Everything about WhatsApp Business message templates

Jan 27, 2020
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If you use WhatsApp Business, you're not allowed to start a conversation with your customer using a simple message. This is something WhatsApp has implemented to make sure companies do not use their platform to spam customers. However, WhatsApp does offer a solution to this situation. They give organizations the opportunity to be the first one to send a message to clients, by using WhatsApp Business message templates.

  • What are WhatsApp Business Message Templates?
  • Why do Message Templates exist?
  • What do WhatsApp Business Message Templates look like?
  • WhatsApp Business Message Template guidelines
  • How to register a WhatsApp Message Template
  • Costs of sending WhatsApp Message Templates

What are WhatsApp Business Message Templates?

WhatsApp Business Message Templates, also known as highly structured messages (HSM), are templates that you can send to customers outside of the 24-hour window. You can also do this after an official opt-in from the customer These Message Templates have to be approved by WhatsApp.

These message templates contain a variety of fields that can be filled with customer-specific information. Examples of this are order information, bookings for your flight or a reservation at a restaurant.

Why do Message Templates exist?

When a customer initiates a conversation on WhatsApp, the company has 24 hours to reply. Messages that are sent within this time restraint are called session messages.

WhatsApp implemented this 24-hour window because they do not want to enable companies to send spam. The only option to send a message outside of this 24-hour window (or with an official opt-in of your client) is using WhatsApp Message Templates.  

What do WhatsApp Business Message Templates look like?

A Message Template has a maximum of 4096 characters and exists of text, emoji, and structured WhatsApp variables. The structured WhatsApp variables can be implemented via numbered placeholders that look like: {{x}}.

Dear {{1}}, thanks for booking your flight with KLM. Your flight number is {{2}}, the estimated time of departure is {{3}} on {{4}} from gate {{5}}.

{{1}} = Name

{{2}} = Flight number

{{3}} = Time

{{4}} = Date

{{5}} = Gate

The information of the specific fields will be extracted from your database and an automated message can be sent to your clients.

Did you fly with KLM recently? Then you probably already received an automated WhatsApp Business Message Template.

WhatsApp Business Message Template guidelines

WhatsApp has pretty strict guidelines for standardized messages. They don't simply approve all templates. The communication platform uses the following reasons to disapprove a message template:

A promotional message

You can not spread messages for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes. Examples of these are discount codes, free gifts, cold messages, sending a survey to collect data and certain words that make a message look promotional.  

Formatting is incorrect

Make sure that templates do not have have spelling errors and that parameters are implemented the right way. Templates cannot include floating parameters, for example.

Misleading or threatening content

WhatsApp does not allow misleading or threatening templates. Examples are template messages that threaten a customer with judicial steps or blackmail.

Read the guidelines on how to create a WhatsApp Template Message here.

How to register a WhatsApp Message Template

Register a WhatsApp Message Template within the settings of the WhatsApp Business channel in Trengo.

Always make sure to include the following information:

  1. Title
    Use a title so that employees can easily recognize the template if they want to use it.
  2. Identifier
    An identifier is a title that is used for the request of the template at WhatsApp. Make sure to look at the conditions that Whatsapp sets for the templates.
  3. Category
    Select which category the template belongs to (for example Transportation Update or Appointment Update).
  4. Language
    Which language did you use to write the template?
  5. Channel
    Multiple WhatsApp Business channels? Make sure to select the right channel for this specific template.
  6. Message
    The exact message that you are going to send. Be precise in this and use variables for customer-specific data. It is not possible to adjust the template message within the conversation, or after it has been approved.

After approval from WhatsApp, the company will receive a "Namespace". This links the right template to the right channel.

Note: for actively approaching people via WhatsApp, permission is always required. You can arrange this with a so-called opt-in.

Costs of sending WhatsApp Message Templates

WhatsApp Business API users pay a fixed fee per conversation. A conversation can either be initiated by the customer or the business. A conversation started with a template is a business-initiated conversation. The first 1000 conversations every month (both user and business-initiated) are completely free of charge.

Aside from who initiated the conversation, the costs also vary by country. Below, you can find how much you are charged in your country. You can also have a look at the complete pricing overview of all countries.

Source: Facebook

Learn more about WhatsApp Business

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