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How to Send Message Templates Outside the 24-Hour Window

Messages that initiate a conversation with a contact need to be sent in the form of a Message Template. Use WhatsApp Message Templates to initiate promotional and notification campaigns. Send proactive messages via Flows, LiveChat, and Broadcasts. 

What's a Message Template

WhatsApp message templates are specific message formats that businesses use to reach contacts:

  1. You want to engage in communication outside the 24-hour messaging window..
  2. Who shared their phone number but never communicated previously with your business account via WhatsApp.

In both cases, make sure the contact gives their prior consent to receive your message in compliance with WhatsApp Business Policy.

Before sending a message, WhatsApp must first approve your Message Template, which can take several minutes. After your submission is approved, you can send messages with no limitations.

Message Templates categories include but are not limited to auto-replies, appointment reminders, shipping information, issue resolution, account and payment updates, etc. Read Creating Message Templates below for a complete list of categories

In addition to transactional notifications and customer care messages, businesses registered in Facebook Business Manager in the country from the approved list (see "What are the Eligibility Requirements" below) will also be able to send non-transactional promotional messages such as:

  • Relevant offers
  • Product recommendations related to previous purchases
  • Reminders to book an appointment
  • Helpful informational alerts

What are the Eligibility Requirements

Review the following prerequisites for using templated messaging

  1. To access Message Template, make sure your WhatsApp Business is verified first. After Facebook verifies your business, the Message Template tab in Settings → WhatsApp appears. See Creating Message Templates below.

  2. You must have an active PRO subscription since sending Message Templates is a paid feature.

  3. Ensure a sufficient amount of funds in your Manychat Wallet since we will charge you for sending Message . Funds will be deducted from your Wallet similar to SMS messages. Review What is the Pricing and Billing structure below.

  4. Only an Admin or Editor is allowed to create and submit new Message Templates to WhatsApp for approval.

What is the Pricing and Billing structure

Starting on February 1st, 2022, Facebook will implement a new conversation-based pricing model for all businesses globally sending WhatsApp messages. The final price depends on the country code of the contact’s number. The list of country-specific price rates can be found here

To make sure all your Message Templates are ready to send, maintain a sufficient balance in your Wallet.

To avoid undelivered messages we recommend setting up automatic refills.

How to create Message Templates

To see all the Message Templates you created, go to Settings → WhatsApp → Message Templates. Click "+ Message Template". This button is visible only to Editor and Admin roles.

If you don't see it, it's probably because your WhatsApp account hasn't been verified yet.

⚠️ NOTE! Message Templates created outside our platform won't be in this list and won't be available to use within Manychat. We recommend creating & editing Message Templates through Manychat only.

This is where you start creating a new Message Template.

Enter your Template name in English and select one of the following categories in the drop-down list:

  • Account Update
  • Payment Update
  • Personal Finance Update
  • Shipping Update
  • Reservation Update
  • Issue Resolution
  • Appointment Update
  • Transportation Update
  • Ticket Update
  • Alert Update
  • Auto-Reply

Choose a Template language from the list. English is set by default. 

Note: WhatsApp requires you to select a language for all Message templates. Otherwise, WhatsApp can reject your template.

Next, you can add an attachment: an image, video, file, or add header text to your Message Template. This allows you to create more engaging, informative, and higher converting Message Templates. From our research, contacts are 2x as likely to engage with your messages if you attach an informative video or image to go along with them.

From the right side of the form, you will see the preview of your Template.

Please, note the size and format requirements for the attachment.

Fill in the Template body with text, emojis, or variables. For variables, you'll provide examples so that WhatsApp can also validate them.

You can finish your text part with a footer note — a small secondary text.

It's optional to add the following interactive Buttons to your Message Template:

  • URL Button
  • Regular Buttons

You can add 1 URL Button or up to 3 Regular Buttons to the Template. For the URL, fill in the required fields. You can add a variable to make your URL dynamic.

For Regular Buttons, just enter your text.

Use Flow builder to link messages to those buttons after validation of your Template is finished by WhatsApp.

When your Message Template is ready you can send it to WhatsApp for validation by clicking the Validate button. After that, you'll see a modal window asking if you want to start a validation process.

⚠️ NOTE! When you click "Submit" you will no longer be able to edit the Template.

How to create Promotional Message Templates

As stated earlier, promotional messaging is allowed only for businesses from the countries that Facebook whitelisted. See the "What are the Eligibility Requirements" section above for a complete list of countries.

There's no explicit category for promotional content but WhatsApp recommends using the category that best suits your use case. For example, the "Alert Update" category covers a wide variety of promotional notifications.

To prevent policy violations, remember to make sure your business is from the whitelisted country, and your customer expects your message.

If something is not OK with the content of your Message Template WhatsApp will only reject your template at the moderation stage. So if the Message Template was approved there's a very low chance that WhatsApp will find it non-compliant later after sending is done.

Make sure you read carefully the "Why Compliance and Policy Enforcement is important" and "Deliver best practices for high-quality opt-in experience" sections to minimize the risk of getting warnings or blocks for policy violations.

What is Message Template Validation

After you submit your Message Template, review the status list of your templates in Settings → WhatsApp → Message Templates.

There are 3 types of statuses:

  • Pending: This is when a business first submits a template that hasn’t yet been approved.
  • Approved: The template is approved and ready to be sent.
  • Rejected: The template is rejected by WhatsApp.

If your Message Template(s) have been rejected, it may have been for one of the following reasons:

  • Formatting is incorrect
  • The Message Template(s) contain content that violates WhatsApp’s Commerce Policy
  • The Message Template(s) contain content that violates WhatsApp’s Business Policy
  • The Message Template(s) contain potentially abusive or threatening content

You can find more detailed information in the official Message Templates Guidelines

Check your WhatsApp Business Manager to see why it was rejected. For example, this Message Template was rejected because of a discrepancy in the selected language and Template content.

Why Compliance and Policy Enforcement is important

It is very important to follow these guidelines to minimize the possibility of your account getting reported by the customer or even banned by WhatsApp.

To establish a positive customer service relationship, it's important to get permission before sending notifications according to WhatsApp Business Policy:

  1. Businesses must clearly state that a person is opting-in to receive messages from the business over WhatsApp.
  2. Businesses must clearly state the business’ name that a person is opting-in to receive messages from.
  3. Businesses must comply with applicable law.

Businesses should create and send notifications with the below attributes in mind to drive a high-quality user experience:

  • People have already opted-in to receive this information from the business over WhatsApp, so they are not surprised when the business messages them. Note, that businesses can ask for opt-in anywhere (e.g., email, web form, and phone), not necessarily in WhatsApp thread.
  • The messages are personalized to the specific person, are concise, contain the necessary information, and clearly outline any next steps for the person.
  • People receive these messages when they are relevant.
  • Always provide clear instructions on how your contacts can opt-out. Remember that contacts are likely to stop communication with you by using "Block and Report" feature in their WhatsApp apps unless you give them an easier and less harmful way to do that.

Deliver best practices for high-quality opt-in experience

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 (i.e., order updates, relevant offers, and product recommendations).
  • Obtaining separate opt-in by specific message category.
  • Aligning your communication with WhatsApp Business Policy. This mitigates the risk of users blocking your business because they receive unsolicited messages.

Provide clear instructions for how people can opt-out of receiving messages from your business and ensure your opt-in and opt-out flows are clear and intuitive.

Avoid messaging customers too frequently and clearly communicate the value of receiving important updates on WhatsApp.

Don't forget to monitor quality metrics, like phone number quality rating, status, and template quality, because they affect your WhatsApp Business API usage. You can find your quality rating below the Phone numbers tab in WhatsApp Manager.

For more information, please review WhatsApp Business phone number's quality rating.

How to send Message Templates

Approved Message Templates are ready to be sent. Manychat offers two options:

  • Send Message Templates as a part of your automation via Flows
  • Send Message Templates via Broadcast
  • Send Message Templates directly via Live Chat

How to send Message Templates as a part of your automation via Flows

Message Templates have certain advantages over regular WhatsApp messages such as the ability to be sent outside the 24-hour window and availability of URL Buttons. If you want to use a Message Template as a part of your Flow, you need to create a WhatsApp node in Flow Builder first. Then switch a Message Type to Message Template.

Choose a Message Template from the list. Keep in mind that you can use and send only approved Message Templates.

Please note, you can't edit your Message Template. Here is how it looks like:

If your Message Template contains Buttons, you can connect them with further automation as well as the Message Template node itself:

How to send Message Templates via Broadcasts

The best way to engage contacts outside the 24-hour window is to send a Broadcast with Message Templates. Go to Broadcast → Broadcast From Flow.

Before you send it, you need to have a Flow first. After clicking the button you will be asked to choose a Flow.

Click "Go Next" on the Flow preview. Set up a Condition for Targeting. It is recommended to use "Opted-in for WhatsApp condition = TRUE" to target only those of your contacts that are connected with your business over WhatsApp. But if your Flow already checks this condition via Condition block, then it is not necessary. You can also apply any other additional conditions like tags and custom fields on this page.

How to send Message Templates directly via Live Chat

The third option is sending your Message Templates via Live Chat. It's also available even if your contact is outside the 24-hour window. It's not available until you have the 1K/24 hours Messaging Tier, though.

Click the small icon. Select a Message Template from the list to send your message immediately:

⚠️ NOTE! When you send Message Templates that contain Regular Buttons using this method, keep in mind that these Buttons are not connected to any further automation. Text Message Templates and Templates that contain URL Buttons will also work.