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WhatsApp Broadcast: How To Send A Broadcast in WhatsApp [January 2022]

Román Filgueira García
Content Writer, Respond.io
January 26, 2022

What is broadcast in WhatsApp? If you’re a business looking to bulk message your contacts, you should know how WhatsApp Broadcast works. We’ll answer common questions such as how to create a WhatsApp broadcast list and how to send a broadcast message on WhatsApp. This article will show you how to use WhatsApp Broadcast, whether you are using WhatsApp Business App or WhatsApp API.

WhatsApp Broadcast: Micro-Small Businesses

How does WhatsApp Broadcast work? With WhatsApp Business App Broadcasts, you can send messages en masse to a list of contacts from WhatsApp Business App.

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

Micro-small businesses have a small number of customers, 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 List Limit in 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 to the contact list.

There is also the WhatsApp Business Broadcast limit to consider. For WhatsApp Business App, the limit is 256 contacts per broadcast. Users can send unlimited broadcasts but will have to replicate a broadcast with a new contact list once the contact limit is reached.

Broadcast limit in WhatsApp
Broadcasting with WhatsApp Business App comes with two important limitations

Additionally, broadcasts are not always guaranteed to reach their recipients. WhatsApp Business Policy prohibits businesses from spamming, so contacts must save the sender’s number on their phones. Otherwise, they won't receive a business' broadcasts.

Sending a Broadcast in 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.

Features of WhatsApp Broadcast for Business App
A very accessible broadcasting tool for micro-small businesses

Simply create multiple labels and add them to contacts over time. Keeping contacts updated with the right labels will make broadcasting less time-consuming. You can do it manually too. Simply select the contacts one by one for every new broadcast you send.

WhatsApp Business App has built-in broadcasting functionality. This means you only need to install the app to send broadcasts to your WhatsApp contacts. While this sounds appealing, the multiple limitations make it a poor choice for bigger companies.

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 to enable access to their official WhatsApp account for multiple users.

WhatsApp Broadcast API: SMEs & Enterprises

The best solution for SMEs and enterprises is WhatsApp API. To broadcast messages with WhatsApp API, users only need two things: A business messaging software like respond.io and a WhatsApp API account from a WhatsApp Partner.

Things you need to broadcast messages on WhatsApp API
We recommend using 360dialog WhatsApp API with the respond.io inbox

WhatsApp Broadcast API comes with important benefits:

  • Multiple users
  • Contacts don’t have to add you to their Contact list to receive a broadcast
  • Send messages to a much larger number of contacts
  • Import contact lists, use interactive message templates, and schedule and send broadcasts
WhatsApp Broadcast decision tree
With a small fee, WhatsApp API broadcasts come with multiple benefits

Businesses can also send non-transactional notifications, such as relevant offers or informational alerts. To send a WhatsApp API broadcast, businesses must use a pre-approved template with placeholders called Message Template.

In fact, businesses must also abide by WhatsApp Business and Commerce Policies to broadcast in WhatsApp. Failure to do so may result in bans to business-initiated messages and responses to customer-initiated messages.

WhatsApp Broadcast rules
WhatsApp Business API only allows some types of messages

Next, we’ll go through the whole process of broadcasting with respond.io using 360dialog WhatsApp API.

Import 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 too, 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 Contact list to respond.io

Here’s how to import a Contact list to respond.io:

  1. From the Contacts Module, 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 broadcast list is ready, create a Message Template.

Building 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.

WhatsApp Business Broadcast Templates
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 body content 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 broadcast recipients.

Once your Message Template is composed and approved, you can broadcast it using the respond.io Broadcast Module.

Sending a Broadcast in WhatsApp API

To start a WhatsApp API broadcast, click on the Broadcast Module and Add Broadcast. Then name your broadcast, and select channel and audience. There you will find several options.

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.

Messaging an audience with respond.io
Selecting Broadcast Channel, Name, and Target Audience in the Broadcast Module

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. Once the broadcast is ready, you can choose to schedule it for a specific date and time or test it by sending it to yourself or a Contact of your choice.

Scheduling and testing messages
Scheduling and testing a Broadcast in the Broadcast Module

Something to remember when broadcasting to a large audience: Not all messages are delivered at the same time if the number of recipients is really large. Broadcasts are delivered according to country codes in sequence, with lower numbers going first.

WhatsApp API broadcast message with respond.io
Three 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

Broadcasting with WhatsApp API comes with some limitations too. WhatsApp’s goal is to ensure businesses do not spam their Contacts and they send only high-quality and relevant messages.

WhatsApp API users should be familiar with these three terms: Messaging Tiers, phone number Quality Rating, and phone number Status.

WhatsApp Broadcast Message Limit: Messaging Tiers

If you are a WhatsApp API user, perhaps you have the following question: How many Contacts can be added to WhatsApp Broadcast? 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.

WhatsApp Broadcast Limit
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.

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.

Flagged and Restricted WhatsApp Accounts
Beware of the Flagged and Restricted status

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.

What’s next?

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know to broadcast with WhatsApp. Is your company already using WhatsApp API? You can get 360dialog WhatsApp API at a very competitive price.

Do you already have a WhatsApp API account? Then connect it to respond.io and give it a try. 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, please check out our articles on:

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