Table of Contents
- WhatsApp Business Account (WABA)
- Sender Quality
- Sender Status
- Messaging Rate LImit
- Opt-In List for Business Initiated Conversation
- Usage Billing Process
WhatsApp Business Account (WABA)
WABA stands for WhatsApp Business Account. The set of APIs allows businesses to integrate WhatsApp into A WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) lets your business use the WhatsApp Business Platform to communicate directly with your customers.
To know more about WABA. click here.
A Display Name is a readable name for the business registered against a Phone Number. If your WhatsApp account is a business account, the display name is only shown in the contacts view in smaller text; all other views will show the phone number (unless the account is Business verified, in which case the business display name will be visible, see Business Verification). You can help customers learn more about your company by filling out your business info, including business website, address, and hours.
A Phone Number is registered with a Display Name with the WABA. This phone number isknown as Brand MSIDN in EnableX. It is written as COUNTRY_CODE+PHONE_NUMBER, e.g. 6599999999; here 65 stands for Singapore’s Country Code. Note that “+” or “00” not used as prefix to MSIDN.
A Phone number used to send out messages using API. EnableX allows to add multiple Phone Number in a single Project. Each Phone number must be configured with a Webhook to receive incoming messages, delivery notification and many other system notifications.
WhatsApp is a popular platform for businesses to communicate with their customers, but as of January 2023, the platform has imposed new limitations on phone numbers and WABAs (WhatsApp Business Accounts). Here’s what you need to know:
Phone Number Limits
- Businesses without a verified Meta Business Manager account are allowed a maximum of 2 phone numbers across all WABAs.
- Businesses with a verified Meta Business Manager account can have up to 20 phone numbers.
- An exception for up to 50 phone numbers can be requested by opening a support ticket.
- Higher limits may be made available with a second appeal and a valid use case justification, at WhatsApp’s discretion.
- Businesses with a verified Meta Business Manager account can have a maximum of 20 WABAs across their account.
- Businesses with an Official Business Account (OBA) are allowed up to 1000 WABAs.
- Most businesses that onboarded prior to January 2023 and those with higher limits previously are exempt from these limitations.
- If you are a business with multiple phone numbers or WABAs, it may be necessary to consolidate and streamline your accounts to meet these new restrictions
Please read this for more details about WhatsApp phone number and WABA Limits
A Message is the basic unit of communication over WhatsApp. The term “Messaging” can be explained as message in transaction or in-transit. Messaging is bi-directional, viz. Incoming and Outgoing with respect to the registered Phone number of the business.
- Incoming Messages: These are the messages sent by end-customers or sent by WhatsApp Messenger user and received by the Business Phone Number. So, this is a incoming message for the Business.
- Outgoing Messages: These are the messages sent using the Business Phone number to a end-customer phone or to a WhatsApp Messenger user.
Type of Message Contents
Unlike text-messaging through SMS, WhatsApp Message can contain different type contents to engaging communication experiences. of rich media contents, e.g. Audio, Video, Image, Sticker, Document; and structured components like Location, Contacts.
- Text Messages: Text messages are the most basic message type and allow businesses to send text messages to their customers. The length of a text message is limited to 4096 characters.
- Media Messages: Media messages allow businesses to send media files such as images, audio files, and videos to their customers. The maximum file size for a media message is 5 MB.
- Location Messages: Location messages allow businesses to send their customers a location on a map. This can be useful for sharing directions or for location-based marketing.
- Contact Messages: Contact messages allow businesses to send contact details to their customers, such as a phone number or email address. This can be useful for providing customers with a way to get in touch with the business.
- Interactive Messages: Interactive messages allow businesses to send messages with interactive buttons. These buttons can be used to initiate a specific action, such as sending a message or making a phone call.
Exchange of ,messages between the Business & an End User within over WhatsApp Business Platform in a 24 hours period calculated from the time when first message is sent from the Business Side is called a “Conversation”. The messages in a conversation from either side may contain any kind of contents.
There are 2 types of Conversation, viz.
- Business Initiated Conversation (BIC)
- User Initiated Conversation (UIC)
Business Initiated Conversation (BIC)
- When a business initiates a conversation by sending a message to a user first, In other words, a conversation qualifies to be a Business Initiated Message if the message is sent out to a user without receiving any message from that user in last 24 hours.
- The first message for a Business Initiated Conversation must use a pre-approved template (Explained later in this document).
- All subsequent messaging between the business and the user within next 24 hours of the first message is considered a part of a the same Conversation.
- If a Business Initiated Conversation is started, business can’t send subsequent messages (follow-up messages) within 24 ours window until user responds by sending a message to the business. Thereafter, business can send any number of messages to the user and all messages are treated to be part of the same conversation.
User Initiated Conversation (BIC)
- When a user initiates a conversation by sending a message to the business first; will be termed as User Initiated Message only when Business responds to it within 24hours of receiving the message.
- Once the conversation starts, all follow-up messaging between the business and the user within the next 24 hours is considered a part of the same Conversation.
WABA mandates that a Business Initiated Conversation must be started using a message sent using a pre-approved Message Template. This is to ensure that messages comply with WhatsApp’s guidelines and are approved for use to reach out end-users.
Business can choose whether to respond to user-originated messages or send follow-up messages with any text or pre-approved templates within 24 hours. This gives businesses some flexibility in how they communicate with users while still adhering to WhatsApp’s guidelines.
A Message Template may be created using any type of Contents., i..e; Text, Rich Media, et.c. A Message Template may have placeholder for data which will be replaced with data while sending message using the template.
A Message Template consists of several components including a header, body, footer, and buttons. These components help structure the content of the message and provide a better user experience.
- Header: The header is an optional component that can be used to provide additional information to the user. It can contain an image, document, video, location, or text with a maximum of 60 characters.
- Body: The body is a mandatory component of the message and contains the main message content. It can be registered either as plain text or text with placeholders and can contain a maximum of 1,024 characters.
- Footer: The footer is an optional component that can be used to provide additional information to the user. It can contain only text, cannot contain placeholders, and has a maximum limit of 60 characters.
- Buttons: Buttons are optional components that can be used to make messages interactive. They can contain quick replies or call-to-action buttons, and can include a maximum of three quick reply buttons or two call-to-action buttons with each button of a different action.
A Template can be created in one of the 3 categories given by WhatsApp.
The following 3 Categories names are in effect until May 31, 2023 and they are referred in Block Capital Letters:
The following 3 Categories names will be used with effect from June 1, 2023. They are referred in Block Capital Letters:
Once submitted a template may be approved or rejected. Approval and Rejection are automated process and takes few seconds to minutes to get it approved or be rejected.
Only approved templates can be used to send message. A rejected template may be appealed for review.
Template Suspension on Spam Complaints
When messages are sent using a Template, the Template may be paused for 3 hours for the first time on SPAM complaints. On subsequent Spam complaints, Template may be paused for 6 hours. During suspension period, no messages can be sent using the Template.
Subsequently for repeated Spam complaints, a Template may be disabled for any further use.
Note that suspension and disabling of Template affects your Quality Score as a Sender.
Sender Quality is a rating system that evaluates the quality of messages being sent by a sender on WhatsApp. It ranges from Low to High and is determined based on various factors such as message content, user feedback, and message delivery rates.
A sender with a higher Sender Quality rating is more likely to have a higher messaging limit.
Sender Status is a measure of the sender’s compliance with WhatsApp’s policies and regulations. There are three possible Sender Statuses, viz. Connected, Restricted, and Suspended.
- Connected: This status means that the sender is in good standing and has not violated any policies or regulations.
- Restricted: This status means that the sender has reached their messaging limit and can only start new conversations when active conversations end.
- Suspended: This status means that the sender has violated WhatsApp’s policies and regulations, and their account has been suspended, preventing any further messaging on WhatsApp.
Messaging Rate Limit
- WhatsApp specifies messaging limits for Business-Initiated) Conversations.
- Messaging Limit neither applicable on User Initiated Conversations not on individual messages.
- Messaging limits determine the maximum number of conversations that each sender can start in a rolling 24-hour period.
Tiered Rate Limit
Messaging limits are classified into tiers. Each Tier defines a Rate Limit for a 24-hour Rolling Cycle. A Sender either moves up or moves down the tier. Higher tiers allow higher rate limit.
- Tier 0: A maximum of 50 business-initiated conversations (with 50 unique customers). This tier is applicable only to businesses that have not been verified by Meta.
- Tier 1: A maximum of 1,000 business-initiated conversations (with 1,000 unique customers). This tier is applicable to businesses that have been verified by Meta.
- Tier 2: A maximum of 10,000 business-initiated conversations (with 10,000 unique customers).
- Tier 3: A maximum of 100,000 business-initiated conversations (with 100,000 unique customers).
- Tier 4: Unlimited business-initiated conversations.
Reach Rate Limit
- When the sender reaches the messaging limit, the sender status changes to Restricted.
- The sender can start additional conversations only when one or more active conversations end.
- Example: If the messaging limit is 1,000 and there are 1,000 active conversations already, the sender can start a new conversation only when an active conversation ends.
Change in Rate Limit
- This section is applicable only for senders that are registered under a business verified by Meta.
- Initially, the messaging limit for the sender is Tier 1.
- The messaging limit can increase or decrease depending on the volume and quality of the messages sent.
- To increase the messaging limit, the sender must meet each of the following criteria:
- The sender status is Connected.
- The sender quality rating is Medium or High.
- Within a 7-day period, the total number of unique users messaged is half the current messaging limit.
- If the criteria are met, the messaging limit can increase to the next tier after 24 hours.
- The messaging limit increases to the next tier (10,000, 100,000, and then Unlimited) 24 hours after the number of unique users messaged is half the current messaging limit.
Note: If a large number of messages are reported or blocked by users, the messaging limit can decrease.
Businesses should comply with WhatsApp’s policies for business-initiated conversations by maintaining an opt-in list of numbers that have explicitly consented to receive messages from them. This list can be kept clean through SMS or IVR systems. Once a business has a clean opt-in list, they can initiate conversations with those users on WhatsApp, but the conversations should be relevant and valuable to the user and adhere to WhatsApp’s messaging policies and limits.
Opt-in List for Business Initiated Conversation
As part of WhatsApp’s messaging protocol, your application must incorporate explicit user opt-ins for messages to be delivered. You may gather this opt-in information via a web page or a mobile app, such as during the sign-up flow of your application, in your application’s account settings, via SMS, etc. In addition, WhatsApp requires businesses to respect opt-out requests from end users to ensure high number quality.
Get User Consent
- Opt-in consent is the permission given by customers to businesses to receive messages from them on WhatsApp.
- Customers must provide opt-in consent before businesses can send them messages.
There are several ways businesses can obtain opt-in consent from customers:
- Click-to-Chat Link: Customers can initiate a conversation with a business by clicking on a link or button.
- QR Code: Customers can scan a QR code to initiate a conversation with a business.
- Phone Number: Customers can send a message to a business’s WhatsApp number to initiate a conversation.
- Third-Party Channel: Businesses can obtain opt-in consent from customers through a third-party channel, such as a website or mobile app.
To obtain opt-in consent, businesses must:
- Clearly state what type of messages customers will receive.
- Clearly state how often customers will receive messages.
- Clearly state that customers can opt-out at any time.
- Obtain explicit consent from customers before sending them messages.
- Provide customers with an easy and clear opt-out mechanism.
Know Messaging Process
There are two types of messaging that businesses can send to customers after they have given opt-in consent:
- Template Messages: Business can initiate a message to a user using a pre-approved message. However, business can’t send any subsequent message to the same user without getting a response within 24 hours. Without being replied, a business must wait for 24 hours to send the next message using a Template.
- Session Messages: Once being replied by the user, a user can send any number of message, with or without a Template within 24 hours of first message sent.
Follow Best Practices
To ensure that your opt-in process is effective, consider the following best practices:
- Keep your opt-in process simple and easy to understand.
- Provide clear and concise information about the messages customers will receive.
- Provide clear instructions for how customers can opt-out.
- Monitor opt-out rates and adjust your messaging strategy as needed.
Usage Billing Process
WhatsApp Business Platform usage will be billed at 2 level:
WhatsApp follows Conversation based Billing Model where every conversation is billed. There are 2 types of conversation, viz. Business Initiated Conversation (BIC) and User Initiated Conversation (UIC); and both are priced differently.
Further, price of both type of conversation varies on the User’s WhatsApp Phone Number Country Code. So when a business pays a different rate to communicate with a person with a Phone Number of Singapore than a Phone Number of India.
Example: See a sample table below to understand Price point of BIC & UIC against a User’s Country
|User Country||BIC Price||UIC Price|
Upcoming BIC Price Model
With effect from June 1, 2023; WhatsApp introduces BIC Pricing based on Category Name of the Template used to initiate Conversation. So, single BIC Price as in affect until now, will have 3 different BSP Price based on Template Category.
Example: See a sample table below to understand Price point of BIC using Template Category against a User’s Country
|User Country||BIC Price (Marketing)||BIC Price (Utility)||BIC Price (Authentication)||UIC Price|
Apart from Conversation based Billing Model, EnablX charges a fee for each incoming and outgoing message within a conversation. This message fee remains same for all messages irrespective of message direction or country code of the user.