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WhatsApp Message templates explained

WhatsApp Message Templates are standard, reusable messages that companies can use to contact their customers. They are semi-automated conversation starters – where most of the message is pre-written and you just have to add a few details for that personal touch.

What are message templates?

It’s important to note that WhatsApp message templates must be approved by and registered with WhatsApp before you can use them.

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

Template name: you need a unique name to identify the template’s use case for your business. All in lowercase and without spaces. Underscore is allowed. Example: order_confirmation.

Template tag: Select the type of message from a predefined set.

Template message with parameters: This is the actual notification, which should contain at least one parameter as placeholder, noted as {1}, {2}, etc.


Types of template messages

There are three types of message templates you can use: text, media, and button templates.

Text templates are just that: a text message with simple information. They are perfect for short updates like confirming an appointment.

Media templates allow you to attach PDFs, short videos, and/or images to your message. This type of template can be useful when sending product information, invoices, receipts, tickets, and more.

Button templates allow you to add a button to your message. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons prompt customers to do something outside of the conversation. A CTA button can be a link (‘Visit our website’) to convert WhatsApp users to website visitors. Or it can be a click-to-call button (‘Call us now’) that opens a phone call with a customer service agent.


What does it mean to opt-in?

In order to proactively send template messages to your customers, you must first have explicit permission in the form of an ‘opt-in’. This means that the customer is actively giving you permission to contact them. What’s important here is to be explicit about the type of content they will receive. You can do this in one of two ways:

1) You can provide an input box where the customer can type in their phone number with an opt-in button. You can do this on any page of your website as a static feature or a popup. In the example below, you’ll see that customers are giving explicit permission to receive account updates and reminders.

WhatsApp active opt-in

2) You can provide a box that the customer can check to receive notifications from your company. You can do this on a purchase page like below:

WhatsApp opt-in checkbox


What is the customer care window?

When a customer sends you a message directly, whether they are initiating a conversation or responding to a message template, a 24-hour customer care window opens. This means that for the 24 hours that follow the customer’s initial response, you can send messages back and forth with them at no cost.

Once the 24-hour customer care window is closed, you can no longer send messages freely to your customer. To reinitiate a conversation, you will need to send a new template message at cost.

Want to learn more about WhatsApp Business and how it can benefit your company? Download our WhatsApp Business Ebook today.

WhatsApp Business guide