Meta has recently announced changes to the conversation categories and pricing, set to take effect from June 1st, 2023. In this article, we will share what businesses need to know about the WhatsApp for Business API with AiChat, and how the new changes would impact your business.
WhatsApp’s Pricing: Navigate the New Terrain of Conversation Costs
July 20, 2023
July 20, 2023
Previously, WhatsApp Business Platform used conversation-based pricing to charge a business. There are two types of conversation that comes through the WhatsApp Business Platform; business-initiated and user-initiated.
In business-initiated conversations, the business starts the conversation using pre-approved message templates, while in user-initiated conversations, customers kickstart the conversation and businesses reply later. The pricing rates for messaging vary depending on whether it is a business-initiated or user-initiated conversation.
In the new pricing model, effective June 1st, 2023, business-initiated conversations will be based on the use case of the conversation. Business-initiated conversations now have three categories which are utility, authentication, and marketing conversations. Each of these categories will have its own set of rates. Meanwhile, the old user-initiated conversation is renamed to service conversations. Below is how each category is explained:
- Authentication: To authenticate users with one-time passcodes at multiple steps during the login process, such as account registration, account recovery, and integrity challenges.
- Marketing: Any business-initiated template that does not qualify as utility or authentication. Can include promotions, offers, informational updates, or invitations for customers to respond or take a certain action.
- Utility: Confirm or suspend an existing transaction, change or update a transaction, account, billing, or payment notification
- Service Conversations: Any user-initiated conversation, such as to resolve a customer enquiry
The conversation category is determined by the message template used, and followed by the conversation fee charged. When communicating with customers on WhatsApp, it is likely that your business may switch between different conversation categories. Each switch opens a new 24-hour conversation window, where new conversation fees will apply.
Here’s an example of how it might look:
- A customer contacted you through WhatsApp asking about product availability and you replied. This reply is by a freeform message, initiated through a service conversation.
- A few hours later, which is still within the 24 hour conversation window, you sent a promotional message about your in-store sale. This promotional message is using a marketing message template.
- As a result, a separate marketing conversation is initiated, and also a new conversation window.
- Therefore, both service and marketing conversation fees would apply.
WhatsApp pricing changes to reflect the different value each of these experiences drives for businesses and people. Rates for business-initiated vary by country or region according to each conversation category.
Please refer to the a detailed breakdown latest rates for each conversation category across different countries and regions from WhatsApp.
Starting from March 1st, 2023, conversations initiated through a free entry point like WhatsApp or Facebook Click-to-Message (CTM) ads will have an extended free period of 72 hours instead of 24 hours. This means that if a customer begins a conversation from a Facebook or WhatsApp CTM ads, Meta offers more free conversations for users who initiate conversations through these entry points.
However, there’s a limitation during the open conversation from a free entry point; it is not possible to open any other conversation category, even if the business sends a template message within the three-day (72-hour) free entry point conversation window.
Additionally, there will be a change in the entitlement of free monthly conversations for WhatsApp business accounts (WABA). Previously, all accounts enjoy 1,000 free conversations per month, which can include both business-initiated and user-initiated conversations. For example, you could have 300 business-initiated and 700 user-initiated conversations.
Now, starting from June 1st, 2023, Meta has updated thatnly service conversations will be eligible for the 1,000 free monthly conversations. Business-initiated conversations will be charged from the 1st message to customers.
In summary, below is the breakdown of the previous and current pricing model.
How does this impact my business use case?
This pricing change can impact your business use case depending on your messaging patterns. Below are some examples of how this can impact your business:
- Frequent notifications for multiple use cases: If you are sending multiple messages within a 24-hour period for different use cases, eg. Authentication and Marketing to the same recipient, you will now incur a separate charge from WhatsApp for starting a conversation for each use case.
- Business-initiated conversations only: These conversations will no longer count towards the free 1,000 conversations per month.
- Customer support: If you are responding to incoming user-initiated (i.e., service conversations) messages with a non-templated message, more of these conversations will fall into the free 1,000 conversations per month.
WhatsApp is increasingly being used as a communication and customer service tool for businesses. Its potential as an effective marketing tool has amplified its relevance in the field. If you’re still wondering how to deliver a marketing campaign or initiative through WhatsApp, get in touch with us today. We’ll help you navigate what WhatsApp for Business has to offer and take your business communications to the next level.
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