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

By Dana Tran | Updated: Sept 15 2017

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? People asking which one is “the best” platform to build a Messenger Bot? Which is an important question, especially since you cannot easily migrate your Messenger subscribers list from one platform to another!

To evaluate both platforms, I came up with a list of 14 criteria. (Yes…fourteen. 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 14 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. Any other unique features?

ManyChat vs Chatfuel PDF

No time to read this in-depth article? I can send you a free 1-page summary!
(Don't have Messenger?)

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 July 2017.

2. User-Friendly Interface

ManyChat has a very (beautiful) clean, modern user interface.

  • 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.

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

3. Campaigns & 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
  • You cannot duplicate messages 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 NOT have a payment option within Messenger (i.e., people cannot 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
  • No random responses – your Messenger Bot only has one single response to a question. Currently, you cannot 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 cannot temporarily turn off your bot. If you have automatic keywords replies setup, the bot can interrupt your chat conversation if the user types in a “trigger keyword”
  • Mobile Friendly Built-In Live Chat – the live chat is only accessible from a desktop or laptop. You’ll have to use Facebook’s native inbox if you want 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 – https://m.me/thinktuitive?ref=welcome
  • 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
  • No logic or calculation built into the custom field – You cannot add, subtract or show users a different message based on an “if this then that” logic

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

You can 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!

Here’s a quick summary of the Zapier triggers and actions:

ManyChat Zapier Triggers:

  • Custom Field Updated
  • New Subscriber
  • New Tag Added to Subscriber
  • New “Trigger a Zap” Event
  • New Conversation Opened

ManyChat Zapier Actions:

  • Add Subscriber to Sequence
  • Remove Subscriber from Sequence
  • Send Text to Subscriber
  • Set Custom Field
  • Remove Tag from User
  • Add Tag to Use

(New to Zapier? Learn how Zapier works!)

14. 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

ManyChat vs Chatfuel PDF

No time to read this in-depth article? I can send you a free 1-page summary!
(Don't have Messenger?)

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 is completely free! You get access to ALL features, but your bot will display the “Powered by Chatfuel” branding in the bot’s persistent menu.

To remove this branding, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid Pro Plan, starting from $30+/month and will eventually come with additional features and functionalities. Monthly price depends on the maximum number of reachable users in a given 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 & Broadcasts

  • Broadcast – You can send out broadcast to a filtered list of users
  • Campaigns
    • 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

With Chatfuel, you cannot easily see who is subscribed to your Messenger Bot. Chatfuel might be working on a subscriber dashboard, but nothing official has been announced.

  • No Subscriber List Dashboard – you could use Chatfuel’s JSON API feature to create a list of subscribers in a spreadsheet or your CRM. However, this is something you’ll have to configure, it is not a built-in solution!
  • No Live Chat – you can still reply to messages using your Facebook Page Inbox
  • Faceboook Profile Info – Even though there’s no subscriber list, Chatfuel does 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.

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. https://m.me/thinktuitive?ref=welcome

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 Dashbot.io, 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 cannot manually assign or changed by admins – they can only be set & changed by the user
  • 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. Other Unique Features:

  • Besides the tutorial templates, Chatfuel also comes with a few other templates. All templates are free and accessible from the top bar when you login to Chatfuel.

ManyChat vs Chatfuel PDF

No time to read this in-depth article? I can send you a free 1-page summary!
(Don't have Messenger?)

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, Chatfuel currently doesn’t have a subscriber dashboard….and their UI to create sequences could use some improvement (in my opinion)!

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.

Which One Should You Use?

It comes down to choosing the platform that best suits your businesses needs:

  • Is it more important to you to see a list of subscribers directly inside the platform? Or are you willing to put in the extra effort to send the subscriber data to a CRM or Google Sheet?
  • Do you plan on having simple “linear” message sequence?
  • Or interactive choose-your-own-adventure sequence?
  • Do you need to do any calculations? Or automatically trigger a message based on a custom field score?

Here’s my Recommendation for Your Next Step:

  1. Visit DanaBot to take a short (fun) quiz to see which platform she recommends for your business!
  2. Download and complete this checklist to help you identify any must-have features for your Bot
  3. Compare the 2 platforms using the checklist, this in-depth article and one-page summary
  4. Follow the step-by-step guide in this next article to create a simple Messenger Bot using both ManyChat and Chatfuel – to see which one you like better!

ManyChat vs Chatfuel PDF

No time to read this in-depth article? I can send you a free 1-page summary!
(Don't have Messenger?)