WhatsApp is one of the most popular global messaging channels. With 2 billion active monthly users sending 100 million messages a day, it’s no surprise that businesses are choosing more and more to interact with their customers via WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Business has now become a big part of business-to-customer (B2C) communication with its fast and low-cost message exchange over the internet through connected smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, tablets, and even smartwatches. It allows businesses to create meaningful one-on-one conversations, with great customer journeys that lead to successful conversion.
The app has recently announced that it will make changes to its pricing model, starting from the first of February, 2022. Learn more about the details of the new WhatsApp Business pricing model and what this will mean for your business.
WhatsApp Business in a Nutshell
Before diving into pricing model changes, it's important to know how WhatsApp Business operates.
There are two types of messages allowed on WhatsApp Business: Session Messages initiated by your customers and Template Messages initiated by the business.
A messaging session starts when your customer sends a message to your business, allowing you to reply to messages within a 24-hour Customer Care Window. This window extends when customers keep interacting. Within the session, you can personalise and/or automate your customer service. Once the Session Messaging window closes, you will be able to send (WhatsApp pre-approved) Message Templates (such as notifications) to reach out to customers that present an active opt-in. This also means that you can initiate a conversation with those Message Templates.
This setup allows you to create a rich conversational experience that customers want. You are able to have a conversation when your customers want it, increasing your chances of conversions.
Pricing Model until First of February, 2022
Up until February 1st, the WhatsApp Business pricing model was based on the number of Message Templates sent outside of the above-mentioned 24-hour Customer Care Window. So, every time you sent a Templated Message (to initiate a conversation), WhatsApp was invoicing a fee for it.
This means that if your customer initiated messaging with you, WhatsApp did not charge for those messages (including Templated Messages) up to 24 hours following the last message that that customer sent to you. Any additional message you sent to that customer beyond the Customer Care Window had to be a Templated Message, for which you were charged.
But this is now changing to a conversation-based fee.
New Pricing Model
From February 1st, WhatsApp is introducing a new pricing model that is conversation-based. This means a fee will be charged per conversation, rather than per (Templated) message sent. The new fees depend on who initiates the conversation: the business or the customer.
So what exactly is considered a 'conversation' in the new pricing model? And how does it work?
24-Hour Conversation Fee
WhatsApp defines a conversation as a fixed 24-hour session that includes all messages delivered to your customer. You will be charged once per each 24-hour conversation, without additional charges for any additional messages from you or your customer.
The 24-hour conversation window begins when:
- You send a (Templated) message and the message is delivered to your customer, regardless of whether your customer replies or not. This is a "business-initiated" conversation.
- Your customer sends you a message that is delivered to you, and you reply with a message that is also delivered back to your customer. This is a "user-initiated" conversation.
Do you keep the conversation going after this 24-hour window session? Then a new 24-hour conversation window will be counted and charged. Consecutive conversations will be charged as user-initiated whenever the business is still sending messages within the rolling 24-hour customer service window. Once the customer service window closes, the business would need to use a template message to continue conversations with the customer and would be charged for a business-initiated conversation. Check here for extra examples.
Please note that the 24-hour conversation session only starts when a message is delivered. Non-delivered messages will not count as the start of a conversation and you will not be charged for them.
The cost of the 24-hour conversation varies by country or region. You can check WhatsApp's pricing overview to see what rates will be used for your business.
Benefits of the New Model
The new conversation-based pricing model even comes with some nice benefits!
Free Entry Point Conversations
With this new pricing model, WhatsApp also focuses on expanding the use cases of their other Meta products, such as Facebook and Instagram. If one of your customers initiates a WhatsApp conversation from a Facebook or Instagram ad that clicks to WhatsApp or a Facebook Page call-to-action button, then WhatsApp will not charge for that conversation.
First 1000 Conversations of Each Month Free of Charge
Yes, you read that correctly! WhatsApp will give you 1000 conversations free of charge, every month! This will give your business the opportunity to build experience with the messaging platform. Have the space to build experiences that your customers will find valuable before you begin to pay. Ready to expand? Then the new WhatsApp pricing will apply.
Impact for You
So what impact does the new pricing model have on your business besides the above-mentioned benefits?
Is your customer support set up to respond to incoming messages from your customers? Then you will be charged for customer-initiated conversation-based prices.
High-Volume Messages Within 24-Hour Conversation
Are you sending multiple (Templated) messages or notifications within the 24-hour conversation window? If so, I have some good news for you. You will only be charged once for starting the conversation, without additional costs for (extra) Message Templates.
Low-Volume Messages Outside 24-Hour Conversation
Are you sending (Templated) messages or notifications over multiple 24-hour periods? Then you will be charged per 24-hours, as WhatsApp will identify those 24-hour sessions as new conversations.
WhatsApp Business Pricing at CM.com
The new pricing model and the changes it brings apply to the fee invoiced by WhatsApp. CM.com will continue to invoice these fees on behalf of WhatsApp directly to you. Our Conversational Channel Pricing Bundles will not change. You have the choice between Monthly Active Users, Conversation or Message Bundle to provide the best experience to your customers.