Message Types

There are two messages types when using WhatsApp for business communications:

  • Company-initiated messages via pre-approved message templates.
  • User-initiated messages.

Both message types kick off the 24-hour support window.

Business-initiated messages via Message Templates

A business initiates a conversation with a pre-approved message template.

Message templates are pre-formatted, non-editable messages reviewed and approved by WhatsApp. They are also known as ‘Highly Structured Messages’ (HSMs).

Everyday use cases for message templates include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Order and shipping confirmations 
  • Delivery tracking information
  • Account updates 
  • And more. 

Companies can send Message Templates to users that have opted-in on WhatsApp. Please note that WhatsApp actively monitors when users block WhatsApp Business profiles.

ℹ️ Message templates are charged according to WhatsApp conversation-based pricing. When a company sends more than one message template during the 24-hour support window, it's charged only for one message.

User-initiated messages

User-initiated messages are universally known as 'session' or 'chat' messages. Once the user sends a message and the company replies, the conversation is active and the 24-hour support window opens. During that timeframe, the company can communicate with users with or without a message template.

Session messages are ideal to increase customer engagement, especially in customer service, clienteling, and other high interaction use cases. 

There may be cases, especially when you’re using WhatsApp for customer service, that you need more than 24 hours to process an inquiry or answer a question. When this happens, you might need to send a message template to re-engage the affected customer, prompting him/her to answer it, thereby activating the “support window” again:

We have updates regarding your ticket {{1}}. Please respond back if you’d like to continue support. I was able to do some follow-ups based on our previous conversation, and I’ve found the answer to your question about our refund policy. If you’d like to continue our conversation, please say ‘yes’

ℹ️ Since February 2022, WhatsApp charges a fee for user-initiated conversations. With tyntec, customer communication during the support window is included in our pricing packages.

In a nutshell:

Message Templates Session Messages
Who initiates Initiated by the business. Initiated by the end-user, or when the end-user replies to a company message.
WhatsApp approval The message is subject to specific content and formatting rules, and approval from WhatsApp. Business response to a user’s message is not subject to approval or content or formatting rules if sent within the 24-hour Customer Care Window.
Opt-in policy End-user must have opted-in to receive communications. Users do not have to have opted-in.
Fees WhatsApp charges a fee when a new conversation opens. The company sending a message template opens the 24-hour conversation. The company can send many message templates (and free-form messages) during that timeframe without extra charges. (see rates here) and tyntec. WhatsApp charges a fee when a new conversation opens. When the user sends a message to a business, and it replies, the 24-hour conversation opens. WhatsApp charges a small fee for this scenario. Included in tyntec’s packages.
Media messages Media message templates supported (images, PDFs, localizations, videos, audios, interactive buttons, etc.) by tyntec. Media supported (images, PDFs, localizations, videos, audios, interactive buttons, etc.)