OpestaChanging Facebook Messenger Marketing Automation For Thousand Users
Opesta is a marketing automation SaaS app which instantly increases open rates, click through rates, and conversions by providing EVERYTHING you need to generate leads, market, and sell using the Facebook Messenger.
The client wanted to build a new marketing automation platform for Facebook Messenger, which would focus on the most important aspect of any marketing platform: SALES.
The project goal was to launch MVP as soon as possible within a restricted budget and with specified scope. The project scope was of high priority as it would allow us to differentiate the new platform among the high market competition.
At the time our client got this idea to start a new Facebook marketing platform, the market was already full of strong leaders.
Thus, the main business challenge was to find a specific niche, differentiate new SaaS from top competitors and start with a narrow segment of users. Find product market fit within a small niche at first.
The main technical challenge was to constantly keep up with ever-changing Facebook Messenger API and balance our resources between new feature development and supporting existing features and make sure they keep working.
All existing top Facebook Messenger automation platforms already had a huge list of advanced features. We didn’t have the luxury to replicate it all. Instead, we had to focus on the most important functions and make them in a bit different and much better way.
Finally, it was vital to push something pretty fast to the market and not to miss a good opportunity window. At that time Facebook Messenger Chatbots started to grow like mushrooms after rain.
So together with the client, our team had to find the best possible niche and technology to push MVP version to market fast and get first paying users on day ONE.
Users in 2 Months after MVP Launch
Message Broadcasts per Month
Paid Users right after MVP Launch
Together with client SoftFormance team found a solution to start with a minimum set of features that would benefit a narrow niche of customers.
Among other niches, we decided to go and build specific tools for online e-commerce owners.
We also understood that if we’d allow our users to be more focused on end results (more sales) than current Facebook chatbot leaders, we’d be able to enter the market successfully.
Thus we also decided to implement own Pixel and add Goals feature which was not available at that time in any of competitor platforms.
The technical solution had to re-use as many of SoftFormance’s own libraries and opensource technologies as possible. That allowed us to spend 80-90% of our time, focus and resources on the most challenging project features: connection with Facebook Messenger API.
It all started with SaaS Startup Planning Workshop. Then we moved to the prototype phase, MVP development and launch. Now, we actively help our client support, improve and scale Opesta SaaS application and business.
SaaS Startup Planning Workshop
As usual, we started our new SaaS startup project with a proper planning phase, with multi-days SaaS workshop.
In the first part of the workshop, together with the client, we developed Product Strategy and brainstormed couple directions on customers segmentation.
Next, we targeted project requirements, MVP list and went over most challenging technical tasks. During the workshop, our team performed a couple of quick coding experiments to prove that the overall idea is doable.
As a result of the planning workshop, we had a detailed plan for the business and development parts of the startup.
Our team delivered a detailed plan with timeline, costs and work breakdown structure. Detailed project specification has also been laid out for the next couple months of development.
Thus, we lowered project risks, put a detailed plan together and were ready to move to the MVP development stage.
All our SaaS startup projects we develop in agile 1-3 weeks sprints with upfront backlog grooming process and after-sprint demo sessions.
We start with the most challenging and most important tasks first. For MVP we usually suggest to simplify good part of complex features at first and then improve them over time.
Opesta project was no different. In the first couple sprints, among other features, we targeted:
- Facebook Page Connection
- Subscribers Collection
- Rich Message Editor (started with a kind of simplistic version at first)
- One-time Broadcasts
- Prototyped Sequence Messages
- Basic Automated Messages (like Welcome msg, Subscribe/Unsubscribe, etc…)
Only then, when all the basics were covered, we moved to more advanced features:
- Own Pixel Server which users can embed on their websites and connect FB user with their website visitor
- Multiple triggers, goals, and actions focused around getting more sales for end users
- Advanced automated conversation builder (nested messages, replies with buttons, and many many more…)
- Extra features for segmented customers (e.g. e-commerce, service providers)
- Advanced Subscribers Management options
- And many more…
MVP Version Mockups
MVP Version Launch
After about 9 active months of development, we launched our FB messenger platform to the public.
On day 1 with a proper marketing plan and execution, our client was able to get hundreds of signups. (Want to know more? Contact Us)
The system and infrastructure we built proved to keep this load easily.
Our team prepared such a project setup which allowed us seamlessly deploy and update our production servers with one mouse click. Fast and easy.
We were able to support the production server and apply hotfixes instantly, a couple of times a day.
After the initial release, SoftFormance team also took an active part in supporting end users helping our client with Intercom requests and regular fixes.
Until now, we actively develop, support and scale successful SaaS business for our client. More on scaling below…
Facebook API Challenges
One of the biggest technical project challenges were (and still are) integrations with Facebook Messenger APIs.
It changes all the time. So, the team needs to keep project features up to date.
Sometimes, APIs do not work as documented. In that case, SoftFormance development team comes up with workarounds and helps Facebook support team with fixes and reports.
But that is still not the end of the story.
Couple months after MVP release, back in spring 2018, we had those long running issues with Facebook data security and court case. That event influenced all our Facebook and Instagram related SaaS clients at once.
Opesta was under the effect. For more than 3 months our team was coming up with temporarily workarounds to keep existing features working and to keep as many paid users as possible.
That was a tough period for the startup, but we passed through it, learned a lot and were able to keep pushing in the same direction.
«The app boasted over 6,000 users, who appreciated its clean designs and solid performance. SoftFormance impressed with their capable project management, deep talent pool, and consistent communication style.»
- 3 Full-Stack Web Developers
- Business Analyst
- Project Manager
- QA Engineer
With hundreds of users, hundreds of connected Facebook Pages, millions of outgoing and incoming messages project infrastructure is being constantly tweaked to keep the load.
SoftFormance team successfully employed the necessary tools to monitor and constantly prepare the system to handle more and more paid users:
- Running as many activities in the background as possible
- Employing micro-services infrastructure
- Having mirrored instances with balancers
- Dedicated storage databases for short-time caching
- Proper server, web server and application level caching and performance optimization in place
- Complex load and activity monitoring tools with alerts about possible future issues
- and many many more…
Key Technologies Used
Python & Django web framework
PostgreSQL and Redis databases
Celery and RabbitMQ
Facebook Messenger API