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How To Use External Requests In ManyChat

Max van Collenburg By Max van Collenburg

In this guide, you’ll learn how you can use ManyChat their External Request tool to make your bot smarter & integrate with other tools.

Most people are a bit overwhelmed with this because it looks a bit complicated. But it’s actually really easy (and freakin’ handy) when you get the hang of it.

Let’s dive in! 🙌

Video Tutorial: rather want to watch a step-by-step tutorial instead of reading this article? I got you covered, just click here 🎥

What is an External Request?

The External Request is an action inside ManyChat that allows you to send all kinds of data to other places on the internet.

You can for example trigger Integromat webhooks, send stuff to your server, or use special scripts to get certain info (like the current day & time).

It allows you to do really cool things and make your bot smarter, but it’s a bit technical.

But luckily I’m also not a programmer, so here is my full guide for non-techy people like you and me.

1. Request Type

You can choose between a GET or POST request.

ManyChat External Request: request type

They’re both pretty similar.

The main difference is that with a GET request you have to place the values inside the Request URL, while with the POST you have to place the values inside the body (which is more secure).

You will probably most often you’ll need POST.

I only use GET when the API of the tool I’m trying to connect with doesn’t accept POST.

2. Request URL

This one’s easy.

Simply insert the URL or webhook here.

ManyChat External Request: request URL

But you’ve to make sure it’s an https URL, which means it’s secure.

3. Headers

This is often used for authentication or to tell the receiving end what kind of content it is.

Here’s an example:

ManyChat External Request: headers

See how we used it for authorization & to tell what kind of content it is?

You have the ‘key’ on the left and then the value next to it.

Most often the tool you’re trying to integrate will tell you how to set this.

4. Body

The body contains what you want to send over.

Later in this guide, I’ll show you how you can write a simple JSON code to send anything you want.

Note that you can also insert variables or all the subscriber’s data at once.

ManyChat External Request: body example

5. Response

You’ll always get some kind of response back.

This can be an error, a success message or a custom response.

Below is an example.

There is nothing you can do here.

It’s just to check if it’s working properly.

6. Response mapping

It’s possible to save parts of the response into User Fields.

You tell ManyChat what you want, and where you want to store it in.

Here’s a quick example of how we store the value of $.current_day into a user field.

ManyChat External Request: Response Mapping

But we’ll dive deeper into this later.

How do you write simple JSON?

It’s easy! Really!

I know you’re not a programmer (like me).

It’s just a list of values in a certain format.

Let’s take a look at this example;

{
"fruit":"banana",
"amount":"3"
}

This will send two values;

  • fruit = banana
  • amount = 3

We have the name of the value, then the value itself.

The JSON works like this;

We use a { to open the JSON, and a } to close the JSON.

{
}

In-between that we have the values.

You always start with the name of the value surrounded by brackets

{
"fruit"
}

Then we want to add the value of fruit.

To do that we put a : behind the “fruit”, so it will be “fruit”:

{
"fruit"
}

Then we add the value, surrounded by brackets again, so it will be “fruit”:”banana”

{
"fruit":"banana"
}

And now we want to add a second value.

To do that we have a place a comma behind the last value and start a new row.

{
"fruit":"banana",

}

And on the new row we insert the name of the second thing we want to pass on & it’s value.

{
"fruit":"banana",
"amount":"3"
}

Please notice that we do not add a comma on the second row.

This is something I see people do wrong over and over again 😛

But this is basically all you need for creating the body of your External Request in ManyChat.

You can make it more complex with arrays, but you’ll probably never use that.

Use External Request to trigger Integromat webhook

Integromat calls themselves the glue of the internet.

It allows you to do all kinds of fun stuff to make your bot smarter & to integrate ManyChat with other tools.

But how do you trigger an Integromat webhook so you can start a scenario?

I’ll show you how.

But let’s tackle something first.

You cán trigger a webhook using the standard Trigger Integromat action.

But this doesn’t allow you to customize anything.

It’s sending all the subscriber’s data over to Integromat, without giving you the possibility to change what you want to send and you can’t store the response you get back from Integromat in a Custom Field.

(more on response mapping later)

That’s why I don’t recommend using this, always use the External Request and not the Trigger Integromat action.

Response mapping

Ok, so when you’re creating an External Request you’ve probably noticed the “Response mapping” tab.

This is where you can find response mapping in the External Request

This thing is extremely cool.

But I’ve to admit, it’s a bit hard to get.

Let me give you an example with Integromat.

When you trigger an Integromat webhook with your External Request, you always get a response back from Integromat.

Standard is this “Accepted”.

Nothing special, right?

But did you know that you can customize this response?

And that you can save that response into a custom field?

Isn’t that freakin’ cool? 😄

Let me give you an example.

In conversations, I really like to use the current day of the week.

So you can say stuff like “Have a great Monday!”

To achieve this, we have a trigger a webhook and store the response (which is the current day of the week) into a User Field.

Inside the flow, we trigger the webhook.

Trigger the webhook with an external request

Then, in Integromat, we create a webhook response.

Create the webhook response in Integromat

import-scenario
import-scenario

In this response, we send the current day of the week back to ManyChat.

Here’s the screenshot of the JSON we sent back, in case the example above went too quick.

Request example: Current day json

So let’s quickly test if it worked.

Test the external request

Yep! You see that the response is Tuesday (the day I wrote this article).

And with Response Mapping, we map this value into a user field.

To do that, we use $.current_day and select the Current Day user field.

Response mapping filled

The $ is like the main thing, then you have the amount of dots for how deep the value is and then you have the name of the value.

And then, when you add the User Field as a variable into your conversation it will show the current day 🙃

use current day variable in flow

In Messenger this will look like this:

Messenger preview of current day

Cool hu?

More examples

I’ve created a video tutorial about some other things you could also use External Requests for.

You can get it here in Messenger if you like.

(it’s free)

You’ll learn how to use the current day of the week inside your flows, how to use the ManyChat API & I’ll also show you some other cool examples that could make your bot smarter.

See you there 🙂

Want a step-by-step tutorial about External Requests?

Click the button below to start the tutorial about External Requests in Messenger.

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. Max van Collenburg says:

    Any questions about External Requests? Let me know here in the comments 🙃

    1. Jason Cane says:

      Awesome Max, thanks for this!

      Another quick followup to the question I emailed you about building out the viral/referral flow:

      I’m getting a “401 Unauthorized {“status”:”error”,”message”:”Wrong format token”}” error when testing the external request.

      I’ve preloaded my own user id # as the custom field for the “Referrer ID #” in my file within Audience, so I figured it’d treat me as the referrer and receiver and let me test it.

      I’m sure I’m missing something obvious here 🤔

      It can probably depend on a few things, but any idea how to resolve a 401 like that?

      1. Max van Collenburg says:

        Hey Jason! 🙃

        This is with the ManyChat API, right? It’s basically saying that the authorization went wrong because the format isn’t right.

        You have to make sure it’s exactly like this, where you replace the zero’s with your API token.

        1. Hey Max,
          Thanks! Just wanted to follow up on this so people can avoid my mistakes (there were a number of them, but here are 2 I found that stopped the whole thing from working):

          1. Definitely check spelling and number input. I had written “application/jasn” instead of “json” out of habit, as it’s part of my Instagram handle 😅.

          2. When trying to save the Referrer’s UserID Payload on the RefURL to the receiving user’s Custom Field, I had created a numerical Custom Field. UserID is a #, so it seems like it would make sense to do this, right? For whatever reason, only textual Custom Fields can be selected to save the Payload, and text Custom Fields still accept numbers as values. I recreated ‘Invited by’ as a text custom field (missed that part, pretty sure you mention it haha) and everything works now.

          Thanks again!
          Jason

  2. Igor Gurko says:

    Thanks a lot, Max! Very useful content!

    1. Max van Collenburg says:

      Happy you like it, Igor!

  3. Max thank you for external requests tutorial.
    And can I ask you?
    Please tell us how to implement data retrieval in Manychat From Google Sheets.
    For example, it is sometimes necessary to change data about different products (type, volume, price, color).
    I want to put these parameters in Google Sheets and then change them through the tables. And so that these changes are transmitted, for example, to the gallery of goods in the Manichat.

    For example, a restaurant menu. Hawaiian Pizza, Paperoni, etc. It can be 30cm, 50cm and 1 meter. Beer is different draft and bottled. In bottles of 0.33l. and 0.5l. etc.

    I cannot find anywhere a good explanation how to take away data from tables. And you are so good at explaining difficult things. And they become simple.
    Thank you for your help.

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