WhatsApp Business Templates Explained - The Definitive Guide [Updated 2024]

It is no secret that instant messaging has become the backbone of business communication, understanding and properly utilizing WhatsApp Business templates is a necessity for forward thinking and efficient savvy businesses. In this blog post, we’re going to cover the ins and outs of WhatsApp Business templates and why it's crucial to grasp how these templates can revolutionize the way you connect with your customers.

Moreover, we'll answer the most pressing and common questions on the internet related to WhatsApp Business templates, ensuring you're equipped with the knowledge to effectively use this powerful tool and all of its features.

Here's a sneak peek at what we'll cover:

What is a WhatsApp Business template?

WhatsApp Business templates, often referred to as message templates, are pre-approved messages that businesses can send to customers on WhatsApp. These templates are more than just standard text messages; they are a gateway to efficient, professional, and personalized communication which is quick and accurate. These templates allow businesses to quickly respond to customer inquiries, send updates, and engage with their audience without compromising on the personal touch that WhatsApp is known for. 

Each WhatsApp Buisness template consists of a few key components: Header, Body, Fotter, and Buttons which we will explore more in-depth throughout our comprehensive guide. The benefits of using WhatsApp Business templates are multifold, from being more efficient and personalized, to improve response time and offer easy access to information - Your business can ace customer interaction and provide stellar support while increasing bottom line revenue with the help of live agents or chatbots for WhatsApp.

How to create a WhatsApp Business template?

To begin using these templates, you first need a WhatsApp Business account. Once set up, you can create templates directly in the WhatsApp Business API or through your business service provider. Keep in mind that each template must be approved by WhatsApp to ensure it meets their guidelines.

Creating a WhatsApp Business template involves several steps, ensuring that your message is both effective and compliant with WhatsApp's policies. Here's a general guide on how to create a WhatsApp Business template:

  1. Accessing the ‘Template Manager’: Start by going to the ‘Settings’ in your Glassix account by clicking the gear icon on the bottom left of your Glassix account. Navigate to ‘Channels’, then ‘WhatsApp’, and finally, ‘Templates’.
  1. Submitting a ‘New Template’: To create a new template, click the plus symbol and start defining your template:
  • ‘Template Name’: Choose a unique name for your template. Keep in mind that the name must be in English, should not contain capital letters, and spaces must be replaced with underscores.

  • ‘Category and Languages’: Select the appropriate category for your template and the languages in which it will be available.

  • ‘Body of the Template’: Here you can craft the message of your template. You have the option to add variables for personalization, which can be inserted by typing {{#}} or by using the add variable button. Additionally, you can format the text with options like Bold, Italic, etc.

  1. Adding ‘Sample Content’: For each language, provide sample content for the variables. This step is crucial as it ensures that your template is informative and sensible.
  1. Header, Footer, and Buttons: You can enhance your template with a header (which could be a title or media), a footer, and interactive buttons. There are two types of buttons: Quick Reply Buttons for easy responses and Call To Action Buttons, which can either initiate a phone call or redirect to a website.
  1. Editing and managing templates: Note that once a template is approved or pending, you cannot change its name. If you need to make modifications, you'll have to submit a new template with a different name. Rejected templates can't be edited.
  1. Adhering to formatting and content guidelines: WhatsApp has specific guidelines regarding content and formatting. Ensure your templates do not contain prohibited content, like marketing materials, or violate WhatsApp’s Commerce or Business Policy. Pay attention to grammar, use gender-neutral language, and adhere to WhatsApp’s format guidelines, such as the use of dynamic variables and character limits.
  1. Best practices for templates: Keep your templates concise and clear. If the template isn't in English, use a translator to ensure accurate English translation. Provide a clear context for reopening a conversation or transitioning the communication channel.

After we created our WhatsApp template, let's see how to send it via Glassix. The process is simple: Open the respected WhatsApp conversation and click the 'Canned Replies' icon -> Click 'WhatsApp Templates' -> Select the most relevant template from your pre-made template list and hit 'Send'. And that's how you can easily 3-click send a WhatsApp template via Glassix.

Important: When sending a WhatsApp message using the Glassix REST API, Glassix will try to match the text of the message to an existing WhatsApp template.

By following these steps and guidelines, you can create and send effective and compliant WhatsApp Business templates that enhance your customer communication. Remember to regularly review WhatsApp's policies and guidelines to ensure continued compliance.

For more detailed instructions and specific guidelines, you can visit the Glassix documentation on WhatsApp Templates Management and WhatsApp Templates.

How long does WhatsApp take to approve templates?

The approval process for WhatsApp Business templates, governed by Meta's algorithm, is a crucial aspect for businesses seeking to utilize this powerful communication tool. Understanding the timeline and nuances of this process is essential for a seamless experience.

Understanding the approval timeline

The approval time for WhatsApp templates can vary, typically ranging from a few seconds to up to 24 hours. This timeframe largely depends on the complexity of the template and its adherence to Meta's stringent guidelines.

  • Automated vs. manual review: Primarily, Meta employs an AI-driven algorithm for the initial review of templates. This technology enables rapid processing, often resulting in approvals within minutes for straightforward guideline-compliant templates. However, if a template raises red flags or deviates from the guidelines, it is escalated to a manual review process. This involves scrutiny by Meta's professional team, which understandably takes longer, often stretching up to the 24-hour mark.

Factors influencing approval speed

  • Adherence to guidelines: The key to a swift approval process lies in meticulously following Meta's guidelines. These guidelines are designed to ensure that the content is appropriate, clear, and valuable to the end user. Sticking to these rules significantly reduces the likelihood of your template being flagged for manual review.

  • Complexity of the template: Simpler templates, with straightforward messaging and clear intent, navigate the approval process more rapidly. In contrast, templates with complex language, multiple variables, or intricate formatting might require closer examination.

  • Content sensitivity: Certain topics or types of content may trigger a more thorough review process. This includes templates that involve sensitive information, promotional content, or anything that could be construed as controversial.

Best practices for faster approval

  • Clarity and conciseness: Ensure your templates are clear, concise, and to the point. Avoid overly complex language or convoluted structures.

  • Review guidelines regularly: Meta's guidelines can evolve. Regularly reviewing these guidelines will help you stay up-to-date and minimize the risk of your template being flagged for manual review.

  • Preparation of samples: Providing clear and representative samples with your template submission can aid the AI algorithm in understanding the context and intended use, facilitating a smoother approval process.

  • Responsive edits: If a template is rejected, promptly addressing the issues and resubmitting can expedite the process. Understanding why a template was rejected is key to making effective revisions.

In essence, the approval time for WhatsApp templates can be quite variable, but by understanding and adhering to Meta's guidelines, preparing clear and concise templates, and staying informed about best practices, businesses can significantly enhance the efficiency of the process. Remember, these guidelines aim to ensure a high-quality, spam-free experience for users, which ultimately benefits businesses by fostering a trustworthy and effective communication channel.

WhatsApp Business template guidelines - Things you should know

Creating an effective WhatsApp Business template involves understanding and meticulously adhering to specific guidelines. These templates are structured into four key elements, each with its own set of rules to enhance clarity and engagement. Here's a consolidated guide to crafting a compelling WhatsApp Business template:

  • Header (Optional): This is the first impression of your template. You can choose to include text, media (like images, videos, documents, or location), or opt not to have a header at all. The choice depends on the nature and purpose of your message.

  • Body (Mandatory): The body is the core of your template, where your main message resides. It has a limit of 1024 characters. Within this space, you're encouraged to use Meta's formatting options (such as bold and italic text) to make your message more engaging. You can also include dynamic parameters, which are placeholders that can be replaced with specific data when sending a message.

  • Footer (Optional): This is a short line of text at the bottom of your message. It's limited to 60 characters and is perfect for a call-to-action or a brief sign-off.

  • Buttons (Optional): Add interactivity to your template with buttons. You have two types: Quick Reply, which offers pre-made text responses, and Call to Action, which can either prompt a phone call or direct users to a website. Remember, you can choose only one option for a single template from each type.

Beyond the structure, there are important guidelines for template content and naming:

  • Content rules: The template must adhere to a 1024-character limit. It's crucial to remember that you cannot create more than 100 templates per hour, ensuring quality over quantity.

  • Naming conventions: Template names should be in English, using lowercase letters and numbers. Spaces are not allowed, and underscores can be used instead. Special characters are prohibited, and the name is capped at 512 characters.

  • Language flexibility: There's no need to create a new template for every language. Adding multiple languages to a single template makes it versatile and efficient.

  • Finality of submission: A template name cannot be renamed or changed once submitted. This emphasizes the importance of getting it right the first time.

  • Deletion caution: If a template is deleted, be aware that you cannot reuse its name for the next 30 days. This policy is likely in place to maintain the integrity and organization of your template library.

Understanding and following these guidelines is key to creating effective and compliant WhatsApp Business templates. By doing so, you can ensure that your templates are functional, engaging, and aligned with your brand's communication strategy.

WhatsApp Business conversations explained 

Let’s start by answering two of the most common and pressing questions on the internet:

What is considered a conversation? And what are the different conversation types?

Understanding the different types of WhatsApp Business conversations is crucial for effectively engaging with your audience. WhatsApp categorizes conversations based on who initiates them and their purpose. Here's a breakdown of the four primary conversation types:

Service conversation (Inbound): Initiated by the client, this conversation type has a 24-hour window, during which the business can interact with the client. The timeframe remains fixed regardless of the number of interactions within it. This type is often used for customer support or inquiry responses.

Utility conversation (Outbound): Also initiated by the business, this conversation type employs pre-approved templates for sending follow-up messages. Common uses include order confirmations, delivery updates, account notifications, and even customer surveys. These templates streamline communication, ensuring consistency and efficiency in updating customers about their transactions or account status.

Marketing conversation (Outbound): This category allows businesses to initiate conversations for promotional purposes. Using Meta-approved templates, businesses can share information about deals, new products, feature announcements, or reminders about abandoned shopping carts. This type of conversation is key for driving sales and engagement, but it's important to use it judiciously to avoid overwhelming or spamming customers.

Authentication conversation (Outbound): Initiated by the business using a pre-defined, Meta-approved template. This built-in WhatsApp template is primarily used for user authentication, such as sending One-Time Passwords (OTPs) for account verification or recovery. It's a critical tool for ensuring user security and verifying identities.

Additional considerations

Template approval: For outbound conversations (Authentication, Utility, and Marketing), it's essential to have your message templates approved by Meta. This ensures compliance with WhatsApp's policies and helps maintain a trusted environment for users.

Pricing model: WhatsApp's pricing for business conversations varies depending on the type and direction (inbound or outbound) of the conversation. Typically, businesses are charged per conversation, with costs varying by country and type. Inbound conversations are usually cheaper compared to outbound ones. This pricing model encourages businesses to be strategic and thoughtful in their use of outbound messaging.

Quality and compliance: Maintaining high-quality, relevant, and compliant conversations is critical. WhatsApp monitors conversation quality and can impose restrictions or bans on businesses that violate its policies or deliver a poor user experience.

Understanding and effectively utilizing these different conversation types allows businesses to enhance customer engagement, streamline communication processes, and leverage WhatsApp as a powerful marketing tool. Remember to stay updated with WhatsApp's evolving policies and pricing structures to optimize your communication strategy.

What is considered by Meta as a new conversation via the WhatsApp Business API?

Understanding what constitutes a new conversation in the WhatsApp Business API is crucial for any business leveraging this platform. Meta defines a conversation as an interaction between a business and a customer that fits within one of the designated conversation categories. Each conversation type follows specific rules and incurs different charges. Here's a detailed look at how Meta categorizes conversations via the WhatsApp Business API and the implications for businesses:

Conversation categories and the 24-hour window

  • 24-hour window: Each conversation, regardless of its type, is opened for a 24-hour timeframe. During this period, businesses can send unlimited messages pertaining to that specific conversation type. Once this window closes, the conversation is considered concluded.

  • Consistency in conversation type: It's important to note that each opened conversation is tied to its initial category. For instance, if you start a conversation with a marketing template, you can continue to send as many marketing-related messages as you wish within the 24-hour timeframe.

  • Switching conversation types: The critical factor to remember is that initiating a message in a different conversation category (like switching from a marketing to an authentication or utility message) will open a new conversation. Each new conversation category you engage in will reset the 24-hour window and incur separate charges.

Implications for businesses

  • Strategic messaging: Businesses need to be strategic about how they initiate conversations. Understanding the boundaries of each conversation type can help in planning and optimizing communication without incurring unnecessary costs.

  • Cost implications: Since each new conversation type incurs charges, it's important for businesses to categorize their messages correctly and understand the potential costs associated with initiating new conversations outside the 24-hour window of an existing conversation.

  • Template usage: Utilizing pre-approved templates for outbound messages like authentication, utility, or marketing ensures compliance with WhatsApp's policies. However, using different templates for different purposes within a short timeframe can lead to multiple conversations being opened and thus, multiple charges.

  • Monitoring and managing conversations: Businesses should closely monitor their conversation types and durations. Tools and analytics offered by the WhatsApp Business API can be invaluable in tracking these interactions and managing costs effectively.

  • Customer experience: Balancing the frequency and type of messages is key to maintaining a positive customer experience. Bombarding customers with too many messages, even within the 24-hour window, can be counterproductive.

Best practices

  • Plan your communication: Map out your customer communication journey to avoid unnecessary switches between conversation types.

  • Understand WhatsApp policies: Stay updated with Meta's guidelines and WhatsApp's pricing structure to avoid surprises in charges.
  • Focus on relevance: Ensure that each message you send within a conversation adds value and is relevant to the customer.
  • Customer feedback: Regularly gather customer feedback on your WhatsApp interactions to refine your strategy.

When you take the time to understand how Meta defines and charges for new conversations in the WhatsApp Business API, you can easily conduct effective and cost-efficient communication with your customers and prospects. Businesses can take advantage of WhatsApp’s full potential as a powerful communication tool by strategically planning conversations, adhering to category guidelines, and focusing on customer experience.

Free entry points conversations - All you need to know

"Free entry point conversations" on WhatsApp Business are a specific interaction category that begins with a customer’s action and offers an extended communication window without additional charges. Here's a detailed breakdown:

Definition and initiation

  • Initiation by customer action: A free entry point conversation is initiated when a customer engages with a business through specific actions, like clicking on a 'Click to WhatsApp' advertisement or a 'Call to Action' button on a Facebook page.

  • Response timeframe: For the conversation to qualify as a free entry point, the business must respond within 24 hours of the customer's initial contact.

Duration and implications

  • Extended communication window: Once the business responds within the 24-hour window, a 72-hour communication period is activated. This period starts from the moment the business replies, providing an extended opportunity for interaction without extra charges.

  • Closure of other conversations: It's important to note that once a free entry point conversation is opened, all other conversations with the same customer are closed. This is likely designed to streamline communication and avoid duplication of conversations.

  • Freedom in message content: During this 72-hour window, the business can send any type of message template without opening new conversations and incurring additional charges. This flexibility allows businesses to effectively communicate with customers, whether for customer service, marketing, or other purposes.

Strategic benefits

  • Cost efficiency: These conversations offer a cost-effective way for businesses to engage with customers who have shown interest through specific actions without incurring additional conversation charges.

  • Enhanced customer engagement: The extended window allows for more comprehensive and meaningful interactions, improving customer experience and engagement.

  • Versatility in communication: The ability to use various message templates without extra charges or opening new conversations offers businesses flexibility in how they communicate, tailoring their approach to each customer's needs.

Best practices

  • Timely responses: Businesses should aim to respond within the initial 24-hour window to leverage the extended communication period.

  • Maximize the 72-hour window: Use this period to address customer needs fully, whether it's answering queries, providing information, or engaging in promotional activities.

  • Monitor and adapt: Regularly review the performance of your 'Click to WhatsApp' ads and Facebook 'Call to Action' buttons to understand customer engagement patterns and adapt strategies accordingly.

Free entry point conversations are a valuable feature of WhatsApp Business, offering an extended window for businesses to engage with interested customers without incurring additional costs. By effectively understanding and utilizing this feature, businesses can enhance their customer communication strategies while maintaining cost efficiency.

Expert Tip: We advise against sending pre-defined templates during an already open conversation, as this could incur additional charges from Meta.

For instance, let's say a service conversation is initiated at 10 AM. If a customer inquires about a specific campaign for which you have a pre-made marketing template, it's best to avoid using that template. Instead, craft a similar response within the context of the ongoing service conversation. This approach helps you provide the needed information while avoiding the use of the marketing template, thus preventing extra charges and opening another conversation for the same client which is redundant.

By strategically managing your conversation types and template usage, you can effectively communicate with your customers without incurring unnecessary costs.

WhatsApp Business quality template explained

In the realm of WhatsApp Business, each template is meticulously evaluated and assigned a quality rating by the Meta professional team, reflecting its effectiveness based on user interaction and feedback. This system is pivotal in maintaining high standards of communication between businesses and their customers. 

Here's an insight into the WhatsApp Business template quality rating:

  • Quality pending: When a template is new or has limited usage data, it's assigned a 'Quality Pending' status. This indicates that WhatsApp is gathering sufficient data to accurately assess its quality.

  • High quality (desired quality): Achieving a 'High Quality' rating is the goal for every business. It signifies that your template adheres to Meta’s guidelines and resonates well with your audience. It's an indicator of content that hits the mark, providing value and relevance to your customers.

  • Medium quality: A 'Medium Quality' rating is a cautionary signal. It suggests a need to reassess your messaging strategy. This rating often results from customers marking your messages as spam, irrelevant, or simply deleting them. It's a prompt to review and refine your templates, ensuring they are targeted and relevant.

  • Low quality: A 'Low Quality' rating is a critical concern. When a template reaches this level, it's typically paused or disabled. The first occurrence results in a 3-hour pause, the second in a 6-hour pause, and a consistently low rating can permanently disable the template. This is WhatsApp's way of ensuring that only effective and user-friendly templates are in circulation.

Regularly monitoring these quality ratings is essential for businesses using WhatsApp to communicate with their customers. It ensures that the messages being sent comply with WhatsApp’s guidelines and are truly beneficial and engaging for the recipients. Striving for a 'High Quality' rating should be a key objective, as it reflects a successful alignment of your messaging with customer expectations and preferences.

WhatsApp Business messaging limits

Navigating the messaging limits of WhatsApp Business is a crucial aspect for businesses to effectively manage their communication strategies. These limits specifically apply to conversations initiated by the business, such as those involving marketing, utility, and authentication templates. Understanding these limits ensures that your business communication remains effective and compliant with WhatsApp's guidelines.
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown:

Overview of messaging limits

  • Business initiated conversations: The limits apply to conversations that a business initiates with unique customers within a 24-hour period. Each customer can only be contacted a certain number of times per day.

The 4 levels of messaging volume limits

  • Level 1: Upon approval of your display name by Meta, you can initiate up to 1,000 business conversations per day.

  • Level 2: This level allows up to 10,000 initiated conversations daily.

  • Level 3: Businesses can engage in up to 100,000 conversations per day.

  • Level 4: There is no limitation on the number of initiated conversations per day.

Factors influencing your limit level

  • Phone number status: The status of your registered phone number plays a role in determining your messaging limit.

  • Quality rating: A high-quality rating can positively impact your allowed messaging volume.
  • Conversation volume: How frequently you initiate conversations is also a factor. Regular engagement can increase your limit.

Restrictions and important notes

  • Display name approval: If your display name hasn’t been approved by Meta, or if there are issues with your quality rating, you will be restricted to initiating only 250 conversations per day.

  • Compliance with Meta’s guidelines: Staying within these limits and adhering to Meta's guidelines is crucial for maintaining access to the platform without facing restrictions or penalties.

Navigating through the levels

  • Monitoring and adjusting: Regularly monitor your messaging volume and quality rating. Adjust your communication strategy as needed to ensure you're maximizing your outreach without exceeding limits.

  • Aiming for high quality: Strive for a high-quality rating by ensuring customers’ messages are relevant, valuable, and well-received. This enhances customer experience and can positively influence your messaging limit.

Adhering to WhatsApp Business’s messaging limits is key to maintaining an effective and compliant communication strategy. These limits are designed to balance the needs of businesses with the experience of users, ensuring that WhatsApp remains a trusted platform for customer engagement. By being mindful of these limits and continuously working to improve your quality rating, you can maximize your outreach and maintain a positive presence on WhatsApp Business.

Adding an opt out button to your WhatsApp Business templates

Integrating opt-out options into your WhatsApp Business templates, especially for Marketing and Utility conversation types, is a strategic move that can significantly enhance customer experience and your brand's reputation. This approach aligns with best practices for customer communication and brings several key benefits to your business. Here's a detailed overview:

The importance of opt-out buttons

  • Reducing block rate: Including opt-out buttons in your messages empowers customers to choose whether they want to continue receiving communications. This choice reduces the likelihood of customers blocking your number or reporting your messages as spam, which in turn helps maintain a healthy sender reputation.

  • Enhancing quality rating: WhatsApp's quality rating system favors businesses that respect customer preferences. Providing a clear opt-out option demonstrates adherence to best communication practices, which can positively impact your quality rating.

  • Customer autonomy: Giving customers the power to decide on the type of communication they receive places the ball in their court. This respect for customer autonomy can lead to increased trust and loyalty towards your brand.

  • Tailoring to customer preferences: Connecting the opt-out feature to your customer preference database allows you to track and understand customer behavior better. This insight is invaluable for refining your marketing strategies and ensuring that your messages are targeted and relevant.

Best practices for implementing opt-out buttons

  • Clear and accessible: Ensure that the opt-out option is clearly visible and easy to use. A complicated opt-out process can frustrate customers and lead to negative experiences.

  • Regular reminders: Include opt-out reminders regularly, but not excessively, in your communications. This practice ensures new recipients are aware of their options and provides a gentle reminder to existing contacts.

  • Immediate action: Once a customer opts out, remove them from the specific communication list immediately. Delayed action can lead to irritation and potential blocks.

  • Feedback option: Consider including a quick feedback question along with the opt-out button, such as “Why are you opting out?”. This can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and areas for improvement.

  • Compliance with guidelines: Always stay aligned with WhatsApp's and Meta’s guidelines regarding customer communication. This includes respecting user privacy and ensuring all communications are appropriate and relevant.

  • Testing and optimization: Regularly test different formats and placements for your opt-out buttons to see what works best. Monitor opt-out rates and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Incorporating opt-out buttons in your WhatsApp Business templates is a customer-centric approach that benefits both your audience and your business. It’s a testament to your commitment to respectful and ethical communication practices. By doing so, you can improve customer satisfaction, reduce negative interactions, and enhance the overall effectiveness of your communication strategy while reducing agent burnout and increase satisfaction all across the board.

Wrapping up

I actually can’t believe this guide has come to an end :) but as we wrap up this comprehensive guide, it's essential to emphasize that we at Glassix are committed to keeping you informed and updated. We regularly refresh this article to reflect the latest updates from Meta, ensuring that our customers and prospects have the most current information at their fingertips. Our partnership with Meta and WhatsApp positions us uniquely as a tech partner, providing our users with swift access to services and information offered by these platforms. This collaboration enhances our ability to offer innovative and updated solutions tailored to your business needs.

At Glassix, we understand the dynamic nature of digital communication and the critical role that platforms like WhatsApp play in today's business landscape. Our tools and insights are designed to empower your business, helping you navigate the intricacies of customer communication with ease and efficiency.

If you're still weighing the advantages of incorporating WhatsApp into your business communication strategy, let us make the decision easier for you. We're excited to offer you a chance to experience our services firsthand with a 30-day free trial. Get started today and witness the transformative impact of our platform on your CX and bottom line revenue.