All you need to know about WhatsApp business platform’s new pricing rule[June 2023]

Starting from June 1, 2023, WhatsApp Business platform will adjust its conversation charging rules, changing the two types of conversations to four types, with significant changes in pricing. In some countries, the price reduction is up to 80%. This article will comprehensively introduce and interpret the new pricing rules from the following aspects, eliminating all doubts about pricing rules for merchants.

I. Adjusted content of WhatsApp Business’s new rules

II. Timeline for New Rules Implementation

III. Interpretation and suggestions for price changes

01 Adjusted content of WhatsApp Business new rules

Meta recognizes two types of conversations on WhatsApp Business Platform: user-initiated conversations and business-initiated conversations. Business-initiated conversations always start with message templates, which need to be pre-approved by Meta.

I. Before and after the adjustment.

Before the adjustment, there are two types of conversations.

(1) User-initiated conversations: Users send out the first message to the business. If the business responds within 24 hours, the conversation will be activated and billed.

(2) Business-initiated conversations: The business sends the first message to the user or continues the conversation outside of the 24-hour conversation window. This type of conversation can only be sent through preset message templates.

After the adjustment, conversations are classified into four types:

(1) Service – Initiated by the user. Service conversations are all conversations that are user-initiated, mostly to resolve a customer inquiry. Service conversations only allow businesses to respond with non-template-type messages (i.e., free-form messages). For example, if a user sends a message to the WhatsApp business account of the merchant, and the merchant responds with a free-form message, a service conversation window will be opened.

Previously, business-initiated conversations were divided into three types based on the template type used when sending messages.

(2) Marketing – Initiated by Marketing type-message templates, is to market a product or service to customers. You can send your opted-in customers relevant offers, good deals, or information about product restocking.

(3) Authentication – Initiated by authentication-type message templates. With authentication templates, you can authenticate users with One Time Passwords at multiple touchpoints during the login or verification process, such as account registration, account recovery, and other situations where the customer’s identity needs confirmation.

(4) Utility – Initiated by Utility-type message templates. Utility conversations are business-initiated conversations, often relating to a transaction. 

II. Adjusted Conversation Charging Rules

Each conversation type is charged separately per 24 hours.

  • messaging session can start with both a user-initiated message or a business-initiated message. When a messaging session starts, your business gets a 24-hour conversation window or Customer Care Window. As a business, you can keep interacting with customers if they also keep interacting with you up to 24h after the last customer interaction. Within the session, you can personalize and/or automate the conversation with templates, customer care employees, and chatbots at your wish (within reason, of course).
  • For example, if a business sends a marketing template message and then a verification template message, the marketing conversation window, and the verification conversation window will be opened separately, and the corresponding marketing conversation fee and verification conversation fee will be charged.
  • Sending multiple templates of the same category will not incur additional fees. For example, if a business sends a notification template message, opens a notification conversation window, and sends multiple notification template messages within the next 24 hours, no fees will be charged.
  • If the merchant responds using the three template message types, it will still be considered an initiated conversation by the business and will be charged accordingly based on the corresponding conversation type.

III. Specific Pricing Changes after Adjustment

The four types of conversations mentioned above have their own new pricing in each country. Please visit here to check the latest prices.

IV. Free conversation time for marketing has been extended to 72 hours

WhatsApp Business Platform is just one of many products Meta has to offer. To focus on expanding the use cases of its other products, conversations initiated from Facebook advertising into WhatsApp Business accounts are free of charge. Starting from March 1, the free conversation window has been extended from 24 hours to 72 hours, during which no other types of conversation windows will be opened.

Please note: Conversations initiated from advertising are free, but the advertising itself incurs charges.

V. 1000 free conversations per month no longer include business-initiated conversations

Each WhatsApp Business account still has 1000 free conversations per month, but they are only limited to user-initiated conversations (i.e., service-type conversations), and the three types of business-initiated conversations are not included in any free quota.

VI. Variables in templates must include examples

When creating templates, all variables must include examples, otherwise, they will fail to be reviewed.

02 Timeline for New Rules Implementation Pacific Standard Time

March 1, 2023 

Free conversation time for advertising is extended to 72 hours

Conversations initiated from Facebook advertising into WhatsApp Business accounts are free of charge. Starting from March 1, the free conversation window has been extended from 24 hours to 72 hours, during which no other types of conversation windows will be opened.

April 1, 2023

WhatsApp completes the migration of new template attributes

WhatsApp will reclassify all old templates and complete the first template migration.

Notice: Templates containing variables must submit variable examples.

May 1, 2023

Businesses need to submit according to new template types

When submitting templates, they must be submitted according to the new template types.

Notice: YCloud has already adapted to the new template interface.

May 5, 2023

Migration of newly generated templates completed

Migrate newly generated templates from April 1 to May 1.

Notice: Businesses can appeal to the BM backstage template page if they have objections to the reclassification of old templates, and the latest time for appeal is May 15.

June 1, 2023

New template types and pricing put into the application

The new template types and pricing will be officially implemented.

Notice: The 1000 free conversations per month no longer include business-initiated conversations.

03 Interpretation and Suggestions for WhatsApp Price Changes

I. Interpretation of WhatsApp Business Price Changes

In the new pricing rule, business-initiated conversations are divided into three types. Let’s look at the changes in the prices of these three types of conversations compared to before (the numbers are the percentage increase or decrease).

(Click on the image to view details)

It can be seen that:

Marketing conversations:

  • The cost of conducting WhatsApp marketing conversations has increased in most countries/regions; even so, in some regions, WhatsApp’s marketing costs are still much lower than SMS, and can be focused on in certain countries such as Colombia, India, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, and Israel.
  • Prices in Africa, the Middle East, and Western Europe have been greatly reduced, with the maximum reduction being over 80%.

Utility conversations:

  • Except for North America, the prices of Utility conversations in all countries/regions have significantly decreased.
  • In some countries/regions, the prices after the reduction are much lower than international SMS prices, including Egypt, France, Germany, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Spain, Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Western Europe.

Authentication conversations:

  • The price is lower than the price of Utility conversations.
  • The current prices for the two Indian regions with extremely high WhatsApp coverage rates are still not yet finalized, and perhaps lower prices can be expected.

II. Suggestions for WhatsApp Business New Rules

The new rules have changed significantly in terms of pricing and policies, and business merchants need to adjust their business plans in a timely manner to embrace the changes and maximize market benefits.

1. Use WhatsApp to send authentication and utility messages

From the published prices, WhatsApp strongly supports the push of authentication and utility messages, helping businesses reduce basic communication costs.

In WhatsApp high-coverage areas, such as Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria, we suggest that you default to sending authentication and utility messages through WhatsApp and send SMS immediately through WhatsApp failure status. This greatly reduces basic communication costs while ensuring user experience.

2. Ensure the uniqueness of template properties

Starting from May 1, WhatsApp has added template type review during the message template review process. When creating templates, regardless of the category selected for submission, any template that contains marketing content will be classified as a marketing template.

If the purpose of sending a message is to notify users of specific matters, such as order or logistics notifications, please ensure that there is no marketing tendency in the message template, so that lower utility session prices can be used.

3. Guide users to initiate interactions

Design message templates that attract user interactions. Once users actively reply to messages from your account, you can use free-format messages to interact with them during the session cycle.

Take full advantage of this time to replace the template messages originally intended with free-format messages.

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