In 2022, Facebook (Meta) updated its pricing model for the WhatsApp Business API. Let’s look at what’s changed.
As of February 1, new rules for charging for WhatsApp Business API conversations went into effect. While you used to pay for each outgoing template message, you’ll now have to pay for entire conversations. The new post on my blog about Affiliate programs, CPA Networks, traffic arbitrage and online mrketing.
Each conversation that you or your client starts is called a “session”. It lasts for 24 hours, during which time all messages, including HSM templates, are free.
WHAT’S NEW WITH WHATSAPP BUSINESS API
However, there are two types of charges:
– For dialogs started by users;
– for dialogs started by the company.
According to Meta’s idea, this way the focus will be shifted from individual messages to a full dialogue with the client. The 24-hour limit will motivate your company to quickly solve the clients’ questions and provide a high quality of service.
WHATSAPP BUSINESS API: BEFORE
- Paying only for outgoing messages (HSM-templates).
- A 24-hour window is opened after a client’s message, during which messages are not charged. Exception – HSM-patterns.
- To get started, you must purchase a minimum of 1,000 HSM templates.
- Unspent templates go to the next month. When they run out, you buy new ones.
- Only delivered outgoing messages are paid.
WHATSAPP BUSINESS API: AFTER
- Payment for the whole dialogue which was started by a company or a user.
- After your message or a customer message, a 24-hour window opens during which messages are not charged.
- Minimum deposit of $100 per month is required to get started.
- The deposit is not tied to months. When it runs out, you replenish it.
- You pay for an incoming dialog only if you responded to a customer’s message. If you sent the message yourself, you pay only for delivered messages.
You prescribe template messages in advance and coordinate with Facebook.
DIALOGS THAT USERS START
When a customer writes to you, a 24-hour session opens in which you have time to respond. If you answer, your deposit is deducted for this session. Further you do not have to pay – the correspondence within this chat is not charged.
But if you do not have time to answer during this time, you have to start a new session using HSM-template. This will count as an outgoing dialog.
Let’s look at a few popular scenarios. Our character is a person who has booked a hotel room and is wondering if everything is okay. Then there are several dialogue scenarios.
Scenario 1. One incoming + one outgoing within 24 hours.
– The customer asks if the reservation went through.
– The hotel employee replies that everything is fine and you can check in. As soon as the company answers, a 24-hour session opens. Now all messages – incoming and outgoing – are free during that time. So the hotel has an incentive to respond right away.
If the hotel employees don’t make it in 24 hours, they’ll have to use the HSM template. This will open a new session.
Scenario 2. One incoming + one outgoing within 24 hours + one more outgoing more than 24 hours later.
– On Monday at 11 a.m., a customer asks if they were able to book a room for Thursday.
– An employee or chatbot checks the information, checks it against the database, and sends a confirmation at 11:01.
– On Wednesday, one day before check-in, the guest receives an automatic reminder that they are expected at the hotel. Thus begins a new correspondence using the HSM template.
In this case, the company pays twice: for the dialog, started by the client, and for the dialog, started by the company.
DIALOGS STARTED BY THE COMPANY
To start a dialog with a customer yourself, you have to send an HSM-template. It will open a 24-hour session, which is paid as outgoing correspondence. So it’s in your best interest to send a template that customers are sure to respond to.
From there, you can communicate with the client as much as you like. But if more than 24 hours have passed since the last message from the client, the window will close.
Scenario 1. Two outgoing messages in a row.
– If the reservation is cancelled, the hotel sends an HSM message.
– A second message follows to reschedule the reservation. Both messages came in less than 24 hours and are charged as one dialog.
Scenario 2. One outgoing message + one incoming message.
– A hotel employee asks a customer if an airport transfer is needed.
– The customer chooses “No” and is left without a shuttle.
The hotel only pays for one outgoing message.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE FOR FREE
1. Each WABA account is given 1,000 free sessions each month. They do not add up or carry over to the next month.
2. The first session will be free if the customer clicks on a WhatsApp ad or a call to action on the Facebook Page. All subsequent correspondence with the same user is paid.
3. If the company has not responded to the message, there is no charge. This way you can weed out spammers.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Respond immediately. Previously, the 24-hour window was updated after each message and, in theory, you could communicate indefinitely. Now you only have 24 hours for one dialogue. So respond immediately and try to resolve every issue within 24 hours.
Automate your support: use chatbots and automatic replies. They don’t skip customer messages and respond instantly.
Edit the chatbots. If you use automated funnels that send progressive messages over several days, you will pay for each such message. See how effective your autofunnels are and think about how to increase conversions and not waste money.
Think of templates that users are sure to respond to. And don’t forget about call-to-action.
“Good afternoon, you left an application on the website. I can tell you more about our product”.
“Good afternoon! You have left a request on the site. Can I tell you more about our product? Click YES to learn more, and NO if you’re not ready yet”.
Make a Facebook ad to go to WhatsApp and a call to action page on the Facebook page. At least the first conversations with these customers will be free.
Plan your expenses. Calculate how many people text you on WhatsApp each month and how long it takes to resolve an issue. If your operators can’t handle it in 24 hours, think about how to fix it.