WhatsApp Message Templates are specific message formats that businesses use to send out notifications or customer care messages to people that have opted in to notifications. Messages can include appointment reminders, shipping information, issue resolution, or payment updates. Message Templates should be pre-approved by WhatsApp and they also can be sent to your contacts outside the 24-hour window.
⚠️ IMPORTANT! Sending Message Templates outside the 24-hour window is a paid feature. We recommend checking out WhatsApp Pricing for Message Templates. Sending Message Templates within 24h window is free.
To ensure these messages are expected, businesses must obtain opt-in in advance of sending any proactive notifications. WhatsApp Business Policy requires the following:
- 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.
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.
- The messages are personalized to the specific person, concise, contain the necessary information, and clearly outline any next steps for the person.
- People receive these messages when they are relevant.
Best practices to create a 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 (ex: order updates, relevant offers, product recommendations, etc.).
- Obtaining separate opt-in by specific message category.
- This aligns with WhatsApp Business 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 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. Please check out this article to learn more about your WhatsApp Business phone number's quality rating.
Creating Message Templates
To create a Message Template and send it to WhatsApp for validation you need to make sure your WhatsApp Business is fully verified first. After that go to your Settings → WhatsApp → Message Templates and then click "+ Create New Message Template".
⚠️ IMPORTANT! You have to be a Billing Admin to be able to create your first Message Template, after that all Admins and Editors will be able to do that.
Here you'll be also able to see all your Message Templates created in ManyChat.
⚠️ NOTE! Message Templates created outside our platform won't be in this list and won't be available to use within ManyChat.
After clicking the button you'll see this page below where you can actually create a brand new Message Template.
Enter your Template name and choose a relevant category. At the moment WhatsApp allows sending Message Templates within further categories:
- Account Update
- Payment Update
- Personal Finance Update
- Shipping Update
- Reservation Update
- Issue Resolution
- Appointment Update
- Transportation Update
- Ticket Update
- Alert Update
Fill in the Template with the text, you can use emojis and variables here. When you use variables you'll be asked to provide examples so WhatsApp can also validate them.
You have an option to add some interactive buttons to your Message Template. There are 2 types of buttons available in Message Templates:
- 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 and if you'd like to you can add a variable to make your url dynamic. Due to WhatsApp restrictions URL Buttons are currently available only in Message Templates.
As for Regular Buttons you'll only need to fill in texts.
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, here you have a chance to make some final edits to your Message Template.
⚠️ NOTE! When you click "Submit" you will no longer be able to edit the Template.
Message Template Validation
After submitting your Message Template to WhatsApp it will appear in the list of your Message Templates in Settings → WhatsApp → Message Templates with a relevant status.
There are different statuses for Templates:
- 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 about these rejection reasons in official Message Templates Guidelines
Sending Message Templates
Approved Message Templates are ready to be sent and here ManyChat offers you these two options:
- Send Message Templates as a part of your automation via Flows
- Send Message Templates directly via Live Chat
Let's have a closer look at each option!
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.
Now you can 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:
Send Message Templates directly via Live Chat
The second option is sending your Message Templates via Live Chat. This option is also available even if your contact is outside the 24 hour window. Just click this little icon here, choose a Message Template from the list and it will be sent right away:
⚠️ 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 should work just fine in this case.