With the WhatsApp Business API, you can use WhatsApp message templates to proactively reach out to your customers on WhatsApp. These are different from the regular response messages that you send to your customers' questions.

Learn more about using your WhatsApp message templates here.

What are the two types of WhatsApp Messages?

Response Messages

When a customer reaches out to you with a question, you can respond to them within 24 hours (defined as the Customer Care Window). These are response messages which need not follow WhatsApp’s content and formatting rules (explained below).

Response messages can be text messages, gifs, videos, images, or voice messages. After 24 hours, the Customer Care Window closes, and you can't respond to those messages. 

So, what happens if a customer asks a question during holidays or outside business hours? Or what if you want to start a conversation proactively with your customers? You can use WhatsApp Business APIs to send messages after 24 hours with a paid WhatsApp message template. in such cases

What are message templates?

Templates are reusable, preset formats of messages. You can define message templates as per your business use-cases which are then approved by WhatsApp for use. You can use a template multiple times to send proactive notifications and messages to your customers.

Note:A “message template” is a reusable format approved by WhatsApp for use based on WhatsApp's message template guidelines.
A “templated message” refers to the messages that you send to your customers using the template.

On WhatsApp, the terms “Proactive messages” and “Templated messages” mean the same.

Using message templates is particularly useful in the examples mentioned above when you need to respond to customers outside the Customer Care Window or to reach out proactively. With WhatsApp’s message templates, you can

  • Deliver important, timely, personalized messages during the customer’s journey to purchase.

  • Continue customer service conversations without worrying about the 24-hour Customer Care Window.

How much does it cost to use WhatsApp message templates?

WhatsApp charges a per-message fee for Template Messages sent outside the Customer Care Window, depending on the destination country and the number of messages you send. We include this fee in your invoices and pass it to WhatsApp. Freshworks does not charge any extra fee to use this feature.

What are the guidelines to create WhatsApp message templates?

The WhatsApp message templates that you create for your use must adhere to certain guidelines, set by WhatsApp. Only approved WhatsApp message templates can be used to send templated messages.

Content Rules

WhatsApp allows you to only send updates, alerts, and transactional notifications. WhatsApp does not approve any promotional or sales message templates.

Formatting Rules

These are the formatting rules and guidelines by WhatsApp.

Template Name

Message template names are for your reference while sending out templated messages to customers. It can only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores ( _ ). No other characters or white space are allowed.

Example: shipping_update or order_followup1

For templates to be approved quickly, WhatsApp advises businesses to use descriptive names for their templates such as "bus_ticket_details", Instead of using a name like "template_014,".

Template Category

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

Template Content

The content of your template should be properly formatted.

  • Limit your template to 1024 characters

  • If you need to use variables, they must be formatted as {{#}}, where the # indicates the number. Each template message has its own set of numbered placeholder variables, and they start with {{1}}. For example, the first placeholder in any message template will be {{1}}.

    Here is an example of a WhatsApp message template with three variables:
    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 only.

    Note:The formatting of the variable is important. The numbering must start from 1, be in ascending order, and should have two curly braces on both sides.
  • Your template must be text-based and can only contain letters, digits, special characters, emojis, and WhatsApp-specific formatting:

Italic Text
Add an underscore on both sides of the text
Welcome to _Acme_
Bold Text
Add an Asterix on both sides of the text
Your order number is *OD123*
Add a tilde on both sides of your text
This is ~better~ best!
Monospace text/code
Add three backticks on both sides of your text
```print'Hi there';```