WhatsApp doesn’t allow businesses to message customers anytime they want - you can only send Template Messages after 24 hours. In this blog, we’ll be answering questions like what are WhatsApp Template Messages and how to use them. And we’ll walk you through the rules for using WhatsApp Message Template. You’ll also find step-by-step guides to creating Template Messages on 360dialog, Twilio & Vonage. Plus, we’ve put together a list of reasons WhatsApp might reject a Template Message, as well as the best practices that will get your Template Message approved.

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WhatsApp Template Message: An Introduction

WhatsApp Template Message: Know the Rules

How to Create WhatsApp Template Messages

Reasons Why Template Messages Get Rejected

WhatsApp Template Message: Best Practices

WhatsApp Template Message: An Introduction

You can't message your customers anytime you want on WhatsApp - after 24 hours from the customer’s last message, businesses are only allowed to reply with Template Messages.

This is a picture of a WhatsApp Template Message. What is a WhatsApp Template Message? Template Messages are pre-approved WhatsApp messages with customizable segments called Placeholders. They are a handy way to reopen the 24-hour Messaging Window, but WhatsApp only allows Template Messaging for certain use cases.
How Template Message Looks

Template Messages are pre-approved WhatsApp messages with customizable segments called Placeholders. They are a handy way to reopen the 24-hour Messaging Window, but WhatsApp only allows Template Messaging for certain use cases.

WhatsApp Template Message: Categories and Use Cases

WhatsApp Template Messages are designed for sending transactional notifications. Here are the approved use cases of Template Messages by Category:

  • Account Update: Notify customers of changes to their accounts.
  • Alert Update: Send important updates or news.
  • Appointment Update: Send appointment confirmations or reminders.
  • Auto-Reply: Send auto-replies to customers when you are away.
  • Issue Resolution: Respond to customer inquiries or feedback.
  • Payment Update: Send a payment-related message.
  • Personal Finance Update: Send a message related to personal finances.
  • Reservation Update: Send reservation confirmations or reminders.
  • Shipping Update: Send shipping updates about an order.
  • Ticket Update: Send ticketing information.
  • Transportation Update: Send transportation updates.

Other than use case restrictions, WhatsApp also created a set of rules on what can go into a WhatsApp Business Message Template and how it should look.

WhatsApp Template Message: Know the Rules

When it comes to Template Messaging, there are two types of rules - content rules and formatting rules.

WhatsApp Template Message: Content Rules

To protect its users from spam and harmful content, WhatsApp has come up with four rules on what businesses can't send with Template Messages:

  • No promotional content
  • No threatening content
  • No data collection
  • No contests or quizzes

WhatsApp doesn’t allow promotional content in Template Messages. What counts as promotional content? Upselling, cold-calling, sending newsletters, and even including phrases that sound promotional are all considered promotional.

Template Message Content Restrictions

There's one exception to this rule: It does not apply to businesses registered in Mexico and Indonesia. Starting October 2020, WhatsApp has rolled out non-transactional Template Messages in these countries.

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

Moreover, businesses can't collect data using WhatsApp Template Messages. While polls are out of the question, a survey after an experience is fine. Similarly, you can't request sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers through Template Messages.

Last but not least, Template Messages 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 WhatsApp Template Message formatting rules.

WhatsApp Template Message: Formatting Rules

WhatsApp has different formatting rules for Template Message Name, Body and Placeholder.

The Template Message Name can only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores. Other special characters and spaces are not allowed.

This is an image of the formatting rules of WhatsApp Template Message Name. The Template Message Name can only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores. Special characters and spaces are not allowed.
The Formatting Rules Of Template Message Name

The Template Message Body cannot contain tabs or more than 4 consecutive spaces. The character limit for Message Body is 1,024 characters. This includes letters, numbers, special characters, and emojis.

This is an image of the formatting rules of WhatsApp Template Message Body. The Template Message Body cannot contain tabs or more than 4 consecutive spaces. The character limit for Message Body is 1,024 characters. This includes letters, numbers, special characters, and emojis.
The Formatting Rules Of Template Message Body

Placeholders must be written with 2 double curly brackets on the left side of the number and 2 on the right side. For example, {{1}}. When customizing the content of a Placeholder, you may include letters, numbers, or even special characters.

This is an image of the formatting rules of WhatsApp Template MessagePlaceholders. Placeholders must be written with 2 double curly brackets on the left side of the number and 2 on the right side. For example, {{1}}. When customizing the content of a Placeholder, you may include letters, numbers, or even special characters.
The Formatting Rules of Placeholders

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

How to Create WhatsApp Template Messages

Creating Template Messages is not as straightforward as it sounds. Template Messages need to be submitted to your chosen WhatsApp Partner for approval before you can use them.

Some Partners allow submitting Template Messages on their own consoles, while others require you to do so from Facebook Business Manager. In this section, we'll walk you through the steps for creating Template Messages on 360dialog, Twilio & Vonage.

How to Create a WhatsApp Template Message on 360dialog

To create a WhatsApp Message Template through 360dialog, log in to 360 Client Hub.

1. Press the Manage Templates button on the homepage.

This is an image of how to create Template WhatsApp via 360dialog. First, press the Manage Templates button on the homepage.
Manage Templates Button On 360 Client Hub

2. Click the blue Add Template button.

This is an image of 360dialog client hub. Click the blue button.
Add Template Button

3. Fill in the required information, including Template Message Name, Category, Language, Type, and Body.

This is a picture of how to create WhatsApp Template Messages via 360dialog. Fill in the required information, including Template Message Name, Category, Language, Type, and Body.
360dialog New Template Form

You can choose to create a text-only Standard Template or a Media Template with images or videos. Currently, our platform doesn't support sending Media Templates, but we're working towards enabling it in the future.

Lastly, submit the form and you’re done - and that's how you create a Template Message via 360dialog. If you signed up with Twilio, find out how to make a WhatsApp Template Message in the next section.

How to Create a WhatsApp Template Message on Twilio

To create a Template Message through Twilio, log into Twilio Console and navigate to Programmable Messaging > Senders > WhatsApp Templates.

1. Click New Message Template.

This is a picture of how to create WhatsApp Template Messages via Twilio. First, Click New Message Template.
New Message Template Button On Twilio Console

2. Fill out the requested information such as Template Message Name, Category, Language, and Body.

This is an image of how to create WhatsApp Template Messages via Twilio. Fill out the requested information such as Template Message Name, Category, Language, and Body.
Submitting a New Message Template Via Twilio

Once you’re done, submit the Template Message for approval. If you are a Vonage user, read to the next section to learn how you can create a WhatsApp Template Message.

How to Create a WhatsApp Template Message on Vonage

Vonage's console doesn't support Template Message submission. To create a Template Message, go to Facebook Business Manager > Settings > Business Settings.

1. Select your Vonage WhatsApp API Account from the dropdown menu.

This is an image of how to create WhatsApp Message Template via Vonage from Facebook Business Manager. Select your Vonage WhatsApp API Account from the dropdown menu.
Facebook Business Settings Homepage

2. Go to Accounts > WhatsApp Accounts on the left panel.

This is an image of how to make WhatsApp Template via Vonage from Facebook Business Manager. Go to Accounts > WhatsApp Accounts on the left panel.
Facebook Business Settings Homepage

3. Click WhatsApp Manager under the Settings tab.

This is an image of how to create WhatsApp chat Template via Vonage from Facebook Business Manager. Navigate to WhatsApp Manager under the Settings tab.
WhatsApp Accounts Settings

4. Select Message Templates on the left panel.

This is an image of how to create WhatsApp conversation template via Vonage from Facebook Business Manager. Select Message Templates on the left panel.
WhatsApp Manager

5. Click Create Message Template.

This is an image of how to create WhatsApp Template Message via Vonage from Facebook Business Manager. Click Create Message Template.
Message Templates Manager

6. Choose the Template Message Category, Name and Language.

This is an image of how to Choose the Category, Name and Language.
Creating Message Templates

When you’re done click Continue.

7. Add a Message Body.

This is picture of how to add a Message Body.
Creating Message Templates

You can also add an optional Header, Footer, Button, or Sample. WhatsApp strongly encourages submitting media messages with a sample. Submit the form when completed.

What’s Next After Template Message Submission

After submitting a Template Message, it will be reviewed by WhatsApp. Template Messages are usually approved by WhatsApp within 48 hours.

360dialog and Twilio users may check the approval status in the Partner's console. As for Vonage users, the approval status can be viewed from the Message Templates tab.

Once your Template Message gets approved, connect to a WhatsApp CRM like respond.io to start sending Template Messages. Remember, submitting a Template Message doesn't guarantee approval.

Reasons WhatsApp Template Messages Get Rejected

Here are some reasons why WhatsApp might reject your Template Message submission. We’ve also included some examples of rejected Template Messages to give you an idea of what’s not allowed.

The Content Is Promotional In Nature

You may think that WhatsApp only rejects Template Messages with overt advertising, but WhatsApp policy also prohibits Template Messages with subtle marketing words or phrases.

Your order {{1}} has been confirmed. Thank you for shopping at Lazora, the world’s leading online fashion destination.

Your Template Message Asks For Sensitive Information

WhatsApp will Template Messages that collect data from users or ask for sensitive information.

Hi {{1}}, please share your full credit card number to proceed.

You Didn't Get the Formatting Right

WhatsApp is notoriously fussy when it comes to the formats of Template Message Name, Message Body, and Placeholder. Even the slightest formatting mistake can cause your Template Message to be rejected.

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

Your Template Message Has Spelling or Grammatical Errors

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

Hii {{1}} Thanks you for your subscription.

Your Template Message Has Floating Placeholders

WhatsApp will reject Template Messages containing lines with just Placeholders and no text because they could be abused to spam customers.

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

Your Template Message Is Too Generic

WhatsApp will reject Template Messages that don’t provide sufficient detail on how they will be used.

Reminder: {{1}}.

Your Template Message Name Is Unclear

WhatsApp reviewers may reject your Template Message if the Name doesn’t give context around how it will be used.

template_1

You Chose the Wrong Category

WhatsApp may reject your Template Messages if the Category selected doesn’t match the content. Case in point: labeling a Template Message about a successful payment as a Shipping Update.

The Chosen Language Didn't Match the Content

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

You've Exceeded the Number of Template Messages Allowed

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

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

WhatsApp Template Message: Best Practices

In this section, we've put together a list of best practices when creating and using Template Messages. Plus, we’ve included some examples of what approved Template Messages look like.

Make Sure The Content Is Non-Promotional

Avoid adding any promotional words or phrases, no matter how subtle they are. If it helps, read your Template Message out loud to see if it sounds salesy.

Your order {{1}} has been confirmed. Thank you for shopping at Lazora.

Double Check the Formatting

WhatsApp enforces the formatting rules of Template Messages strictly. Make sure you use the appropriate formatting. For instance, using double curly brackets for Placeholders and writing the numbers in the Placeholders in sequence.

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

Proofread Your Template Message

WhatsApp will reject Template Messages that include even minor spelling or grammatical mistakes. Check for any grammatical error or misspelling before submitting your Template Message.

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

Make It Clear How You Intend to Use The Placeholders

Floating Placeholders are a definite no-no. Surround the Placeholders with information so that it’s clear what type of content will be inserted.

Hi {{1}}, your credit card application {{2}} has been approved. You’ll receive your card by {{3}}.

Give Your Template Message a Meaningful Name

WhatsApp is more likely to approve a Template Message with a Name that provides context around its purpose.

order_delivery

Don't Put URL Shorteners In The Message Body

WhatsApp doesn't recommend using a URL shortener such as bit.ly 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.

Remind Your Customers Why They Received Your Message

In your Template Message, 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.

Get Your Template Message Right the First Time

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

Try Again If Template Message Gets Rejected

Sometimes it’s not even that clear why one Template Message is approved while the other gets rejected. It may take a few tries to get a WhatsApp Template Message 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. Your Partner can request that WhatsApp reconsider the rejected Template Message.

Obtain Customer Opt-In Before Sending Template Messages

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

Don't Spam Your Customers

Avoid sending Template Messages too frequently or customers might opt out. Worse, they may mark your business as spam. Having your Template Messages marked as spam will affect your account’s Quality Rating and your Template Message may be disabled.

As a general rule, you should stick to the Messaging Limit of your WhatsApp API account.

Further Reading

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