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Nov 24, 2020
3 minutes read

Reach Out to Customers via WhatsApp Business with Message Templates

There are several ways to use the WhatsApp Business solution in communication with your customers. One way is via the customer care window, in which case the conversation is initiated by the customer. If you want to reach out to your customer first – once you have received an opt-in from them to do so - you can make use of the so-called Message Templates.

To understand the purpose of Message Templates, we first need to distinguish the two types of WhatsApp Business API messages. And for this, we need to understand what the Customer Care Window is. This window is a 24-hour time frame that starts the moment your customer reached out to your business via WhatsApp. In these 24-hours, your business can send both Session Messages and Message Templates.

  • Session Messages

Custom messages, typed in reaction to messages, in the familiar chat functionality of WhatsApp. Can be sent only within the 24H Customer Care Window.

  • Message Templates

Pre-approved messages that can be sent both in and outside the 24H Customer Care Window. These messages can be used to send notifications with an active opt-in in your conversation. Approval of Message Templates is done by WhatsApp and You can enter your own Templates for approval or use the existing Message Templates your WhatsApp Business solution provider ( offers.

If you wish to communicate with your customer outside this 24-hour Customer Care Window, meaning you want to initiate a conversation with a notification (after you have received opt-in from the customer), you may only send Message Templates. This is to prevent customers being spammed by companies, and to maintain the high value of WhatsApp as a channel for customers to interact with businesses. This is the reason Message Templates need to be pre-approved.

What does a Message Template look like?

A Message Template may consist of text, emoji or WhatsApp-specific formatting. A Message Template can consist of a maximum of 1024 characters. To personalize the message, you can use the numbered placeholders {x}. Each of those placeholders can be filled with letters, digits, special characters and spaces. This is best explained with an example.  

Hello {1}, thanks for your order! We will let you know when your order is ready to be shipped. You can track your order with number {2} here {3}. Enjoy your day!

As the WhatsApp Business solution is intended as a channel to send useful information and provide customer support, sending advertising, marketing and promotional messages are prohibited, resulting in disapproval of Message Templates with such character. For further information on the commerce policy, please click here.

How to register new Message Templates

To register your own Message Templates, you need to provide a template name and template tag.

  • Template name: You need a unique name to identify the template’s use case for you business. All in lower case and without spaces. Underscore is allowed. Example: order_confirmation.
  • Template tag: Select the type of message from a predefined set.

Want to start using the WhatsApp Business API to improve your customer care? Visit our WhatsApp product page.

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