how-to-create-whatsapp-message-template

If you successfully applied for WhatsApp API and activated your phone number(s), this is the article to read! Learning how to create WhatsApp message templates is the next big task on your list.

However, before we dive into the process that is simple but strangely complicated at the same time, let’s have closer look at what is a WhatsApp message template and all the rules and privileges that make it different from the other messages you can send using WhatsApp API.


Message Types Available with WhatsApp API


Essentially, there are two types of messages you can send to your leads/customers using WhatsApp API Client integration:

  1. Session Messages
  2. Highly Structured Messages (HSM)

whatsapp api message types

Session Messages


Session messages are reactive messages written in response to a customer inquiry. WhatsApp labeled them as “session messages” since they can only be sent within 24H Customer Care Window.

In other words, WhatsApp is granting you 24 hours to respond to the inquiry for free.

Session messages – being part of a private conversation between you and your customer – are not subject to a specific format or content rules. You can send text messages, gifs, images, videos, and even voice messages.

After 24-hours since the user’s last message, the session closes. If you wish to re-initiate a conversation after that time period, you need to send a paid message template.

Highly Structured Messages (HSM)


HSMs are the famous WhatsApp message templates you have been hearing so much about. They are the only way WhatsApp is monetizing the API service.

Before anything else, there are 5 key things you need to know about HSM. They are

  • Proactive & Reusable (common notifications business may want to sent to users automatically)
  • Highly Structured (the name doesn’t lie, they have to comply with very strict structure guidelines)
  • Subject to Approval (before they go live, the templates need to be submitted to and pre-approved by WhatsApp team)
  • Subject to User Opt-In (although there is no limit to the number of HSM you can send at once, you can only send them to users who previously agreed to be contacted)
  • Personalized Through Variables (template messages, although automated, allow for a level of personalization using simple variables)
  • (Optionally) Multi-Lingual (the templates allow you to pre-design the same message in multiple languages to connect with users in different countries)

Before, even with WhatsApp Business Account, you could only send up to 256 messages at once to a designated group or broadcast list. In that sense, HSM templates are quite a revolutionary step in the history of WhatsApp as well as one of the most attractive advantages of WhatsApp API.

Let’s look at all those rules that make them so structured!


Rules of Creating WhatsApp Message Templates


There are two rule categories you need to take into account: Content Rules and Formating Rules.

Content Rules


To be able to send users automated notifications, you need to format message templates in accordance with WhatsApp policies which are considerably user-centric. You could say WhatsApp cares more about the value you will be providing to your customers rather than the value they are providing to your business.

And so, promotional and sales-oriented HSM submissions will be rejected – no exceptions!

Your template should fall under one of these categories: account update, alert update, appointment update, issue resolution, payment update, personal finance update, reservation update, shipping update, or ticket update.

Formating Rules


Template Name

WhatsApp message template name can only include lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores.

Example: shipping_update | order_followup1

To speed up the approval process, WhatsApp advises businesses to use descriptive names for their templates rather than random ones like “message_124a” it will make it easier for the person that will be approving your message as well as for you who will manage in a sea of other templates.

Template Content

The content of your template needs also be meticulously formatted. Your HSM template:

  • Must be text-based containing only letters, digits & special characters, emojis and WhatsApp-specific formatting (see formatting table below)
  • Can’t have more than 1024 characters
  • Can’t include newlines, tabs, or more than four consecutive spaces
  • Must indicate variables with {{#}} – a numbered placeholder where a specific number represents the variable index (please note that your variables must begin counting at {{1}})

whatsapp-formatting-rules

Template Translations

Although you are able to send template messages in various languages, WhatsApp doesn’t offer translation services. So, if you wish to address your audience in another language, you need to submit your own translation of the template.

Naturally, the translations must follow the same rules as the original template.


How to Submit a WhatsApp Message Template: The Process


The process of submitting your HSM templates varies depending on whether you are working with a provider or independently.

In our article about how to apply for WhatsApp Business API, we mentioned that you may either apply directly via the Facebook application form or through a provider who manages the application for you.

Submitting HSM Template Through a Provider


It’s important to note that the submission process differs from provider to provider. However, what they do have in common is simplicity & experience.

Having a provider manage the process for you takes away the necessity to deal with the technical part of the submission process.

For example, at Landbot, clients using WhatsApp solution need to fill out a simple conversational form:

whatsapp-messag-template-request-by-landbot

As you progress through the conversation, you are asked to provide the necessary information such as template name and body reminding you of the rules at every step of the way:

After you send your request, Landbot team reviews it, ensures it fits the requirements and submits it to WhatsApp for confirmation. Once approved, the template will appear in your Lanbot WhatsApp Manager dashboard.

Submitting HSM Template Directly via Facebook Business Manager


Given you were lucky to be approved directly, you will be managing all your WhatsApp activities on your Facebook Business Manager action.

To create & submit the HSM temples directly, you need to do the following:

  1. Open your WhatsApp Manager in Facebook Business Manager.
  2. Select “Create and Manage”
  3. Click “WhatsApp Manager”
  4. Select “Message Templates” located in the top bar.
  5. Click “Create Template”
  6. Fill in the fields in the official submission form:
    1. Name: type the name of the new template (remember – alphanumeric characters and underscores only)
    2. Type: Select fitting template type from the drop-down list
    3. Language: If necessary, add additional language for each translation of the same Template. Click “+ New Language” to choose the new language and input the template content.
    4. Content: Here, input the content of the message template in the original language here (and check in the preview how your message will appear.
    5. Custom Fields: Add variables like names or tracking numbers by clicking “Add Variable” and following the formatting rules ➡️ {{#}}
  7. When done, click “Submit” to send your template for review.

Reasons Your WhatsApp Message Templates Can be Rejected


Before we move on, let’s look at the common reasons for templates being rejected:

  1. The message template is regarded as promotional. For instance, the template:
    • offers a free gift and/or coupon codes
    • tries to upsell
    • Bids for cold calls (e.g., “Is this a good time to talk?”)
    • Sends a survey or poll to collect data
    • Includes certain words or phrases which make the template sound promotional (even if there is nothing wrong with the content of the template)
  2. The message template includes floating parameters (e.g., there are lines with only parameters and no text). See the example below – {{1}} and {{2}} are correct and {{3}} and {{4}} are considered floating parameters.
  3. The message template has faulty formatting, for example:
    • Features spelling mistakes
    • Includes incorrect variable format such as missing one curly bracket
  4. The message template contains potentially threatening or abusive content, for example:
    • Threatens users with a legal course of action
    • Threatens users if they don’t pay back their loans

Examples of Approved & Rejected Message Templates


Sounds simple right?

Are you starting to feel you could create WhatsApp message templates without much trouble?

Good, but we advise you to stay cautious!

In practice, things can get a little tricky and differences between what is approved or rejected very nuanced.

Let’s look at a few examples!

Welcome Message


Rejected:

message-template-examples-welcome-rejected

Approved:

message-template-example-welcome-accepted-1

Followup


Rejected:

message-template-follow-up-rejected

Approved:

template-message-followup-approved

Newsletter


Rejected:

template-message-example-info-update-rejected

Approved:

template-message-example-info-update-approved

In a lot of cases, the differences are minuscule and sometimes it’s not even that clear why one message is OK while the other not.

Son, when submitting WhatsApp message templates, it is best to have patience and adopt the Lego-Movie-Batman attitude:


 Managing and Sending Message Templates


As with the submission process, the management, and sending of your HSM templates will be different if you applied directly or are working with a provider.

Direct applicants can manage their WhatsApp template set up and sending via their WhatsApp Manager inside their Facebook Business account. In this case, the process is a bit more technical and you will probably need the help of a developer to start sending your message templates.

On the other hand, when working with an in an intermediary, you will be managing your account via the dashboard of your service provider. It’s needless to say features available will vary among providers.

For example, when working with Landbot, the client uses a customized WhatsApp Manager integrates into the no-code Landbot chatbot builder:

landbot-whatsapp-manager

The manager is designed to speed up and simplify the process.

For example, you can create a WhatsApp notification opt-in snippet and integrate it anywhere (website, email…) without coding.

whatsapp-business-manager-opt-in-snippetAll you need to do is come up with a name for the snippet and an appropriate CTA (snippet message). Next, all is left is to copy-paste the generated code and embed it where necessary.

landbot-whatsapp-business-manager-no-code-snippet

In the “CAMPAIGNS” section of the dashboard, you can manage your subscribers, apply filters and send customized templates to the more specific filtered audience (e.g. only send a venue change update to people attending a concert on a particular date).

Furthermore, to manage and respond to incoming inquiries, you simply need to access the chat section by clicking on the chat icon on the left side.

landbot-watsapp-campaign-manager


WhatsApp Template Message Pricing


It’s no secret that by allowing businesses to send notifications is the first time ever WhatsApp monetized its services.

In essence, WhatsApp Business API integration is free. You only pay when sending out proactive message temples. The word “proactive” is important here since even a message template can be free if it is in response to a query received less than 24-hours ago.

The price of template messages is influenced by two factors:

  • the volume of template messages delivered to a given country or region in a calendar month
  • country code of the message recipient

You can verify the costs on the official List Price Schedule featured in the Facebook for Developers documents.

wahtsapp-message-template-pricing

Naturally, there will be additional costs for business working with WhatsApp solution providers depending on the provider which usually work on a subscription basis.


WhatsApp Message Template Wrapup


So, this is our guide on how to create Whatsapp message templates! We sincerely hope most of the vagueness is gone and you have a much better idea of what needs to be done.

In case you are interested in applying for WhatsApp API solution with Landbot, click on the big fat button below to check your company status and get in touch with our sales team.

If not, keep your eyes peeled on our blog for more WhatsApp related content on marketing opportunities, lead generation strategies, click-to-WhatsApp ads as well as how to create WhatsApp bot!

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