If your customers are WhatsApp users, you should know how WhatsApp Broadcast works. In this article, you’ll learn how to create a WhatsApp broadcast list and how to send a broadcast message on WhatsApp. Whether you are using the WhatsApp Business App or WhatsApp API — also known as the WhatsApp Business Platform — you’ll learn how to use WhatsApp Broadcast to bulk message your audience. Plus, we’ll discuss how to raise your WhatsApp account’s messaging limit to broadcast to a larger audience.
WhatsApp Broadcast: Micro-Small Businesses
A WhatsApp broadcast allows businesses to send a single message to multiple recipients simultaneously. So how does WhatsApp Broadcast work? If you are a micro or small business, the WhatsApp Business App has the tools you need to send bulk messages to a limited list of contacts.
Micro and small businesses have a small number of customers per month, so they don’t handle a large volume of messages. For this reason, broadcasting with WhatsApp Business App is a good choice for them.
WhatsApp Broadcast Limit in the WhatsApp Business App
Broadcasting with WhatsApp Business App has several limitations. For starters, it’s not possible to import contact lists. Instead, phone numbers must be manually added one by one. But there’s more.
Contacts Must Save the Sender’s Number
WhatsApp broadcasts are not always guaranteed to reach their recipients. The WhatsApp Business Policy prohibits businesses from spamming, so contacts must save the sender’s number on their phones to receive broadcasts. Make sure all the contacts in the WhatsApp Broadcast list have saved your number in their address book.
Limited Number of Contacts per Broadcast List
While there is no limit to the number of Broadcast lists you can create, you can only select up to 256 contacts per Broadcast list. As your business scales, you will need an easy way to reach more than 256 people at once without creating multiple broadcast lists.
Lack of Broadcast Analytics
Plus, WhatsApp Business App doesn’t offer any analytics tools to measure the performance of WhatsApp broadcasts. You will not have insights into broadcast message delivery and other important metrics.
How to Send a WhatsApp Broadcast with the WhatsApp Business App
Broadcasting with WhatsApp Business App is free. This means you can send as many broadcasts as permitted without any costs. But keep in mind that contacts can block or report your number if they feel you are spamming them.
You can use WhatsApp Business App on a maximum of 5 devices at the same time. However, only one of those devices can be a phone.
To send a broadcast with WhatsApp Business App, select your recipients manually or using labels. Labels are tags that help users categorize contacts and messages. This way, users can broadcast to a specific audience, such as returning customers.
Simply create multiple labels and add them to contacts over time. Keeping contacts updated with the right labels will make broadcasting less time-consuming. Alternatively, you can tag the contacts one by one for every new broadcast you send.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a broadcast list on WhatsApp:
- Go to WhatsApp > More options > New broadcast.
- Search for or select the contacts you want to add.
- Tap the check mark. This will create a new broadcast list.
To summarize, here’s how broadcasting works on WhatsApp Business App:
- You can add up to 256 contacts to a WhatsApp Broadcast list
- The recipients must save your number on their phones to receive broadcasts
- On the recipient's end, the broadcast message would appear as a regular chat. That said, business accounts can see a loudspeaker icon next to a broadcasted message
- No one in your broadcast list can see another person’s reply or contact details
Due to its broadcasting limitations, WhatsApp Business App may not be the right broadcasting solution for everyone. Read on to find out if WhatsApp Business App is the right broadcasting solution for your company.
WhatsApp Broadcast: Should Your Business Solely Rely on WhatsApp Business App
It depends on your business size and needs.
Let’s consider a scenario: you are a small business owner with fewer than 200 customers. Most of them know you personally and have your WhatsApp Business number saved on their phones. In this case, the broadcast feature WhatsApp Business App would suffice.
However, if you are an SME and enterprise with a high number of customers, a limit of 256 unique broadcasts per list would not be convenient for you. Plus, not being able to import contact lists is definitely an issue. Due to the high number of contacts, you would also need an advanced WhatsApp solution for multiple users.
WhatsApp Broadcast API: SMEs & Enterprises
The best solution for SMEs and enterprises is WhatsApp API. Whatsapp API is designed for medium to large companies, and it comes with advanced multiuser capability. Unlike WhatsApp Business App, WhatsApp Api has no app or front-end interface.
To effectively utilize the WhatsApp API for message broadcasting, businesses must have two essential components in place: a WhatsApp API account and a reliable customer conversation software for seamless message exchange.
As a badged Meta Business Partner, respond.io has been vetted for its expertise in handling Meta products. This endorsement makes it a highly recommended choice as a customer conversation software platform.
How to Apply for WhatsApp API through respond.io
Businesses looking to set up a WhatsApp API account can now do it with ease, thanks to respond.io's status as an official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP).
Creating an API account via respond.io is hassle-free and only involves 3 simple steps:
- Buy a phone number, or port an existing number
- Sign up for a respond.io account
- Complete the application through respond.io
You don’t have to pay set-up and hosting fees, or have a Facebook Developer Account to get started. Furthermore, the platform allows you to manage all your WhatsApp accounts and fees with ease from one place.
Advantages of Sending WhatsApp Broadcasts with WhatsApp API connected to respond.io
Once you’ve set up your respond.io WhatsApp Business API account, you can take advantage of the many benefits of using WhatsApp API for broadcasts, such as:
- Its multiuser support allows multiple people to access the broadcast module, if needed
- Contacts don’t have to add you to their contact list to receive a broadcast
- You’ll be able to broadcast to a much larger WhatsApp group of contacts at a time
- You can import contacts and send them broadcasts
- You’ll be able to schedule WhatsApp broadcasts for a specific date and time
- You can set up auto replies to handle a high volume of responses to broadcasts
- You can send targeted WhatsApp broadcast to a specific group of people
Now that you know what you need to get WhatsApp API, we’ll go through the steps to set up your broadcast on respond.io.
How to Set Up WhatsApp Broadcasts on respond.io
Setting up WhatsApp broadcasts on respond.io is simple. Here’s how:
Step 1: Import a Contact List
With respond.io, users can upload a contact list using a CSV file. They also can assign Tags to contacts in the CSV file to categorize them. Later on, these Tags will appear on the platform once the Contact list is uploaded. Make sure the phone numbers are in the international format, with a country code and area code.
- Go to Add Contact and click on the 🔽 button.
- Select Import Contacts.
- Download the sample CSV file if you don’t have it yet.
- Fill the file with Contact data.
- Drop the file or click on Browse Files to upload it.
When the import is complete, you’ll receive an email with the results. You can choose to download them if you wish. Once your WhatsApp broadcast list is ready, it’s time to create a Message Template.
Step 2: Create a Message Template
To initiate a conversation with a WhatsApp Message Template, your message has to fall within one of three conversation categories: Utility, Authentication or Marketing conversations.
All Message Templates must be approved by WhatsApp before they can be used. You can create and submit Message Templates for approval directly from respond.io.
You can also view the status of your Message Templates on respond.io. Just make sure to click on the Sync Templates button to update the data.
A Message Template’s status can be Submitted, Approved, or Rejected, with reasons provided for the last. In case of Message Template rejection, Users can edit and re-submit them for approval.
Using High-Quality Message Templates matters. Being blocked by Contacts affects a Template’s Quality Rating, which can drop to a Medium or even a Low-Quality Rating.
Low-Quality Message Templates will get a Flagged status. If their Quality Rating doesn’t improve in 7 days, the status will change to Disabled. Under this status, Users can’t send or edit Message Templates.
Users who broadcast respond.io WhatsApp Business API can create Media and Interactive Message Templates. What’s more, they can create a Message Template that combines both message types.
Interactive Message Templates include Call To Action or Quick Reply buttons. On the other hand, Media Message Templates let Users add a customizable header. This header can be a text, an image, a video, or a PDF file.
But the customization possibilities don’t end there. When writing the message body, Users can customize the placeholders with variables. This results in a more personalized experience for your WhatsApp broadcast list.
Once your Message Template is composed and approved, you can broadcast it using the respond.io Broadcast Module.
Step 3: Broadcast WhatsApp Messages with WhatsApp API
To start a WhatsApp API broadcast, click on the Broadcast Module and click on the Add Broadcast button at the top. Then name your broadcast and click Create. You also have the option to label (categorize) it for easier referencing in the future.
By default, a broadcast’s audience is set to All. If you’d like to limit your broadcast to a specific group of people, select a Segment from the drop-down list. Segments can be edited or created in the Contacts module.
Select the Specific Channel option. In the channel drop-down list, select the WhatsApp API channel you’d like to use to send the broadcast message.
Below, you’ll find a checkbox that you shouldn't ignore: Only send to contacts who interacted with this channel before. Selecting this will ensure that you comply with Whatsapp's opt-in policy.
Next, select the relevant Message Template and fill in the details or your broadcast content. Once the WhatsApp broadcast is ready, schedule it for a specific date and time or test it by sending it to yourself or a Contact of your choice.
Something to remember: Not all messages will arrive at the exact same time when messaging a large WhatsApp broadcast list. Broadcasts are delivered according to country codes in sequence, with lower numbers going first.
Now the question is, how does WhatsApp guarantee that API users are utilizing the broadcast tool as intended? We’ll go into that in the next section.
WhatsApp Broadcast API: What You Need to Know
WhatsApp aims to ensure businesses do not spam their contacts and send only relevant messages. So, to broadcast with WhatsApp API, businesses must follow WhatsApp’s regulations.
When sending broadcasts, WhatsApp API users should be familiar with the following:
- WhatsApp Broadcast API Messaging Rules
- WhatsApp Message Template Category Guidelines
- WhatsApp Broadcast API Messaging Limits
- WhatsApp Phone Number Status and Number Quality Rating
We’ll break them down for you in the sections below.
WhatsApp Broadcast API Messaging Rules
WhatsApp Broadcast allows for non-transactional notifications, such as marketing announcements or account authentication. But as mentioned earlier, businesses must use pre-approved Message Templates.
Businesses must also abide by WhatsApp Business and Commerce Policies to broadcast on WhatsApp. Failure to do so may result in bans on business-initiated messages and responses to customer-initiated messages.
Similarly, strict adherence to WhatsApp’s Message Template Category guidelines is crucial to avoid penalties.
WhatsApp Message Template Category Guidelines
WhatsApp’s template category guidelines aim to provide businesses with a clearer framework for creating and using message templates, aligning communication with specific business objectives and customer needs.
WhatsApp Utility Templates Guidelines
WhatsApp is broadening the scope of utility templates to include managing user-requested opt-ins, order management, account alerts and updates, feedback surveys and continuing conversations initiated in other channels.
Notably, messages in these categories should not have the intent to upsell or cross-sell new products or services.
WhatsApp Authentication Templates Guidelines
Authentication templates empower businesses to verify users using one-time passcodes, typically 4-8 digit alphanumeric codes. These codes are utilized at various stages within the login process, such as account verification, account recovery, and integrity challenges.
WhatsApp Marketing Template Guidelines
Marketing templates are designed for various purposes, including awareness generation, sales promotions, retargeting, app promotion and building customer relationships.
These templates cater to various business goals, from increasing awareness to driving sales. Templates with mixed or unclear content are categorized as Marketing.
WhatsApp Broadcast: Messaging Limits
If you are a WhatsApp API user, perhaps you have the following question: How many contacts can be added to a WhatsApp broadcast list? This will depend on your WhatsApp account’s messaging limit.
A WhatsApp API account’s messaging limit determines the number of Contacts an account can message. The higher the limit, the more messages a User can send to unique Contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.
To broadcast to a larger audience, a WhatsApp account has to be promoted to a higher messaging lier. And to achieve that, businesses must send half the number of messages permitted in the current tier within a 7-day period.
When attempting to raise your broadcast messaging limit, segment your contacts ahead of time to know how many are in your broadcast list. This way, you can make sure you message the exact number of contacts that you need to reach the next messaging limit.
WhatsApp Broadcast Limit: Number Status and Number Quality Rating
Phone number status and phone number quality rating are two metrics used by WhatsApp to determine if a business is sending relevant, high-quality messages. They work in conjunction, as we’ll discuss next.
A phone number status can be Connected, Restricted, or Flagged. In order to send broadcasts without restrictions, a phone number’s status must be Connected. But what does it mean to get the Restricted status?
When Contacts report or block a number, this will result in a low quality rating. The restricted status occurs when a phone number sends too many low-quality message templates while reaching the Messaging Limit.
While Restricted, a phone number will not be able to send broadcasts to any new unique Contacts, and can only respond to inbound conversations. If the quality rating drops too low, the phone number’s status will be changed to Flagged.
Businesses cannot upgrade messaging limit tiers while in the Flagged status. If the phone quality rating doesn’t improve in 7 days or fewer, the phone number status will return to Connected but it will be in a lower Messaging Tier.
To improve your number quality rating and reinstate your status as Connected, you’ll have to improve the quality of your broadcast or message templates.
Unlocking the Power of WhatsApp Broadcasts with respond.io
In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know to broadcast on WhatsApp. To segment customers easily, send WhatsApp broadcasts at scale and unlock features like advanced chat automation and analytics, get the respond.io WhatsApp Business API.
If you already have a WhatsApp API account, connect your API to respond.io to start sending WhatsApp broadcasts. We are constantly updating our platform with new features to make communication with your customers easy and effective.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about WhatsApp API, check out the following articles: