WhatsApp Message Types



Once you have registered for a WhatsApp for Business account, you can send two types of messages to your users:


  1. Response Messages
  2. Message Templates (Proactive Messages)


What are Response Messages


Response messages are the replies you send to your customers in response to their inquiry.


WhatsApp’s content and formatting rules don’t apply to the responses you send to your customers as these are private conversations between you and your user. You can send text messages, gifs, vidoes, images and voice messages too.


WhatsApp gives you 24 hours to send a response to your customers post which, if you want to send a message, you need to use a paid message template.


What are Message Templates/Proactive Messages


Message Templates are message formats for common reusable messages you may want to send to your customers. 


Message templates are business initiated, notification messages that can be sent any time. These are called proactive messages. They enable you to:


  • Deliver important, timely messages during your customer’s path to purchase
  • Continue the conversation with customers who respond to your notifications


In WhatsApp, you must use Message Templates to send proactive messages/ notifications to customers. 


Message Templates include additional cost.


Cost associated with Proactive Messaging (WhatsApp Message Template Pricing)


To know more about the additional cost associated with WhatsApp Message Templates, click here.


NoteFreshworks does not charge you any additional amount for sending proactive messages. This fee is levied by WhatsApp/Facebook. 


If a customer responds to a proactive message, the conversation will be counted as an AUC. 


Some prerequisites for using Message Templates


  1. Template Approval - before you take the messages live, the templates need to be submitted to and pre-approved by WhatsApp team.
  2. User Opt-In - You can only send template messages to users who previously agreed to be contacted. But there is no limit on the number of template messages you can send at a time.


Message Template Guidelines


Content Rules


To be able to send users proactive messages, you need to format message templates in accordance with Facebook guidelines. 


WhatsApp cares more about the value you will be providing to your customers rather than the value they are providing to your business. So, promotional and sales-oriented message template submissions will be rejected – no exceptions!


Your template should fall under one of these categories: 

  1. account update, 
  2. payment update, 
  3. personal finance update,
  4. shipping update, 
  5. reservation update, 
  6. issue resolution, 
  7. appointment update, 
  8. transportation update
  9. ticket update.
  10. alert update, 
  11. auto reply


Formatting Rules


When creating a message template, you must have the following:


Template Name


Message template name — Can only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores ( _ ). No other characters or white space are allowed.


Example: shipping_update | order_followup1


To speed up the approval process, WhatsApp advises businesses to use descriptive names for their templates rather than random ones like “message_124a” it will make it easier for the person that will be approving your message as well as for you who will manage in a sea of other templates.


Template Content


The content of your template also needs be meticulously formatted. Your template:


  • Should be limited to 1024 characters.
  • You can have a maximum of 250 templates for your account.
  • Must be text-based containing only letters, digits and special characters, emojis and WhatsApp-specific formatting (see formatting table below)
  • Can’t include newlines, tabs, or more than four consecutive spaces
  • Must indicate variables with {{#}} – a numbered placeholder where a specific number represents the variable index (your variables must begin counting at {{1}})




Reasons for Rejection


If your template(s) have been rejected, it may have been for one of the following reasons.


i) The message template(s) are considered promotional


Advertising, marketing, or promotional messages are not permitted. Some examples of this include the following:


  • Offering coupon codes and/or free gifts
  • Upselling

For example: “Here is your boarding pass, with seat assignment and gate information. If you would like to save 10% on your in-flight dinner, order your meal through our app.”

  • Cold call messages

For example: “Is now a good time to talk?”, “Thank you for your interest, can we speak now?”, “I tried contacting you but you weren't available. When are you free?”, etc.

  • Sending a survey or poll to collect data

For example: “Hi, we're interested in knowing how you feel about certain food groups. Do you mind participating in a survey?”

  • Inclusion of certain words or phrases that make the message template promotional (even though the content of your template may be fine)

Tip: Think about how your template sounds when read out loud.



WhatsApp does not approve message templates with floating parameters (i.e., lines with just parameters and no text). In the below example, {{3}} and {{4}} are the floating parameters.


--

TICKET NO: {{1}}

PASSENGER NAME: *{{2}}*

--

{{3}} - {{4}}


Pro-tip: Surround the parameters with textual information so it's clear what will be inserted.


ii) Formatting is incorrect


Some examples of this include the following:


  • Message templates with spelling mistakes will be rejected.
  • Make sure to use parameters like {{1}}, {{2}}, etc. and include the correct number of curly brackets (i.e., 2 on the left side of the number and 2 on the right side of the number).



iii) Templates contain potentially abusive or threatening content


Some examples of this include the following:


  • Message templates that threaten customers with a legal course of action will be rejected.

  • Message templates that threaten to add customers to a WhatsApp group with their friends and family to shame them if they don't pay back their loans will be rejected.


Additional tips to prevent rejection

In addition to the above, please consider the following to accelerate the approval process.


  • Make your message template name clear. Instead of using a name like "template_014," use "bus_ticket_details".

  • Remember that someone outside of your business will be reviewing your templates. Providing more clarity gives reviewers context around how the template will be used.

  • If you need to write a message template to re-open the 24-hour window, we would suggest starting with some mention of the previous conversation thread.

For example: “I'm sorry that I wasn't able to respond to your concerns yesterday but I’m happy to assist you now. If you’d like to continue this discussion, please reply with ‘yes’.” or “I was able to do some follow-up based on our previous conversation, and I’ve found the answer to your question about our refund policy. If you’d like to continue our conversation, please say ‘yes’.”


 

Rules for customer opt-in to send template messages

  • Customers must explicitly opt-in to receive notifications.

  • Obtaining user consent must be completed outside of WhatsApp. This can be any channel your business uses to communicate with people today, 

    • your website/app, 

    • while setting up user profile, 

    • email, 

    • SMS, 

    • IVR, 

    • retail location, etc.

  • Ads that click to WhatsApp cannot be used to obtain opt-in.


The opt-in confirmation should include the following,


  • User Action

The opt-in must be an active opt-in. This means it must be triggered by a user action, such as entering a phone number or checking a box to indicate consent.

  • Explicit language

    Clear opt-in messaging so that a user knows what type(s) of messaging the person is signing up for. The permission request should include explicit language. For example, "I agree to receive <noun> from <logo and name> on my WhatsApp number <number>.

  • Visual Indication

A visual element should be shown next to the WhatsApp name and logo. For example, a checkbox the user can select.


For reference, click here.


How is WhatsApp monitoring that a business followed the opt-in policies?


To ensure compliance, WhatsApp will routinely check a business' opt-in flows. It will also monitor the quality signals you'll see in your WhatsApp Account. When it is red, WhatsApp will verify that the appropriate opt-in flow is in place.


Creating Message Templates and getting it Approved


Step 1: Share you Message Template with us


You need to share your message templates with us. A message template is essentially a formatted message that is in accordance with Facebook's guidelines. You can only send Facebook approved templated messages to your customers. Read the content rules, formatting rules and reasons for rejection in the sections above.


You need to share the content of each template message, the template's name, and the language with us, in a tabular format, as a document.


Example template:


Template Nameorder_confirmation 


Template content: Hi {{1}}, your order no. {{2}} has been placed. To track your order, please visit {{3}}. 

{{1}}, {{2}}, and {{3}} are variables which will be different for each customer. You can have any number of variables in a message. Please label the variables in ascending order.


If you would like to display the same variable twice, please use the same label for both instances.  


Important
Please follow this format for all your templates. Dynamic variables are mandatory for templates.



NoteWe don’t have an option to send attachments or images through template messages at the moment. But it will be supported soon.



Step 2: We will submit the Template for approval to WhatsApp/Facebook 


We will submit these templates with WhatsApp for approval. While we wait for this, you can begin setting up the API from your end. Click here for the API documentation. 


You will able to test the API only after we receive approval for the template message.


Once approval is received, we will share the template ids and the namespace (this is a unique identifier for your WhatsApp account) with you. Using this information, you will be able to begin using the API.


To access the API, you will need to generate an API token from your Freshchat account. Refer this support article to generate a token for yourself.


NoteAny replies to these messages from the user’s side comes into Freshchat but without the proactive message. And your team members wouldn’t be able to identify if the user has replied to a proactive message or has reached out on their own.