WhatsApp Business API updates on conversation categories and pricing

Messaging Apps | February 10, 2023
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For all businesses using the WhatsApp Business API, Meta is updating its conversation-based pricing within the first half of the year to better reflect the value provided on the messaging ecosystem. Here are the things you need to know and their corresponding dates of effectivity—

New conversation categories – effective April 1, 2023

The two current conversation categories, business-initiated and user-initiated, will be updated into four categories as detailed below. Starting April 1, 2023, the new conversation categories will be required in template approval.

Business-initiated conversations will be expanded into:

  1. Utility conversations – Conversations that relate to transactions with the business such as ongoing transaction updates, post-purchase notifications, and recurring billing statements.
  2. Authentication conversations – Conversations that enable a business to authenticate users with one-time passcodes such as for account verification, account recovery, etc.
  3. Marketing conversations – Conversations that may relate to the business and its products and services including promotions, offers, or an invitation for customers to respond or take action. Conversations that don’t qualify as utility and authentication will automatically fall under marketing.

User-initiated conversations will be updated to:

  • 4. Service conversations – All user-initiated conversations such as inquiries will fall under this category.
Whatsapp Conversation categories
For all live and existing templates, Meta will be assigning them a category automatically and no action is required from the business. For guidelines on how Meta will classify utility, authentication, and marketing templates, click here
Updated conversation rates – effective June 1, 2023

Conversation charges will be based on their template category. Below are sample scenarios on how charges will be initiated.

For utility, authentication, and marketing conversations:

  • If there is no open conversation under the same conversation category, it opens a new conversation and incurs the fee of that category
  • If there is an open conversation under the same category, multiple templates of the same category can be sent within the open conversation without additional charges

For service conversations:

  • This will be initiated when no other conversation window is open and a business responds to a user with a free-form message within the 24-hour customer service window
  • If a business replies with a template, this opens a new conversation and is charged based on the template category

Charge exception:

Charges do not apply to replies to free entry point conversations during the free window. A business can send multiple templates of different categories during the free window and no new conversation will be opened and charged.

The new rates:

  • Utility, marketing, and service conversation rates - View the rate cards here. Utility conversation rates will be lower than the current business-initiated conversation rates, marketing higher, and service the same.
  • Authentication conversation rates – The rate card is yet to be released but will be made available prior to June 1, 2023.

According to Meta, these changes are designed to better align the pricing model with different customer journey stages. An emphasis is given on the value and effectiveness of WhatsApp for marketing, backed with high ROI marketing use cases with 67% of businesses reporting that WhatsApp led to higher conversion rates versus other channels.

Changes in the messaging free tier – effective June 1, 2023

Along with the changes in rates, there will also be changes regarding the inclusions in the Free Tier or the first 1,000 conversations offered by WhatsApp to businesses. WhatsApp will still be offering a free tier of 1,000 conversations per month but this will only apply to user-initiated conversations (service conversations) moving forward and will no longer include business-initiated ones (utility, authentication, and marketing conversations).

Changes in the free entry point conversations window – effective March 1, 2023

And lastly, free entry point conversations will have a 72-hour or 3-day free window instead of only the first 24 hours or the first day of conversation being free. Conversations that are not initiated in-app and are referred from an external source are considered free entry point conversations. Examples of sources may include a Facebook Page CTA and ads that lead to a WhatsApp chat.

Whatsapp free entry points
Not yet fully utilizing WhatsApp for your Business? Don’t miss out on the power of the world’s #1 messaging app! Unlock the benefits of the WhatsApp Business API with Convrs today — or book a demo.

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