WhatsApp has expanded the types of messages you can now send to your contacts who have opted-in to receive messages from you.
WhatsApp Proactive Messaging allows you to send or initiate a message to your WhatsApp contacts, without it needing to be part of an existing ‘transactional’ conversation.
You can now proactively message your contacts using ‘non-transactional’ notifications like:
- Special offers
- Product updates or recommendations
- Helpful information alerts
You’ll still need to create your template message and submit to WhatsApp for approval but there’s nothing special that you need to do, or any additional integrations required. The approval process remains the same and every template will go through the same review process with WhatsApp as before to make sure that it doesn’t violate any of the WhatsApp Commerce or Business Policies, and to make sure that it is correctly formatted.
You can see all the template guidelines here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/message-templates/guidelines
Promotional Notification Template Attributes and Opt-in Policy
If you want to send proactive notification messages, keep these attributes in mind in order to drive a high-quality user experience:
- Expected: People have already opted in to receive this information from the business over WhatsApp so are not surprised when the business messages them
- Relevant: The messages are personalized to the specific person (Ex: based on recent purchases or recent engagement with the business, personalized content in the message itself), concise, contain necessary information, and clearly outline any next steps for the person
- Timely: People receive these messages when they are relevant
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have received opt-in permission before sending any proactive and non-transactional notifications.
WhatsApp outlines the following requirements in their Business Policy:
- Businesses must clearly state that a person is opting in to receive messages from the business over WhatsApp
- Businesses must clearly state the business’ name that a person is opting in to receive messages from
- Businesses must comply with applicable law
To create a high-quality opt-in experience is it important to follow additional WhatsApp best practices:
- Users should expect the messages they receive. Set this expectation by:
- Obtaining an opt-in that encompasses the different categories of messages that you will send (ex: order updates, relevant offers, product recommendations, etc.)
- Obtaining separate opt-in by specific message category
- This aligns to WhatsApp’s Policy and mitigates the risk of users blocking your business because they receive unsolicited messages
- Provide clear instructions for how people can opt out of receiving specific categories of messages and honor these requests
- Ensure opt-in and opt-out flows are clear and intuitive for users
- Avoid messaging customers too frequently
- Clearly communicate the value of receiving these important updates on WhatsApp
Use Case Examples per Industry
The following are some example use cases for various industries:
- Telecommunications: proactive outreach for top-ups before minutes run out, reminders about plan renewals before expiration, relevant offers and deals
- Financial Services: product recommendations based on recent purchases (eg. signing up for a new credit card, line of credit or instalment plan), relevant offers and deals (eg. credit card discounts or partnerships)
- Ecommerce/Retail: Back in stock reminder, product recommendations based on recent purchases, relevant offers and deals, cart abandonment reminders for products not yet purchased, relevant new product introductions
- Travel: Price alerts for flights the customer is tracking, custom deals based on travel preferences, upsell offers in context (e.g. car booking), cart abandonment reminders for flights not yet purchased
Tips for Template Review
All templates need to be submitted to WhatsApp for review and approval. Here are some helpful tips to help you through the process:
- Content should not violate WhatsApp Commerce and Business Policies
- Templates must be formatted correctly. Refer to formatting guidelines here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/message-templates/guidelines
- Make sure there is enough content during the review to ensure a faster turnaround time. It is recommended that you include a sample, especially when submitting a media message template
- If your template is rejected, you can appeal through Direct Support and need to include a sample
- Make sure that you submit templates well advance to ensure sufficient time for review and approval before you intend to use them
User Controls and Enforcement
Remember that your customers are in control when they message with your business on WhatsApp. A business can be blocked or reported by clients at any time. If someone blocks a business, they are able to inform WhatsApp as to why, such as “Didn’t Sign Up”. WhatsApp leverages these quality signals to determine the phone number quality rating and when applicable, WhatsApp surfaces this as feedback to businesses as a potential reason for red (low) or yellow (medium) quality.
WhatsApp takes action to limit the reach of low quality messages. WhatsApp may rate limit or even remove notifications or specific templates from being sent if your business’s quality is low for a sustained period of time. In future, WhatsApp may leverage additional quality signals and introduce new types of enforcement to enable high quality conversations between people and businesses using the API.