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WhatsApp Template Message: A How-to Guide [Nov 2023]

Chris Lai
May 2, 2023

WhatsApp has become a valuable tool for businesses looking to communicate quickly and efficiently. With WhatsApp template messages, you can streamline your communication process and save time while providing personalized and engaging messages to your audience. In this blog, we'll share everything you need to know to create an effective WhatsApp message template to help your business connect with customers.

WhatsApp Template Message: An Introduction

WhatsApp API users can’t message customers anytime they want on WhatsApp. Outside the 24-hour customer-service window, businesses can only use WhatsApp message templates, also known as WhatsApp template messages.

WhatsApp message templates are commonly used to contact customers outside the aforementioned 24-hour window. While that is very convenient, you must submit message templates to WhatsApp for approval before using them.

What template messages look like to WhatsApp users

Businesses can personalize WhatsApp message templates with customizable placeholders, media headers and Quick Reply or Call-to-Action buttons. These features make WhatsApp template messages more engaging and interactive than other message formats like SMS or email.

These message templates are not free to send. They are subject to WhatsApp’s conversation-based pricing model, where rates depend on the recipient’s country code and message template category. But what do we mean by the message template category? You’ll find the answer in the next section.

WhatsApp Message Template: Categories and Use Cases

To prevent businesses from spamming their contacts, Meta restricts the use of WhatsApp message templates to a limited number of use cases. Here are the approved use cases of message templates by category.

Utility WhatsApp Message Templates

A user action or request usually triggers utility templates. These message templates should provide specific details regarding the current or ongoing transaction, account, subscription or interaction. For instance, an order confirmation template must incorporate the corresponding order number.

These are the most common use cases for Utility templates:

  • Managing user-requested opt-ins
  • Confirm, update or cancel orders or transactions with customers
  • Account alerts and updates
  • Feedback surveys
  • Continuing a conversation

Authentication WhatsApp Message Templates

Authentication templates enable businesses to authenticate users with one-time passcodes, potentially at multiple steps in the login process. Businesses can use Authentication templates for the following use cases:

  • Account verification
  • Account recovery
  • Account integrity challenges

Marketing WhatsApp Message Templates

Marketing templates are intended for promotional or informative updates, as well as invitations for customers to take action. Any conversation that does not fall under the utility or authentication categories will be a marketing conversation.

Here are some of the most common use cases for Marketing templates:

  • Business, products or services awareness
  • Promotional offers
  • Retargeting
  • App promotion
  • Building customer relationships

Understanding How WhatsApp Message Template Categories Work

When you send a message template, a new conversation will be created in its specific category, and you will be charged accordingly unless you send the template while an ongoing conversation of the same category is already happening.

For instance, if a utility conversation is already ongoing and a marketing message template is sent within that conversation, a new marketing conversation is opened. As a result, the 24-hour customer service window is reset, and charges for the marketing conversation are applied.

This image shows the WhatsApp approved use cases of Message Templates by Category: Utility: Assist customers with specific requests or transactions, such as providing updates on ongoing transactions, sending post-purchase notifications or recurring billing statements. Authentication:  Authenticate users using one-time passcodes, which may be required in a multi-step login process, such as account verification and account recovery. Marketing: Promotional or informative updates, as well as invitations for customers to take action. Any conversation that does not fall under the utility or authentication categories is considered a marketing conversation.
WhatsApp template categories: Utility, authentication and marketing

However, businesses won’t incur additional charges for sending multiple templates of the same category within an ongoing conversation. To illustrate, a company can send multiple utility templates in a running utility conversation without incurring extra charges.

Other than use case restrictions, WhatsApp has also created a set of rules on what can go into a WhatsApp Business message template and how it should look. Let’s find out what these rules are.

WhatsApp Template Message: Know the Rules

Customers rarely appreciate unsolicited messages, and they could mark your message as spam and report your number. If they do so, it will affect its quality rating. If the quality rating reaches a Low state, your message template will get the Flagged status.

Finally, if the status does not improve within 7 days, the message template status will switch to Disabled. To prevent this from happening, make sure you collect customer opt-ins before sending message templates.

Other than that, let’s look at the rules to look out for, including content rules and formatting rules.

WhatsApp Message Template: Content Rules

To protect its users from spam and harmful content, WhatsApp has come up with rules for content that businesses aren’t allowed to send using message templates:

  • Threatening content
  • Data collection
  • Prohibited services
  • Contests or quizzes

WhatsApp message templates cannot contain threatening or abusive content. For example, message templates that threaten customers with legal action if they don't pay back their loans are not allowed.

This image shows what's not allowed in the WhatsApp body of a template message. To protect its users from spam and harmful content, WhatsApp has come up with rules for content that businesses aren’t allowed to send using Message Templates: Threatening content Data collection Prohibited services Contests or quizzes
WhatsApp template guidelines: Content rules

Moreover, businesses can't use WhatsApp message templates to collect customer data. For example, you can't request sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers through message templates. While polls are out of the question, CSAT surveys are an exception to the rule.

Businesses can’t use WhatsApp message templates to offer prohibited services to customers. Services that fall under this category include – automotive, event, fitness, home maintenance services such as cleaning, non-veterinary, personal and travel services.

Last but not least, message templates should not contain any content related to quizzes, contests, or anything that involves skills or chance. In addition to the content restrictions above, you need to comply with the WhatsApp message template formatting rules.

WhatsApp Message Template: Formatting Rules

WhatsApp has different formatting rules for message template name, body and placeholder. The message template name can only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores. Other special characters and spaces are not allowed.

This image shows the guidelines for WhatsApp "Template Message" name. The Message Template name can only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores. Other special characters and spaces are not allowed.
WhatsApp template guidelines: Name format

The message template body cannot contain tabs or more than 4 consecutive spaces, and its character limit is capped at 1,024 characters. This includes letters, numbers, special characters, and emojis.

Placeholders must be written within double curly brackets, like this: {{1}}. When customizing the content of a placeholder, you may include letters, numbers, or even special characters.

This image shows how to make WhatsApp message templates placeholders. Placeholders must be written within double curly brackets, like this: {{1}}. When customizing the content of a placeholder, you may include letters, numbers, or even special characters.
WhatsApp template guidelines: Placeholder format

To send media message templates, including images, videos and documents to your contacts, make sure your media size follows the platform limitations. Also, only PDF documents are supported when uploading a document in your message template.

Now that you understand the message template rules, it's time to learn how to create a message template for WhatsApp.

How to Create a WhatsApp Template Message

There are two prerequisites to creating and sending WhatsApp. Firstly, you’ll need a WhatsApp API account. You can get your WhatsApp API account in minutes.

Secondly, you’ll need a customer communication management software to connect to the WhatsApp API. While you could use the Meta Business Manager (now known as the Meta Business Portfolio), this option is limiting for large companies.

The Meta Business Suite only operates with Meta platforms, and you won’t be able to build advanced automation or integrate with WhatsApp CRMs. Instead, we recommend an omnichannel solution like

Creating WhatsApp Template Message on

Once you’re ready, open and follow the steps below to create your first WhatsApp message template.

1. Go to Settings > Channel > WhatsApp Business API > Templates.

This image shows how to submit WhatsApp Messages Template from 1. Go to Settings > Channel > WhatsApp Business API > Templates.
Find the Templates setting

2. Click Submit Template to create a new WhatsApp template.

This image shows how to submit WhatsApp Messages Templates from Click Submit Templates.
Click Submit Template to create a WhatsApp message template

3. Fill in your template name, category, language and template body.

This image shows how to send Template WhatsApp Messages for submission with 3. Fill in your template name, category, language and template body.
Compose the WhatsApp text template message

5. Include a header in the form of text, image, video or document if needed and a text footer.

 This image shows how to submit Message WhatsApp Templates with Include a header and a text footer.
Enhance the WhatsApp template message design with a header

6. Add a call-to-action or quick reply button, then click Submit.

This image shows how to submit a Template WhatsApp message with Add a call-to-action button or a quick reply button.
Customize your interactive buttons

7. Key in the parameters for the template.

This image shows how to submit a Template WhatsApp Message with Key in the dynamic variables that will raplace the placeholders.
Add the dynamic variables to the WhatsApp message template

Do note that you’ll need to include Dynamic Variables in the placeholders before submission, otherwise, WhatsApp will reject your message template. Click Submit once done.

8. Lastly, Sync Templates once you’ve submitted them for approval.

This image shows how to submit a Template WhatsApp Message with Sync Template Messages to refresh their status.
Sync template messages to refresh their status

<call-out> integrates with Meta Catalog. You can synchronize your Commerce Manager Catalogs and send them with with the Messages Module, Workflows, Broadcasts or via or Zapier. <call-out>

Once synced, you can see your message template status in the message template list after submission. There are three possible statuses:

  • Submitted: It’s still under review and pending approval.
  • Approved: It can now be used to message Contacts.
  • Rejected: It cannot be used. WhatsApp provides a reason for rejection to help you understand how the Message template violates WhatsApp’s rules.

Reasons WhatsApp Template Messages Get Rejected

In this section, we’ll discuss some reasons why WhatsApp might reject your message template submission.

Your Message Template Asks for Sensitive Information

For instance, requesting complete payment card details, financial account numbers, national ID numbers or other sensitive identifiers. This also includes documents containing such information. However, it is acceptable to ask for partial identifiers, such as the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Your Message Template Contains Potentially Threatening or Abusive Content

This includes content such as threatening a customer with legal action or threatening to publicly shame them.

Your Message Template Has Floating Placeholders

For instance, WhatsApp will reject message templates containing lines with just Placeholders and no text because businesses can use them to spam customers. This can look like the following:

Hi {{1}}, {{2}}. {{3}}.

Your Message Template Has Incorrect Variable Parameters Format

Below are more examples of incorrect variable parameters formatting that will cause message template rejection:

  • Variable parameters are missing or have mismatched curly braces. The correct format is {{1}}.
  • Variable parameters contain special characters such as a #, $, or %.
  • Variable parameters are not sequential. For example, {{1}}, {{2}}, {{4}}, {{5}} are defined but {{3}} does not exist.

You Chose the Wrong Message Template Category

WhatsApp may reject your message template if the Category selected doesn’t match the content. A case in point is labeling a message template about a new feature as an Authentication Template.

The Chosen Language Didn't Match the Content

Your message template must match the language you’ve selected. For instance, if you select English as the language but the content is in Spanish, your message template will be rejected.

Your Message Template Has Spelling or Grammatical Errors

If your message template contains misspellings or grammatical errors, it may be deemed untrustworthy and get rejected.

You've Exceeded the Number of Message Templates Allowed

Each WhatsApp API account can only own a limited number of message templates. If you need more, open a support ticket with your WhatsApp partner stating your reason. WhatsApp may approve a higher limit at its discretion.

Getting your message template right might seem difficult, but there are things you can do to stand a better chance of having your submission approved.

WhatsApp Message Template: Best Practices

In this section, we've compiled a list of best practices for creating and using message templates. Plus, we’ve included some examples of what approved message templates look like.

Select Meta Recommended Template Category

Selecting the wrong template category is one of the main reasons for rejection. Always choose the Meta recommended template category when submitting message templates to adhere to Meta's standards.

Obtain Customer Opt-In Before Sending Message Templates

Just because you have customers' numbers doesn't mean they have opted in. You should always get active consent from customers before sending WhatsApp message templates.

Double Check the Formatting and Content

WhatsApp enforces the formatting rules of message templates strictly. Make sure you use the appropriate formatting.

1. Get the placeholders right

Remember to use double curly brackets for placeholders and write the numbers in the placeholders in sequence. Floating Placeholders are a no-no, so surround them with information to make clear what type of content will be inserted.

Dear {{1}}, you have an appointment scheduled with us on {{2}} at {{3}}. We look forward to seeing you!

2. Don't put URL shorteners in the message body

WhatsApp doesn't recommend using a URL shortener such as or tinyurl because they obscure the intended link destination. A workaround is to use URL shorteners in your Placeholder instead of the Message Body.

Your return request {{1}} has been generated. Visit {{2}} to learn more about our return policy.

3. Proofread your message template

WhatsApp will reject message templates that include even minor spelling or grammatical mistakes. Check for grammatical errors or misspellings before submitting your message template.

Hi {{1}}, thank you for your subscription.

Give your Message Template a Meaningful Name

WhatsApp is more likely to approve a message template with a name that provides context around its purpose.


Remind your Customers Why They Received your Message

In your message template, remind your customers that they’ve given you permission to send the messages. For example, make it clear that you are following up on a previous inquiry.

I'm sorry that I wasn't able to respond to your inquiry on {{1}}. Please reply ‘yes’ if you’d like to continue the conversation.

Don't Spam Customers

Avoid sending message templates too frequently or customers might opt out. Worse, they may mark your business as spam. Having your message templates marked as spam will affect your account’s quality rating, and your message template may be disabled.

Get your Message Template Right the First Time

You can't edit your message template once it's approved. Make sure you are happy with your message template before submitting it.

Try Again if the Message Template Gets Rejected

Sometimes it’s not even that clear why one message template is approved while the other gets rejected. It may take a few tries to get a WhatsApp message template approved.

Contact your Partner When All Else Fails

If resubmissions continue to be rejected, open a support ticket with your WhatsApp partner explaining the issue in detail. WhatsApp partners like can request WhatsApp to reconsider the rejected message template.

You’ve made it to the end! This is all you need to know to get started with WhatsApp message templates. To take your business communication to the next level, try for free and get a WhatsApp API account in minutes.

Further Reading

And that’s everything you need to know about WhatsApp message templates. If you're interested in more information about WhatsApp for Business, check out these articles:

Chris Lai
Content Writer/SEO specialist
Chris Lai, a Content Writer and an in-house SEO specialist at, holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Monash University. His articles cover business messaging apps such as WhatsApp Business, helping companies to navigate the ever-changing landscape of business messaging.
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