WhatsApp Conversation-Based Pricing:
If you are a Vonage client who uses WhatsApp via the Messages API, you are aware that "Meta fees" are part of your charges. This is the fee that Meta charges us for your usage, which we then pass on to you. This is known as Conversation Based Pricing on WhatsApp.
Meta announced several significant changes to conversations-based pricing that have been implemented in the previous few months, including revisions you should be aware of.
What are the changes?
Starting June 1, 2023, WhatsApp pricing is changing for the new business-initiated conversation categories to reflect the different value each of these conversation types drives for businesses and people. WhatsApp is introducing new conversation categories.
There will be three new business-initiated conversation categories, which are:
- Utility Conversation - Enable the completion of a particular, agreed-upon request or transaction or provide a customer with an update about an ongoing transaction, including post-purchase notifications and regular billing statements.
- Authentication Conversation - Enables businesses to utilize one-time passcodes to verify users at various login stages, if necessary (e.g., account verification, account recovery, integrity challenges)
- Marketing Conversation - Business-initiated conversations to market a good or service to customers, such as sending pertinent offers to customers who have opted in. This would also include any business-related interaction that is not an authentication or utility conversation.
The fourth category is Service Conversation, which includes any user-initiated discussions that assist consumers in getting answers to their questions.
Marketing conversations will become more expensive in comparison to business-initiated conversations today. Utility and authentication conversations will be priced slightly higher than service rates.
New template categories:
To enable the introduction of new business-initiated discussion categories, when creating a new WhatsApp template via WhatsApp business manager or the Template Management API, you must categorize the template as Marketing, Utility, or Authentication.
Vonage began supporting these template categories when building new templates via the Template Management API on March 31st to enable this. On April 1, 2023, existing templates that use old categories were transferred and mapped to the new template categories.
If the "allow_category_change" flag is set to true for templates created with the new categories after March 31st, templates will stay approved if they are re-categorized. If this parameter is set to false, the template will be rejected. More information can be found in the API documentation.
If you believe your template was erroneously classified on April 1, 2023, you have until May 15, 2023, to appeal the decision. You will be able to appeal if you have access to the WhatsApp business manager. If you do not, you must contact Vonage's support team.
Note** - If you are using placeholders in your text body while creating a template (through WhatsApp Manager or Vonage Template Management API), you must include the example property with placeholder examples that would be injected into the template if it were sent in a template message. If examples are not included, your template will not be approved by Meta.
Free conversations for service Conversations only:
All WhatsApp business accounts currently have access to 1000 free conversations per month. This can be made up of both business-initiated and user-initiated conversations, for example, 300 business-initiated and 700 user-initiated conversations. Business-initiated conversations will no longer count towards the 1000 free monthly conversations that you are now entitled to as of June 1st, 2023. The 1000 free monthly conversations will only apply to service conversations.
Longer free entry point conversations:
Conversations that begin with a free entry point (Click to WhatsApp ad campaigns) will be free for 72 hours instead of 24 hours beginning on March 1, 2023. This means that if a customer initiates a conversation after clicking on a Facebook ad, a business can respond for free with any form of WhatsApp message (including marketing templates) for 72 hours.
Multiple conversation windows are now possible:
Another change is that if different template categories are used during a 24-hour period, it will be possible to have multiple billable conversation windows open with a given customer. Here are a couple of such examples:
- If a customer messages a business and the business answers with a free-form (non-template) reply, the customer will be charged for one service-initiated conversation.
- If a business answers with a template message, the conversation will be charged at the business initiated (e.g. utility) rate.
- If the business responds with a free-form message followed by a template message, the customer will be charged for two conversations: one initiated by the service and one initiated by the business (e.g. utility).
- The prices for conversations will be determined by template categories. Unless the template is delivered during an open conversation of that category, delivering it begins a new conversation of that category and incurs the price of that conversation category.
- If a marketing template is delivered during a service conversation. This opens a separate marketing conversation. The result is one charge for a service conversation and one charge for a marketing conversation.
- If a utility template is delivered during utility conversation. There is no new conversation charge because the template category used within the open conversation window did not change. The result is one utility conversation charge.
- A template that includes content that is both utility and marketing based on Meta's template guideline (whenever marketing content is identified in a template, the template will be categorized as marketing) is delivered. The result is one marketing conversation charge.
- If a utility template is delivered during a marketing conversation. This opens a separate utility conversation. The result is one charge for a marketing conversation and one charge for a utility conversation.
Here are some useful links that also provide additional information:
Launch timeline - this provides more details on some of the key events
Rate cards - New rate cards that will apply from June 1st can be viewed here