you easily create bot templates to reuse for multiple projects? To easily share templates with others?
  16. Any other unique features?

A Review of ManyChat

ManyChat was founded in 2015.

It is a visual bot builder for Facebook Messenger with broadcasts, analytics, scheduled posting and many other features!

1. Free Plan & Subscription

ManyChat has a Free Basic Plan that comes with limited features and the ManyChat branding in the bot’s menu and promotional tools.

If you sign up for their Pro Plans – you’ll get access to all features, unlimited tags, custom fields and no ManyChat branding in the menu. (The ManyChat logo will still appear in some promotional growth tools)

  • 500 subscribers: $10/month
  • 1,000 subscribers: $15/month
  • 2,500 subscribers: $25/month
  • 5,000 subscribers: $45/month
  • 10,000 subscribers: $65/month
  • 15,000 subscribers: $95/month
  • 20,000 subscribers: $125/month
  • 25,000 subscribers: $145/month

Note: Please check ManyChat directly for the latest plan price. These numbers are accurate as of January 2018.

2. User-Friendly Interface

ManyChat has a very (beautiful) clean, modern user interface. To build a bot, you have the option of either working in their Basic Builder, or their Flow Builder (a new feature they introduced in November 2017)!

  • Learning curve – easy to get started without going through any tutorials
  • Built-in Bot Tester – you can only preview your message. To test your bot, you’ll need to click on the “preview” button

3. Campaigns, Sequences, & Broadcasts

ManyChat has the ability to send both broadcast and campaigns:

  • Broadcast – send out a message to a targeted or filtered group of users (eg. send a follow-up to your customers only)
  • Campaigns – automatically send a sequence of messages (with delays) to any user who opted-in to your campaign (eg. automate message reminders for an upcoming webinar, mini-course or video series)
  • Ability to duplicate messages – create “message templates” or repurpose messages to save you time
  • Ability to duplicate conversation flows from one bot to another bot

Other Unique Features:

  • Before you send a broadcast, you can check to see who is going to receive your message (# of users & name)
  • Send a broadcast at a specific time according to the user’s timezone (eg. send at 9 am local time for each user)
  • Change the notification setting for the broadcast:
    • turn sound on/off when the user receives the message
    • turn notification on/off for the first and subsequent messages
  • Limit sending day and time for sequences (eg. only send a sequence message on weekdays from 9am-5pm)

4. Payments & E-Commerce

  • ManyChat does have a payment option within Messenger (i.e., people can pay for your product or services directly in Messenger!)

5. Bot Elements

With ManyChat, your Messenger Bot can send different types of content, including:

  • Delays (up to 60 seconds)
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Attachments
  • Quick Replies
  • Call Button
  • Share Button
  • List
  • Built-in Emoji Keyboard
  • Galleries (with square images only)
  • Persistent Menu
  • Webview at 100% height
  • Webview at 70% height
  • Webview at 40% height

6. Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing (AI & NLP)

ManyChat has limited A.I. capabilities, and no Natural Language Processing. However, your bot can:

  • Automatically reply to keywords entered by the user (keywords must be exact match!)
  • Automatically reply to questions entered by the user BUT you’ll need to setup multiple variations of the same question (e.g., Can I book an appointment? I’d look to make an appointment? How do I make an appointment?) – not exactly an ideal solution
  • Random responses – you can use the A/B split test feature to create variations for an automated reply.

7. Subscribers & Live Chat

If you’re currently using email marketing, then you’ll love ManyChat’s Audience Dashboard:

  • Subscriber/Audience Dashboard – A list and profile page for each user who has interacted with your bot. You can also see the user’s tags, custom fields, how they opted-in to your bot, when they first joined and any sequences they are currently enrolled in.
  • Information from Facebook profile – ManyChat will automatically pull the user’s first name, last name, gender, time zone and the profile picture directly from Facebook!
  • Built-in Live Chat feature – chat with your users directly inside the ManyChat platform! The live chat window also displays all your user’s information on the sidebar – so you can quickly tag the user, update custom fields and make notes, without switching to another window.
  • Pause Bot for Live Human Takeover – you can now temporarily turn off your bot so that it doesn’t interrupt your chat conversation with a user!
  • Mobile Friendly Built-In Live Chat – Even though the overall ManyChat isn’t mobile friendly, ManyChat’s live chat page is mobile friendly. Alternatively, you can also use Facebook’s native inbox to reply to users from your mobile device.

8. Marketing Tools

Promote your bot using one of the 11 customizable Growth tools, including:

  • Button Creator – create a highly customizable button and checkbox with “initial and after” state
  • Facebook Comments – automatically send a message to users who comment on a specific Facebook post
  • Multiple Landing pages – create and customize multiple landing pages, each leading to a different message or sequence
  • Ref URL – create unique message links for your bot. For example –
  • Overlay widgets – create floating bar, slide-in, popup box with exit-intent, or page takeover

9. Analytics

ManyChat’s reports are perfect for those who want to keep track and capture every click and action!

  • Report stats for sent, open, clicks and conversion rate – for broadcast, sequences, growth tools, buttons, and menu
  • Analytics Dashboard – see the total number users, subscribers and unsubscribes
  • No integrations with third-party analytics tools
  • No reports for user input or user retention

10. Form and User Input

Instead of using a web form, you can create a bot to collect information from your users:

  • Save answers or replies from users as a custom field for later reference
  • Validate information entered from user – check whether the user entered a valid email, number, phone, url, submitted a file, image or their location

11. Tags & Custom Fields

Segment your subscribers with custom fields and tags:

  • Automatically assign or remove tag when a user clicks on a button
  • Automatically set custom fields when a user clicks on a button (e.g., set custom field “registered” to “yes” if a user clicks on a button to confirm their registration)
  • Reference a custom field in a message with a fallback value, just in case the custom field is blank (e.g., personalize a message by greeting users by their name “Hi Dana!” and set the fallback value to say “Hi there!” if the name is blank)
  • Tags and custom fields can be manually assigned and changed by the admin
  • Logic & limited calculation – You can show users a different message based on an “if this then that” logic and perform simple calculations with custom fields that are a “number” type.

12. Notifications

  • ManyChat can send you Daily/Weekly/Monthly subscriber reports
  • Admin Notifications – Admins can get notified by email or Messenger when a user clicks a button

13. Integration

Automatically notify your subscribers when there’s new content on:

  • Your site (RSS Feed)
  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Twitter

ManyChat also has a zapier integration. This means you can connect your bot with other tools such as email marketing, CRM, Google Sheets and more!

(New to Zapier? Learn how Zapier works!)

14. Cloning

With ManyChat, you can:

  • easily select a single or multiple messages and duplicate them with one easy click!
  • duplicate an entire flow (along with all the messages in the flow) to another bot
  • Clone an entire bot – including all flows, sequences, keywords, welcome message, default reply, main menu, structure (Growth Tools will not be cloned)

Keep in mind, when you duplicate a flow from one bot to another, you are not replacing the existing content of the bot. While the clone feature is extremely useful as a template tool, don’t rely on it as tool to backup and restore!

15. Template

ManyChat currently has a template feature (that’s in closed beta as of May 2018). This template feature allows you to:

  • Share an entire Messenger Bot
  • Share flows, general elements, Growth Tools, Custom User Fields, Tags etc.
  • Decide what to include and not to include in the template
  • Automatically generate a landing page for the ManyChat template
  • Include a customize instructions on how to install your template
  • Include a link to a video tutorial

ManyChat has created a basic Restaurant Bot Template as an example. (Tip: install this on a test Facebook page, not your live Facebook Page). Click here for the installation link.

A few downsides to note:

  • Templates with Pro ManyChat elements can be installed only on pages with Pro subscription. For example, if you create a template with more than 3 custom fields (a pro plan feature), than you can only install this template on a pro plan page.
  • This link cannot be secured or password protected. Meaning, if you decide to sell bot templates and share this template link with one person, it is possible for this person to freely share and post the link publicly where anyone and everyone can access i

16. Other Unique Features

  • You can filter your Audience List – by tag, how they opted-in, sequence, gender, locale…just to name a few…
  • Use the Bulk actions feature to:
    • add or remove a tag from multiple users
    • subscribe or unsubscribe users from a sequence
    • manually set or clear custom fields

A Review of Chatfuel

Chatfuel was founded in 2015 with the goal to make bot-building easy for anyone. They originally started on Telegram but they are now focused on helping people build bots on the Facebook Messenger platform.

1. Free Plan & Subscription

Chatfuel has a free plan with a limit of up to 5000 subscribers! On the free plan, you get access to all features with the exception of the People Tab. Your Messenger Bot will also display the “Powered by Chatfuel” branding in the persistent menu and there’s also a Chatfuel branding message in the welcome message.

To remove this branding, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid Pro Plan, which starts from $15+/month. The monthly price will depends on the maximum number of reachable users in a given month. (Click here for more detail on the Pro Plan)

  • 500 subscribers: $15/month
  • 1,000 subscribers: $20/month
  • 2,000 subscribers: $30/month
  • 5,000 subscribers: $55/month
  • 10,000 subscribers: $85/month
  • 15,000 subscribers: $120/month
  • 20,000 subscribers: $150/month
  • 25,000 subscribers: $180/month

2. User-Friendly Interface

To build a bot in Chatfuel, you would add content (eg. text, images) to “blocks.” Each block can contain several messages and other content (such as images or videos). To keep your “blocks” organized, you can “group” them together. You can link several blocks together and easily reuse blocks!

  • Learning curve: easy to medium. When you first login to Chatfuel, it can be a little intimidating…but once you understand how Chatfuel works, it is easy!
  • Built-in Bot Tester: there’s no built-in tester, but you can test your bot by clicking on the “Test This Chatbot” button

You can direct users to another block when:

  • users click on a button or
  • when users meet certain criteria or has a specific custom field (more on this later)

(Coming up in Part 3 of this Free Beginner’s Guide, I’ll show you how to create a basic Messenger Bot using Chatfuel)

3. Campaigns, Sequences, & Broadcasts

  • Broadcast – You can send out broadcast to a filtered list of users
  • Campaigns & Sequences
    • send a series of automated messages to users who opted-in to your campaign (eg. send users a message each day for 7 days)
    • send a followup message to users several minutes/hours/day after they first discovered your bot
    • send a followup message to users several minutes/hours/day after they last chat with your bot
  • Clone messages – Easily to duplicate single messages, or a group of messages from one bot to another!
  • Clone bot – yes, you can clone your entire bot!
  • Note – when you send out a broadcast to a specific group of users, you can see the number of users that match your criteria, but not the names of the user

4. Payments & E-Commerce

You have two options, either use the:

  • Facebook Native Payment  for U.S. bot makers. The bot can only accept payments from U.S. users.
  • Stripe Worldwide Payment – for bot makers in countries where Stripe is available. Bots can accept payments from anywhere in the world

Make sure you review Facebook’s commerce policy before you sell anything using the Messenger platform.

5. Bot Elements

With Chatfuel, your bot can send different types of content, including:

  • Delays (up to 20 seconds)
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Attachments
  • Quick Replies
  • Call Button
  • Share Button
  • List
  • Built-in Emoji Keyboard
  • Galleries (with square & horizontal images)
  • Persistent Menu
  • Webview at 100% height
  • Webview at 70% height
  • Webview at 40% height

Note: Chatfuel doesn’t host your media files. You’ll need to upload them to your website or Dropbox account.

6. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Chatfuel has limited A.I. and Natural Language Processing capabilities. You can:

  • Automatically reply to keywords entered by the user
  • Automatically reply to questions entered by the user – Chatfuel has some built-in NLP to “understand” similar sentences, but it isn’t perfect
  • Reply with random responses – For example, if a user types in “thank you”, the bot can sometimes reply with “You’re welcome” and at other times, with “Anytime. That’s what I’m here for!”. Adding variations makes your bot more interesting!

Note: You can also change the language of the NLP to Albanian, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.

7. Subscribers & Live Chat

  • People Tab – Currently available in beta for the those on the Pro Plan.
  • Facebook Live Chat Website Plugin – you can now embed a Messenger Bot on your website. This was announced in early November 2017. Click here for more details
  • Faceboook Profile Info – Chatfuel automatically pull in certain user information from the user’s Facebook’s profile including first name, last name, gender, locale, timezone and profile pic URL. You can use these fields to help you segment your list for broadcasts and campaigns.

Pause Bot for Live Human Takeover – you can temporarily turn off your bot so that it doesn’t interrupt your chat conversation with a user! (with the help of the live chat plugin)

8. Marketing Tools

Promote your bot using one of the 4 tools, including:

  • Button Creator – create a standard “Send to Messenger” button and checkbox (limited customization)
  • Facebook Comments – automatically send a message to users who comment on a specific Facebook post
  • Custom landing page – create a landing page for your bot (limit to 1 landing page)
  • Ref URL – create unique links for each “block”. For example, here’s the link to my welcome block – eg.

Chatfuel doesn’t have any additional marketing tools such as:

  • Floating Bar
  • Popup box
  • Welcome Mat/Page Takeover

Note: you can embed the “Send to Messenger” button or checkbox on your website or Leadpages (affiliate link)

9. Analytics

  • Report stats for sent, open or clicked message – for broadcast and sequences
  • Analytics Dashboard with total user chart (subscribers and unsubscribes), popular user input, user retention, and more
  • One-click integrations with third-party analytics tools – to get more statistics about your bot, you can connect to, Botanalytics and Yandex Metrica
  • Send Daily/Weekly/Monthly subscriber reports
  • Stats for button and menu “taps”

10. Form and User Input

With Chatfuel, you can build a bot to ask questions and collect information from your visitors

  • Save answers or replies from users as a custom field for later reference (Chatfuel calls this an “attribute”)
  • Validate information entered from user – check to see the user entered a valid email, phone or number
  • Conditional logic – jump between questions or skip questions based on a user’s answer. Direct each user through different paths to create a “smart” bot that asks questions that truly matters.

11. Tags & Custom Fields

Even though Chatfuel doesn’t have any tagging capabilities, its custom field is quite useful. t’s also an important feature to help you create a customized experience for your users.

  • Set custom fields based on user’s actions (e.g., if the user wants to register for a mini-course, you can create a custom field called registered and set the value to “yes”)
  • Reference the custom field in your messages (e.g., personalize your message with the user’s name)
  • Perform simple arithmetic operations using custom fields (e.g., add, subtract, > or < operations)
  • Show users a different message depending on their custom field (e.g., if the score is > 5, then to go success message)
  • Custom fields can only be changed by admins if you have access to the People Tab (which is available to those on the Pro Plan)
  • No “tag” feature in Chatfuel

12. Notifications

  • Notify admins by email  by using the Chatfuel’s “Send Email”plugin. You can use this feature to get your bot to notify you when there’s a new reply to a “form” or when a user needs a real life human to reply to their message on Messenger
  • Send to admin notification when there’s an error with JSON API plugin – For example, Chatfuel can send you a message when there’s an error with your Zapier webhook

13. Integration

Chatfuel comes with quite a few integrations including:

  • RSS Feed – shows RSS content in a gallery
  • JSON API/Webhook – allowing you to send or get data from another platform or tool. You can get quite creative if you use Zapier’s webhook to integrate with your CRM, email marketing, or Google Sheets…just a few ideas…

A few interesting integrations to highlight:

  • Google Site Search – display content from your website in your bot (limited to 100 searches a day by Google)
  • Subscription list – allows users to subscribe/unsubscribe to get stories from RSS feed or search result
  • Zapier – add dynamic content to your bot from Instagram, WordPress, YouTube, Google Docs, and many more…

A few note about Chatfuel’s Zapier integration:

  • Zapier’s integration only comes with “actions” to create or update galleries in your bot
  • There’s no “triggers” built into Chatfuel’s Zapier integration
  • To connect to other tools, platforms, or database, you can use the JSON API and Zapier’s webhook

(New to Zapier? Learn how Zapier works!)

14. Cloning

With Chatfuel you can easily:

  • duplicate a single message block
  • duplicate a group of messages
  • duplicate an entire bot!

All with one simple click!

15. Template

Chatfuel released a new feature called the “Template Marketplace” in late May 2018. It’s a feature that’s available to all users including those on the free plan. When you login, you should see a Template feature in the top bar. There are currently over 60 free template. With this feature you have the ability to:

  • Preview in Messenger – to test it as an actual user to see if the bot has the feature that meets your needs
  • Use the Template – with just one click of a button, you can make a copy of this template and all the blocks that’s currently powering the block. No template is perfect, but you could use it to tweak and modify or use as a starting point!
  • Bot Builder Profile – If your bot template is accepted into the Marketplace, users can also learn more about you by clicking on your name. For example, here is my profile on Chatfuel (you’ll need a Chatfuel account and be logged in to see it).

A few downsides to note:

  • All templates are currently free – which is a downside for those that are hoping to sell bot templates. Chatfuel might introduce a paid marketplace at a later date but this is not currently available
  • No search feature currently available – to find the “right” template, you can only filter using the categories up at the top, but not search is available

Interested in taking part and submitting your bot template to the Marketplace? Just complete the form.

16. Other Unique Features

  • If you’re on the Pro Plan, you can export the Messenger ID of all your users into a spreadsheet by clicking on the “export” button and use it to create more targeted ads
  • You can also collapse your block groups to save space. A really handy feature as you build and add more blocks to your Messenger Bot!

Summary & My Favorite Platform

You’re not going to like the answer…but honestly, I like the both Chatfuel and ManyChat.

Both aren’t perfect solutions – they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

It is easy to get started with ManyChat, but as you add on more messages, it can be difficult to manage and reuse messages.

On the other hand, Chatfuel can look a little more intimidating when you first login, but it is easier to manage and reuse messages – especially as you add more content. However, you can only access the subscriber tab if you’re on Chatfuel’s Pro Plan – which can get a little expensive as your subscriber list grows.

ManyChat has more built-in tools for marketing and statistics…Chatfuel does a better job at using custom fields and conditional logic to provide users with a customized experience.

It comes down to choosing the platform that best suits your preference and business’ needs.