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Sep 11, 2023
5 minutes read

What is a WhatsApp Opt-in and why do businesses need it?

WhatsApp has a number of policies in place to help them improve the overall customer experience and build a more positive relationship between consumers and online businesses. One such policy specifies that, before sending any messages to your customer through WhatsApp Business, companies must first receive consent to do so.

This process, known as an opt-in, is designed to ensure that users have control over the messages they receive on WhatsApp and prevent businesses from sending unsolicited messages or spam. Users must always be able to opt-out or unsubscribe from receiving messages from a business at any time, should they no longer wish to receive communications.

What Is the WhatsApp Opt-in Policy?

Before we get into the details, it’s worth noting that WhatsApp's policies and guidelines can and almost certainly will evolve over time, so it's always a good idea to refer to the official WhatsApp Business documentation or contact WhatsApp directly for the latest information regarding opt-in requirements.

A WhatsApp Opt-in is a permission request that a business sends to a consumer to be able to send them (promotional) messages via WhatsApp. As we'll see shortly, there are several third-party channels through which businesses can obtain customers’ consent. However, it's important to note that before doing so, the following requirements must be met:

  • The business has to state clearly that a person choosing to opt-in will receive messages from them through WhatsApp

  • The name of the business that a person is opting in to receive messages from must be clearly stated

  • Businesses must be prepared to comply with applicable law in all cases when required to do so

Simply put, you must get a clear opt-in, but where you get this opt-in is essentially up to you, provided that the above points are sufficiently observed.

Do you want to start testing and developing your WhatsApp Business solution and flow without waiting for your WhatsApp Business Account to be approved? This is now possible with our WhatsApp sandbox testing environment.

Which Channels Can I Use To Get WhatsApp Business Opt-ins?

This is where businesses can start to get creative. Below is a list of just some of the many channels that you can make use of to obtain active opt-ins from your customers:

  • The company's website, where the customer is directed through a pop-up ad or through direct access

  • An opt-in email or SMS, where companies ask current subscribers through an opt-in message if they would like to receive messages via WhatsApp

  • A mobile landing page alongside your SMS campaigns, where customers give their consent by providing their phone number on the landing page and clicking a checkbox

  • QR codes on packaging, posters, or physical product catalogues that put customers through to a chat

  • A WhatsApp thread where companies can ask customers to opt-in during an active conversation

  • In-person, where the customer opts in by signing a document in the company's physical store or during delivery.

  • Via the use of social media ads where users can swipe up or click on a story and be sent to WhatsApp directly

Are there any requirements for gaining consent through third-party requirements?

To make designing your company’s opt-in process a bit clearer, below are the Third-Party Requirements as stated by WhatsApp itself.

  • The opt-in must have a visual element (check box or similar) next to the WhatsApp name + logo.

  • The user should be able to enter or edit the phone number used for opt-in, meaning he has control over what number is used.

  • Also, it must be explained clearly what information will be received and that this will be shared via WhatsApp.

A customer sending a message to a company does not, in and of itself, provide the latter with an opt-in. If a customer sends you a message, you may send them replies for the duration of the 24-hour customer care window. However, a prior opt-in is required to send business-initiated messages to customers outside of the window.

whatsapp optin

Best Practices For Obtaining WhatsApp Opt-ins

As mentioned previously, WhatsApp already has several features in place which ensure compliance with privacy regulations and generally build a more positive relationship between customers and online businesses. However, it’s always important to think about the customer experience you are offering users and the best practices that should always be observed. Here are some of the points that you ought to have in mind when it comes to obtaining opt-ins for WhatsApp Business:

Keep things relevant

Businesses should clearly communicate the value and benefits users can expect when they opt-in to receive messages from your business. You can offer them exclusive content, promotions, access to customer support, reservation updates, policy updates, appointment reminders, and anything else you believe will be relevant to them.

Avoid spamming customers

WhatsApp Messaging Limits already define the maximum number of unprompted messages that a particular phone number can initiate in a period of 24 hours. However, if customers feel that your messages are repetitive or annoying, they can still report you for spam or choose to opt-out from receiving messages.

Keep on top of your quality rating

The quality rating of your message templates is calculated through usage, customer feedback, and user signals. WhatsApp can temporarily block message templates that have been given a poor rating by customers, which can ultimately have a negative impact on your marketing operations. To stop this from happening, make sure your message templates are of the highest possible quality and relevance to your customers.

Transparency is key

Clearly communicate to users how their data will be used and protected. You should explain the types of messages that will be sent, how often they can expect to receive them, and reassure customers that their data will be handled safely and responsibly. Businesses should also include clear instructions on how users can control their preferences or can opt out of receiving messages at any given time. This kind of transparency allows for increased trust and confidence in your business on the part of the customer.

Get Started With the WhatsApp Business Platform

Here at CM.com, we make it easy and straightforward for brands to get started with using WhatsApp Business Platform to help drive their marketing operations. As the world's leading messaging channel, WhatsApp offers a wide range of features and a global reach; making it an invaluable addition to any communication strategy.

Keen to get started? Get in touch with us today to learn more about how CM.com can help you transform a simple WhatsApp message into a rich channel of communication between you and your customers.

Want to learn more about the possibilities of WhatsApp Business Platform?

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Christel Brouwers
Copywriter at CM.com. Passionate about language and getting CM.com’s message out there. Shares content about CPaaS, Payments and more.

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