How To Article

WhatsApp Broadcast: How to Broadcast WhatsApp Messages [November 2022]

Román Filgueira García
Content Writer, Respond.io
November 25, 2022

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 WhatsApp Business App or WhatsApp API, you’ll learn how to use WhatsApp Broadcast to bulk message your audience.

WhatsApp Broadcast: Micro-Small Businesses

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.

WhatsApp Business App for Micro-Ssmall Businesses
WhatsApp Business App is popular among micro-small businesses

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 example, it’s not possible to import contact lists. Instead, phone numbers must be manually added one by one. But there’s more.

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.

This image shows the broadcast limit in WhatsApp Business App. The app doesn't allow importing broadcast lists and it's possible that WhatsApp broadcasts not delivered if contacts haven't added your number.
Broadcast list on WhatsApp Business App

Make sure all the contacts in the WhatsApp Broadcast list have saved your number in their address book. There is no limit to the number of Broadcast lists you can create. You can select up to 256 contacts per Broadcast list.

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 two 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 classify contacts and messages. This way, users can broadcast to a specific audience, such as returning customers.

This image shows the features of WhatsApp Broadcast for Business App: It's free. only for one phone and one device and has built-in broadcasting functionality.
Broadcasting on WhatsApp Business App: Features

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:

  1. Go to WhatsApp > More options > New broadcast.
  2. Search for or select the contacts you want to add.
  3. Tap the check mark. This will create a new broadcast list.

For SMEs and enterprises, a limit of 256 unique broadcasts is not convenient. Plus, not being able to import contact lists is definitely an issue. Due to their size, these companies also need a solution for multiple users.

WhatsApp Broadcast API: SMEs & Enterprises

The best solution for SMEs and enterprises is WhatsApp API. To broadcast messages with WhatsApp API, businesses only need two things: A messaging inbox and a WhatsApp API account.

This image shows the things you need to broadcast messages on WhatsApp API: A WhatsApp API account and a business messaging software.
We recommend using 360dialog WhatsApp API and respond.io as a messaging inbox

If you don't have a WhatsApp API account yet, you’ll have to choose between WhatsApp Cloud API and WhatsApp Business API. Both have their pros and cons, so make sure you understand the main differences between them.

WhatsApp Broadcast API comes with important benefits that you won’t experience in the WhatsApp Business App:

  • It supports Multiple users
  • Contacts don’t have to add you to their contact list to receive a broadcast
  • You’ll be able to message a much larger WhatsApp broadcast list
  • It allows contact import
This image shows a WhatsApp Broadcast decision tree. Knowing which WhatsApp product to use is important before learning how to broadcast message on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp API broadcasts come with multiple benefits for SMEs and enterprises

If you want an omnichannel messaging inbox that is feature-rich, try respond.io for free. Next, we’ll go through the process of broadcasting with 360dialog WhatsApp API and respond.io as a messaging inbox.

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.

How to Import a Contact List to respond.io
Importing a WhatsApp broadcast Contact list to respond.io

To import a Contact list, open the Contacts Module and follow these steps:

  1. Go to Add Contact and click on the 🔽 button.
  2. Select Import Contacts.
  3. Download the sample CSV file if you don’t have it yet.
  4. Fill the file with Contact data.
  5. 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

WhatsApp must approve all Message Templates before use. 360dialog and Vonage users can create and submit Message Templates directly from respond.io. But Twilio users need to create them in the Twilio Console and add the templates manually to respond.io.

You can view the status of your Message Templates on respond.io. Just make sure to click on the Sync button to update the data.

Submitting Message Templates from respond.io
Users can view, submit and sync their Message Templates

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.

This image shows the types of message templates you can use for WhatsApp Business Broadcast
Users can add interactive buttons and media files to Message Templates

Users who broadcast in WhatsApp with 360dialog 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.

Using variables to broadcast message on WhatsApp
Using variables in the message template body to send customized templates

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 select Add Broadcast. Then name your broadcast, and choose the channel and WhatsApp broadcast list. There you will find several options.

This image shows how to broadcast message in WhatsApp with respond.io
Selecting Broadcast Channel, Name, and Target Audience in the Broadcast Module

Choose between the following criteria: Contacts with ALL of these tags, Contacts with ANY of these tags, and ALL Contacts in this channel. After choosing the criteria, you can select the specific Tags to target.

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.

This image shows how to test bulk messages with respond.io
Scheduling and testing a Broadcast in the Broadcast Module

Next, select the relevant Message Template and fill in the details. 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: When messaging a large WhatsApp broadcast list, Not all messages will arrive at the exact same time. Broadcasts are delivered according to country codes in sequence, with lower numbers going first.

This image shows the respond.io features to send WhatsApp API broadcast message
Three WhatsApp broadcast features you will find on respond.io

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’s goal is 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.

WhatsApp API users should be familiar with the WhatsApp API messaging rules, as well as with the following terms: Messaging Tiers, phone number Quality Rating, and phone number Status. We’ll break them down for you in the sections below.

WhatsApp Broadcast API Messaging Rules

It allows contact import allows non-transactional notifications, such as relevant offers or informational alerts. But as mentioned earlier, businesses must use pre-approved Message Templates.

This image shows two WhatsApp Broadcast rules to keep in mind when using WhatsApp broadcast API and respond.io
WhatsApp Business API only allows some types of messages

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.

WhatsApp Broadcast Limit: Messaging Tiers

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 Messaging Tier.

A WhatsApp API account’s Messaging Tier determines the number of Contacts an account can message. The higher the Tier, the more messages a User can send to unique Contacts in a rolling 24h period.

This image shows the WhatsApp Broadcast Limit for WhatsApp API broadcast
How messaging limits work in WhatsApp API

To broadcast to a larger audience, a WhatsApp account has to be promoted to a higher Messaging Tier. And to achieve that, businesses must send twice the number of messages permitted in the current tier within a 7-day period.

When attempting to raise your broadcast tier, tag your contacts ahead of time. This way, you’ll have the exact number of contacts that you need to get to the next tier.

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.

This image shows how Flagged and Restricted WhatsApp Accounts work when doing broadcast lists on WhatsApp
Beware of the Flagged and Restricted status before sending WhatsApp broadcasts

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.

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know to broadcast on WhatsApp. To segment customers, and schedule and test WhatsApp broadcasts, get 360dialog WhatsApp API here at a very competitive price.

If you already have a WhatsApp API account, connect it 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.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about WhatsApp API, check out the following articles:

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