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

In WhatsApp, you can use common reusable message formats called Message Templates to send proactive messages/notifications to your customers. 

Proactive messages are notifications sent by businesses to customers. For example, a ticket booking confirmation message. With WhatsApp’s proactive messaging you can,

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

  • Continue the conversation with customers who respond to your notifications


Freshchat supports sending attachments and images through template messages.

Few pointers from WhatsApp Message Template Guidelines

Content Rules

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

Facebook allows you to send only updates, alerts and transactional notifications. No promotional or sales message templates will be accepted.

Formatting Rules

These are the formatting rules and guidelines by WhatsApp,

Template Name

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

Example: shipping_update | 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. Your template,

  • Should be limited to 1024 characters.

  • Must indicate variables with {{#}} – a numbered placeholder where a specific number represents the variable index (your variables must begin counting at {{1}})


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.

  • Must be text-based containing only letters, digits and special characters, emojis and WhatsApp-specific formatting (see formatting table below)

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';```

Creating Message Templates and getting it Approved

The message templates you use in WhatsApp need to follow certain guidelines put down by Facebook (Parent company of WhatsApp).

Follow these steps to get your message template approved,

Step 1: Share your Message Template with us

You need to share your formatted message template with us, which should follow Facebook's guidelines

Note: You can only send Facebook approved messages templates to your customers. 

You need to share the message template content as a document/spreadsheet and it should have the template name, template content, template language and the template category with us. This should be in a tabular format as shown in the example below.

Example template 

Template Name

English Content

<Other Language> Content (If any)

Template Category


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


Alert Update


Hi {{1}}, we apologize for the inconvenience caused. We have initiated a refund of {{2}} for order {{3}}.


Payment Update


Hi {{1}}! We have an update on your issue with regards to {{2}}. If you would like to continue having this conversation, please reply with "YES".


Issue Resolution

{{1}}, {{2}} and {{3}} are the variables in this example.

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

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 be able to test the API only after the message template is approved.

Once your message template is approved by Facebook, we will share the template id and the namespace (This is a unique identifier for your WhatsApp account) with you and you can start using the API.

To access the API, you should generate an API token from your Freshchat account.


Any replies to these proactive messages from the user comes into Freshchat 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.