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Best Practices for Display Names on WhatsApp Business Platform/API

Niloofar Kavousi
October 30, 2022

When you are registering a WhatsApp Business account with any Business Solution Provider (BSP), you must choose a display name for your phone number. The display name is the name that your customers see on your WhatsApp profile.

Your display name does not need to be reviewed and approved by WhatsApp if:

  • You need a maximum of 2 phone numbers for your account
  • You send fewer than 50 message templates every 24 hours
  • You receive unlimited user-initiated messages

However, if you decide to increase your messaging limits or add more phone numbers to your account, you must first verify your Facebook Business Account, and WhatsApp must approve your display name. 

The display name must meet certain criteria to be approved. If you want to skip the explanations, head to the Checklist for Display Name Approval.

The name must comply with WhatsApp’s policies

Your display name must adhere to three WhatsApp policies:

Your display name must not infringe any copyright or trademark. It cannot be deceptive or mislead people to think you are another business.

Moreover, WhatsApp has a list of banned products and services like tobacco, alcohol, live animals, and more that businesses may not sell using WhatsApp. If your products and services are related to these products but are not against WhatsApp’s policy, your display name must clearly reflect that. For example, if you have a veterinary clinic for pets, the display name must show that you are not selling pets, but rather services for pets. Here is an example:

  • Accepted: ABC Pets Clinic
  • Unaccepted: ABC Pets

You are allowed to have separate WhatsApp Business accounts for different divisions of your company. However, only those divisions that are in compliance with WhatsApp’s policies are allowed to have a WhatsApp Business account. In the example of the pet clinic, if you also sell prescription drugs for pets, you may not have a separate WhatsApp Business account for it, as WhatsApp does not allow the sale of drugs.

The display name must be specific

Your display name must not be too generic. In the example of the pets clinic, the name “Clinic”, for example, is not an acceptable display name. Generic geographical locations such as “Boston” are not acceptable either. Other generic names such as slogans, long descriptions, and people’s full names aren’t acceptable.

The name must be consistent with external branding

Your display name must be exactly the same as it appears on your company website and your marketing materials. Grammar mistakes, adding emojis, or symbols, and including trademark designs to your display name are not acceptable. Only names of cities, countries, or regions are allowed to be added to the name. In the case of the ABC Pets Clinic, here are acceptable and unacceptable variations:

  • Acceptable: ABC Pets Clinic (It is the exact name of the business)
  • Acceptable: ABC Pets Clinic Boston (Only the name of the city is added)
  • Unacceptable: ABC Clinic (The branding is changed by removing “Pets”)
  • Unacceptable: ABC Clinic Boston (The branding is changed by removing “Pets”)
  • Unacceptable: A B C Pets Clinic (You changed the branding by adding space between the letters)
  • Unacceptable: ABC Petz Clinic (“Petz” has a spelling error)

The name must have a clear relationship with your business

If the ABC Pets Clinic account is a test or a demo account, your display name must show that. For example, “ABC Pets Clinic Test Account”.

Let’s say that ABC Pets Clinic produces and sells pet collars with a separate branding, such as “Misha Collars”. The name “Misha Collars” is an acceptable display name as long as it is mentioned on the website of ABC Pets Clinic or another source. If the relationship between the brand and the business is not clear, one can use “by [company name].” In this case, the display name could be “Misha Collars by ABC Pets Clinic”. The name “Misha Collars” alone, if it is not mentioned on the website of ABC Pets Clinic or any other websites, is not acceptable.

Your display name must not contain

  • Grammar mistake
    Acceptable:
    ABC Pets Clinic
    Unacceptable:
    ABC Petz Clinic
  • All capital letters, except for acronyms. Only the first letter of each word can be capitalized. Conjunctions may not be capitalized.
    Acceptable:
    Sweet Treats or Tammy's Burritos and Tacos
    Unacceptable:
    SWEET TREATS* or Tammy's Burritos And Tacos
    Acceptable:
    ABC Pets Clinic (Only the first letters are capitalized.)
    Unacceptable:
    ABC PETS CLINIC
  • Have fewer than 3 characters:
    Acceptable:
    TGIF
    Unacceptable:
    TG
  • Have special characters such as ~!@#$%^&*()_+:;"'{}[]\|<>,/?
  • Your name cannot be in URL format.

The above formatting guidelines do not apply to businesses that already brand this way externally.

How to change your display name

You create your display name from your Business Solution Provider account. If you’d like to change it, you can do so from the BSP portal or from your Facebook Business account. 

You may change your display name after it has been approved. The steps you need to take for this depend on whether your business is an official business account (OBA; accounts that have a green tick) or not. If your business is an OBA, you need to contact direct support and provide the following information to change your display name:

  • Question topic: Request an official business account
  • Request type: Update OBA display name

If you don’t have an official business account, follow the steps below to change your display name:

  1. Go to https://business.facebook.com/ and log in to your account.
  2. Go to Settings. 

  1. On the next page click on Business settings. A new page will open.

  1. Under Accounts, select WhatsApp Accounts. Click on Settings and scroll down to see WhatsApp Manager.

5. Click the account that you’d want to change your display name for.

6. A new tab will appear. On the left-most menu and click Phone numbers.

7. Under the Name column, hover over your current display name and click the pencil icon.

8. In the new window that opens, type your new display name. Press Next.

If your business is not verified, you'll see a confirmation that your display name has been created and a new certificate is available for download immediately.

If your business is verified, in the Phone numbers section, your phone number will have a pending review label below Certificate. Once it's been approved, you'll see a View button. You can click it to see the available certificate for the phone number.

You can change your display name up to 10 times in 30 days.

Remember that the certificate for the new display name is only available for 14 days. If the certificate expires, you'll need to follow the steps above to submit the display name for review again.

Checklist for display name approval

☐ You’re not selling illegal or banned products and services.

☐ It’s specific and not generic.

☐ It’s not the full name of a person.

☐ It’s free from grammar mistakes unless the mistake is part of the original branding (Petz instead of Pets, or bASic instead of Basic).

☐ It’s not all capital. Only the first letters could be capitalized.

☐ It has a minimum of 3 characters.

☐ It doesn’t infringe on any copyright or trademark.

☐ It is not misleading or deceptive.

☐ It has a clear relationship with your business. (Ex. Misha Collars by ABC Pets Clinic)

☐ It’s consistent with your external branding.

☐ You have not changed the branding by adding or removing anything including a word, space, emoji, and symbols. Only adding the names of cities, regions, and countries are allowed.

☐ It doesn’t have any special characters such as ~!@#$%^&*()_+:;"'{}[]\|<>,/? unless the original branding has these characters.

☐ It’s not in URL format unless the original branding is in URL format.

Final thoughts

The display name is a mandatory field that you must fill in when creating a WhatsApp Business account. The name must adhere to certain policies of WhatsApp for it to be approved. For example, it must be consistent with your external branding and may not be deceptive or misleading. You are allowed to change your display name after it is approved up to 10 times every 30 days. 

You don’t need to have your display name approved by WhatsApp to start messaging your customers. However, if you’d like to increase your messaging limits, you must verify your Facebook Business account and have your display name approved. 

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about how WhatsApp can help you grow your business, please reach out to us on WhatsApp at: +13024070488

We also offer a free consultation session where we go through your use case, answer any questions you have about WhatsApp, and help you build a strategy to make the best out of the platform. Book a call with us here. We’d love to speak you:

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