This blog has been updated as of March 2023.
Is WhatsApp Business free to use? Are there any rules I need to know? How does WhatsApp charge for messages? Know everything about WhatsApp Business pricing here.
In 2023, WhatsApp continues to be the most popular global mobile messenger app. It’s also the third most popular social network worldwide. It has more than two billion monthly active users.
Chances are that you already know the convenience, speed, and personalisation of WhatsApp. For many businesses, it’s a lifeline and an effective way to reach out to customers and meet their needs.
The best way to leverage this is with WhatsApp Business API. So what do you need to know about how to use it, and what will it cost? That’s what you’re going to find out.
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Two Types of WhatsApp for Business
There are two forms of WhatsApp for Business that you can consider. WhatsApp Business App is ideal for smaller companies. The WhatsApp Business API is for medium to large companies.
WhatsApp Business App is free to download for Android and iOS. With this, you can:
- Connect with customers
- Highlight products, services, and offers
- Provide customer service and more.
This means higher levels of trust and engagement.
The WhatsApp Business API can turbocharge the experience. You get scalability, flexibility, and dedicated enterprise features to meet your needs.
The API works with authorised third-party software, from a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider. And so working with such a provider means a set-up and monthly costs. Each provider has varying rates.
Besides, there is also a charge for messages sent by WhatsApp. Before we get into this, it’s important to be clear about the types of messages for WhatsApp Business.
Understanding Session Messages and Template Messages
For the WhatsApp Business API, there are two types of messages. These are Session Messages and Template Messages.
Session messages are those sent and received in response to a message initiated by the user. A messaging session starts when your business receives a message. It lasts for 24 hours in the context of the most recently received message.
An example of a session message is if a user asks you for more information about a product. Or if a user follows up on a sale, or a customer care issue.
However, template messages are formats sent to those who opt to receive messages from your business. They are a useful, efficient, and time-saving form of communication on WhatsApp. Here’s your go-to recipe to create great WhatsApp message templates.
For example, you can use templates for
- Payment reminders
- Shipping updates, and more.
Many businesses find such template messages to be powerful for communication, as it allows businesses to set up a set flow of communication for customers. Consumers, too, have come to depend on them for a variety of needs. Template messages need to be pre-approved by WhatsApp.
New WhatsApp Business Conversation Models
WhatsApp is changing its pricing module from two conversation categories to four from June 1, 2023.
The conversation-based pricing model will expand from two (user- and business-initiated) to four conversation categories. As a result, business-initiated conversations will be classified as Utility, Authentication, and Marketing, while user-initiated conversations will be classified as Service conversations, allowing customers to resolve issues.
In addition to the new pricing model, WhatsApp is introducing “Conversation Metrics,” which will allow businesses to track the effectiveness of their messages. These features will be available in the second half of 2023.
Businesses will soon be able to access performance data informing them of sends, reads, and top block reasons across Utility, Marketing, and Service categories of conversations via WhatsApp Manager.
Marketing messages will have their own click rate, click-through rate, and media views, allowing businesses to assess the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.
Understand the New Pricing System
These four new categories will be applied for template approval starting Apr 1, 2023, and to pricing effective June 1, 2023.
Four New Conversation Category–
1. Utility Conversations
Business-initiated conversations users 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.
2. Authentication Conversations
Business-initiated conversations users have opted into enabling businesses such as you to authenticate users with one-time passcodes (OTP), potentially at multiple steps in the login process (e.g., account verification, account recovery, password change, etc.)
3. Marketing Conversations
Business-initiated conversations users have opted into that may include promotions or offers, informational updates -such as back-in-stock alerts, or invitations for customers to respond or take action. A marketing conversation is any conversation that does not qualify as utility or authentication.
4. Service conversations
Any user-initiated conversation, such as to resolve their concerns or queries. For example, the customer is facing difficulty with a refund and he needs to talk to an agent. This is where this conversation model comes into play.
Here’s how WhatsApp Pricing Differs for Different Countries
Conversation-Based Pricing: The New WhatsApp Business Pricing System
When it came to WhatsApp Business API pricing, there was no charge for session messages earlier. WhatsApp simply charged businesses for the number of messages they initiate and send to users.
But now, WhatsApp charges its API users using the new conversation-based pricing model.
WhatsApp will charge businesses per conversation over a 24-hour period. WhatsApp divides such conversations into two categories, with different pricing slabs.
These conversations begin when a business responds to a message first sent by the user. The first response from the business initiates a 24-hour session window.
All messages exchanged between a business and a user within this 24-hour window are associated as a single conversation. These messages render a single charge.
Businesses can send any number of free-form messages within these 24 hours.
These conversations usually begin when a user has a query.
These conversations begin when the business first sends a message to the user. These messages are counted after the 24-hour window is exhausted.
These conversations require businesses to only communicate with users with pre-approved message templates.
Make The Most Every Month: Free-Tier Conversations
WhatsApp has a new addition to the pricing system.
Now, businesses will get 1000 conversations for free every month. This means that WhatsApp will not charge for the first 1000 monthly chat sessions businesses have with users.
The quota is refreshed every month. These conversations can either be user or business initiated.
What if I have multiple numbers registered to the same business account? The threshold still remains 1000 conversations per month.
When does the threshold renew? WhatsApp reinstates free and fresh 1000 conversations every month based on the WABA’s timezone.
The Implications for Small and Large Businesses
Many small businesses have yet to scale up their skills and tech stack to make full use of the Internet to reach out to customers. For them, WhatsApp for Business can be a great platform to reach out to and personally connect with their customers.
They can estimate the amount they will have to pay and grow their online presence accordingly.
For larger businesses that already have a robust online presence, WhatsApp for Business can also be a wonderful value-add. It offers speed, responsiveness and convenience. It also plays a part in boosting the larger digital strategy.
You might be interested in Handling Customer-Communication on WhatsApp the right way
How WhatsApp for Business Delivers Value
There are many ways for you to take full advantage of WhatsApp Business. It makes it simpler to communicate, engage and convert customers.
For example, with WhatsApp Chatbots, you can use virtual agents for automated chats. A customer’s request will be scanned, along with the context. The chatbot responds with a reply designed to meet the need.
There are several use cases for this. Take e-commerce. You can:
- automate lead generation
- get orders placed
- devise a shipment strategy
- and much more.
Another example is insurance. With WhatsApp automation, insurance companies can get help in lead generation, policy selection, quotes, document submissions, and more.
Once you’ve worked out the right WhatsApp Business model and the WhatsApp Business API pricing, you’re well on your way to unleashing a powerful tool.