1. Conversation type
There are two types of conversations when using the WhatsApp Business Platform:
> User initiated: This is a conversation that is initiated by a user (eg a customer or client) when an inbound message is sent to a business.
The business has 24 hours to reply with a free form message. After that point, a free form reply message will fail, and the business must reply with a template message, which is chargeable.
User initiated conversations have the following characteristics:
- the first 1,000 conversations from users per month are FOC to the business (see below)
- the customer does not need to have previously opted-in to receiving messages (as the user is sending rather than receiving a message)
- they are not subject to a quality rate limit.
> Business initiated: This is a conversation that is initiated by a business by sending an outbound message to a customer.
A business initiated conversation requires the business first to send a message template to the customer.
A business initiated conversation is started when there is no other existing 24-hour message session with the customer.
(More information on creating message templates can be found here)
Other important considerations when sending a message template:
- they are chargeable
- they require pre approval by Meta
- they require that the contact (recipient) has previously opted-in to receiving messages
- they are subject to a quality rate limit.
There are three types of conversations:
> Utility conversations - Business-initiated conversations with customers that have opted into facilitating a specific, agreed-upon request or transaction, or update to a customer about an ongoing transaction, including post-purchase notifications and recurring billing statements.
> Authentication conversations - Business-initiated conversations with customers that have opted into, enabling businesses to authenticate users with one-time passcodes (OTP), potentially at multiple steps in the login process (e.g., account verification, account recovery).
> Marketing conversations - Business-initiated conversations with customers that have opted into, which may include promotions or offers, informational updates like a back-in-stock alert, or invitations for customers to respond or take action. A marketing conversation is any conversation that does not qualify as utility or authentication.
For all types of conversations, if over 24 hours has elapsed since the last customer message, then to resume the conversation the business needs to send a message template - the business can not send a free form message. This in effect starts a new conversation.
When a message template is sent, it starts a 24 hour conversation session.
Alternatively the customer can send an inbound message, and this will also start another 24 hour conversation session.
WhatsApp charges are on a per conversation basis rather than per message, and include all messages sent within the 24 hour conversation session period.
As mentioned above, a 24 hour message session starts when the first message is sent by a business in response to a user inquiry, or when a business-initiated message template is sent.
Conversations become chargeable when the business first sends a message. If it's a business initiated conversation started with a message template, then the charge is higher than when a customer or user initiates the conversation, (and the business responds with a free form message).
The first 1,000 conversations sent by a user or customer, started via an inbound message to the business, are free of charge. Subsequent user conversations are chargeable, but they cost less than business initiated conversations.
Business initiated conversation charges are priced according to the definitions above: utility, conversation or marketing (marketing is the most expensive).
Please see the WhatsApp rate card for specific pricing information.
Charges for conversations are based on the user’s phone number, and vary from country to country.
If a second message template is sent within a 24 hour session, this is not chargeable as it is included in the original conversation, and did not start a new 24 hour session.
Converso and 360dialog do not charge any premium on WhatsApp rates, so you can use the Meta rate card to understand how the charges apply to you.
3. Free entry point conversations
Free entry point conversations can only be user-initiated.
Only the first conversation that starts from the entry point is free of charge.
Subsequent conversations with the user are charged.
Standard pricing will apply for Ads that Click to WhatsApp. The conversation that initiates from the ad is free, but not the ad itself.
4. Conversation tiers
The first 1000 user conversations (per WABA) each month are FOC (with 1,000 unique customers). Charging only starts from conversation number 1001.
If you have multiple phone numbers in the same WABA, the first 1000 conversations among all phone numbers (meaning across the WABA) are FOC.
The other tiers are:
> Tier 2: 10,000 business initiated conversations
> Tier 3: 100,000 business initiated conversations
> Tier 4: unlimited.
You can advance to a higher tier through achieving a sufficient quality standard and also passing any required business verifications - more info can be found here.
In practice, message limits are automatically increased based on the volume and quality of the messages you send.
Conversely, your limit can also be decreased if more of your messages are reported or blocked by users.
Limits for a phone number can be increased if the following items are true:
> the phone number quality rating is not low
> within a 7 day period, the phone number starts business initiated conversations with twice the number of unique customers supported in the current messaging limit
> the phone number has been at the current rate limit for at least 48 hours.
Businesses need to demonstrate that they can send high or medium quality messages at higher volumes before they can get higher messaging limits.