New pricing model of WhatsApp Business API (Effective from 1 June 2023)

WhatsApp is still the leading social platform in Hong Kong, and its importance is increasing in the business world. Because of high online advertising costs, many companies are gradually developing WhatsApp Business API as an official communication channel, which not only brings convenience to  customers, but also improves response efficiency.

Effective from 1 June 2023, the pricing scheme of WhatsApp Business API will be updated, from the previous 2 types to 4 types. Currently, WhatsApp conversations can be categorised as ‘User-initiated’ and ‘Business-initiated’, and there will be 3 subtypes under ‘Business-initiated’ in the new pricing model: Utility conversations, Authentication conversations, Marketing conversations.

4 New Categories of WhatsApp Conversations (Effective from 1 June 2023)

  1. ‘User-initiated’ conversations will be renamed as Service conversation, which targets at resolving customer enquiries.
  2. ‘Business-initiated’ conversations will be subdivided into the following:
  • Utility conversation: Relate to a transaction, including order confirmation, delivery updates and recurring billing statements.
  • Authentication conversation: Authenticate users with one-time passcodes, for example, account verification, account recovery and integrity challenges.
  • Marketing conversation: Include promotions or offers, latest business updates and abandoned cart reminders, etc. Any conversations that do not qualify as Utility or Authentication conversations are Marketing conversations.

Note: Any message templates with both utility and marketing contents are regarded as Marketing conversations.

Charges of conversations with mixed categories(with examples)

How will the conversations be charged, if the template includes utility and marketing content, within the same 24-hour window? Meta officially lists the pricing principles in different scenarios for reference.

1. Messages of two different categories in the same 24-hour window

A Service conversation is opened for appointment booking, and a business response to a customer message is delivered. The business sends a marketing template while the Service conversation is still open, resulting in one charge for a Service conversation and one charge for a Marketing conversation.

2. Messages of same categories in the same 24-hour window

If two utility messages have been sent in the same 24-hour window, only one Utility conversation will be charged.

3. One message template with two different categories

A template that includes content that is both utility and marketing will be categorised as Marketing conversation. The result is one Marketing conversation charge.

Free tier conversations: 1,000 free user-initiated conversations each month

WhatsApp Business API provides the first 1,000 free conversations per month including ‘User-initiated’ and ‘Business-initiated’. However, taking effect from 1 June 2023, ‘Business-initiated’ conversations will no longer be included in the free tier and will be charged immediately.

Each WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) will receive 1,000 free ‘User-initiated’ conversations per month (independent of the number of phone numbers attached to the WABA).

How to get WhatsApp free conversations?

Free Entry Point Conversations extends from 24h to 72h

From 1 March 2023, if your customers open WhatsApp conversations by:

  1. ‘Click to WhatsApp’ Facebook or Instagram ads, or
  2. Call-to-Action button on Facebook page

and close the conversations within 72 hours. Then no message fees will be collected by Meta

It should be noted that the free entry point conversations can only be ‘User-initiated’, and only the first conversation initiated from the entry point is free, and conversations afterwards will be charged.

The new pricing plans for WhatsApp Business API will take effect gradually from 1 March 2023. Marketers must be one step ahead and get the latest updates of WhatsApp, the most commonly used social platform for Hongkongers. For more information, please feel free to contact our consultants.

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