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How to Make Sure WhatsApp Approves Your Message Templates

Niloofar Kavousi
October 20, 2022

If you want to start a conversation with your customers outside of the 24-hour customer service window, you must use WhatsApp message templates. Before you can send the templates to your customers, WhatsApp must approve them and your customers must give you consent to receive messages from you over WhatsApp. We have talked about these in more detail in our article “The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates”. In addition to that, approved messages must maintain a “High Quality” rating to continue to be usable, meaning you should not receive many blocks and reports from the customers after sending them a message. The reason WhatsApp has such restrictions is to ensure that customers receive relevant messages and are not spammed. Therefore, not all message templates are accepted. In this article, we talk about the best practices and requirements to follow to get your message templates approved and what to do if they are rejected.

Components of a WhatsApp Message Template

Whether you use Facebook WhatsApp Manager or a customer support platform like Rasayel to submit a template for approval, there are a few compulsory and optional fields to consider. All of them have certain requirements that must be fulfilled for a template to be approved.

Compulsory Fields

  • Message template name - This is the name you choose for your template. It can include lowercase letters, numbers, and underscores only. The name is limited to 512 characters. Space, capital letters, or other characters are not acceptable.
    Examples of valid names: welcome_message, away_message
    Examples of invalid names:  Welcome_message (Capital letters are not allowed), away message (Spaces are not allowed)
  • Template category - There are 3 categories, namely Marketing, Transactional and One-Time Password for any template. If your message has promotional content, select Marketing as a category. Messages like order updates, payment confirmations, and alike fall into the Transactional category.
  • Template content (body) - This is the actual message that your customers see. It is limited to 1024 characters. We talk about its requirements below.
  • Template language - You must choose a language that matches the template content. You may have a message template in more than one language. In that case, select all of the languages that apply. All of the translations of a message are under one template name only.

Optional Fields

  • Header - If you decide to include it, you must select its type (text, photo, video or document). For text-based headers, the maximum number of characters is 60.
  • Footer
  • Buttons - You may choose up to 3 buttons. Each button is limited to 20 characters.

Please refer to How to Create and Submit a Template for Approval from Your WhatsApp Business Account in this article to see these fields in WhatsApp Business Manager.

Template Content (Body)

The body is the most important part of your message template. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that your templates have the right context, be relevant, and if necessary, include a call to action. For example, let’s say that a customer has bought a product from you. You could send them a template message like the one below:

Dear customer, your purchase has been confirmed and we received your payment. Thank you for shopping with us.

The message above is in the right context and relevant to the customer because you are confirming their purchase and payment right after they bought something from you. A call-to-action is not needed here.

Another situation would be to invite your current customers to visit your new products:

Hi there! We have some great news 🥳 We just added a new feature to our software that lets you run campaigns on WhatsApp. To make use of this new feature, please click here and follow the instructions. We hope you enjoy it ♥️

If you send the message above to the customers who are already using your software, then it is relevant to them. Since they are already familiar with it, informing them about a new feature is in the right context. You are also asking them to take an action that is relevant to them, making use of the new feature.

If you are offering goods and services on WhatsApp, make sure that your message template content complies with WhatsApp’s Commerce Policy. WhatsApp considers all messages and media related to your goods or services, including any descriptions, prices, fees, taxes and/or any required legal disclosures, to constitute transactions. Your transactions must comply with WhatsApp’s Commerce Policy. 

Moreover, your message must comply with WhatsApp’s Business Policy. For example, you cannot ask customers to send you sensitive data such as full-length individual payment card numbers. Requesting partial identifiers such as the last four digits of their credit card is OK.

Message Template Format

The template that you submit can contain placeholders for variables such as the name of a customer. Having placeholders for variables and parameters lets you personalize your message before you send it. The correct format for a placeholder is two curly braces on either side of a number. No other format or character such as #, $, or % is accepted. For example

Hello {{1}}, we have received your payment. Thank you for your interest in our services.

In the example above, {{1}} is a placeholder for the variable of customer name.

A template could have more than one placeholder. In that case, the strings of numbers in the braces must be sequential. Here are examples of acceptable and unacceptable templates:

Acceptable (All variables are in numerical sequence):

Hello {{1}}, We have received your payment of {{2}}. The expected delivery date is {{3}}.
Unacceptable (The variable {{2}} is missing):

Hello {{1}}, We have received your payment of {{3}}. The expected delivery date is {{4}}.

If you are using WhatsApp with Rasayel to create a campaign, these variables can be dynamically changed. For example, let’s say that you have created a message template with a placeholder for the name of the recipient, and you want to automate sending this template to many of your contacts as part of a marketing campaign. With Rasayel, the names for the placeholder will dynamically change to match the name of each recipient.

Samples

It is highly recommended that you include a sample before submitting your template for approval. With a sample, you provide examples for any media or text variables that your template requires. Make sure these are examples and do not include any confidential or personal information of your customers. This way, you help the WhatsApp approval team see how your template will appear to customers and how it helps them. If your template is rejected, you’d need to submit a sample anyway, so you may want to include it already with your first submission. 

Marketing Opt-out Button

We suggest that you add an opt-out button to your marketing templates. This gives users an option to opt out of your marketing messages without having to block your business and affecting your template quality rating. As a result, you may be able to scale messaging volume faster on WhatsApp. Please refer to Facebook's official guidelines for further details on the benefits of the marketing opt-out button and guidance on when to add it.

How to Create and Submit a Template for Approval from Your WhatsApp Business Account

You can create a template using your WhatsApp Business Account. If you are using a customer communication platform like Rasayel, you could also create your template from there. Please, read our article The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business to learn about the steps of creating a message template on Rasayel.

Follow the steps below to create a template for your WhatsApp Business account:

  1. Go to business.facebook.com and log in to your business account.
  2. Under Business settings, click on Accounts, followed by WhatsApp Accounts, and then Settings. Scroll down to see WhatsApp Manager and click on it.
  1. A tab will open. Click the 3-dot icon and select Manage message templates.
  1. On the next page, select Create Template.
  1. On the following page, select the Category of your message template, write a Name for it and choose all of the Languages in which you would like to write your message. Select Continue to go to the next step.
  1. On the next page, write the Body of your message. If necessary, select a Header, Footer, and Buttons.
  1. You can add a sample for the variables and parameters of your message. 
  1. Press Submit. That’s it!

 

Right after submitting your template, its status becomes “In-Review”. If it is accepted, the status changes to “Active - Quality pending” on your WhatsApp Manager. Templates in these states can be used immediately. If the template is rejected, the status will be “Rejected”.

Whenever the status of your template changes, WhatsApp notifies you via email and WhatsApp Manager notification.

Visit Meta’s official page to see the list of possible statuses for templates.

If you’d like to learn about how to submit a template for approval via a WhatsApp team inbox like Rasayel, please read The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business.

Common Rejection Reasons

Here is the list of common reasons for template rejection: 

  • Variable parameters are missing or have mismatched curly braces. The correct format is {{1}}, without any spaces.
  • Variable parameters contain special characters such as a #, $, or %.
  • Variable parameters are not sequential. For example, {{1}}, {{2}}, {{4}}, {{5}} are defined but {{3}} does not exist.
  • The message template contains content that violates WhatsApp’s Commerce Policy
  • The message template contains content that violates WhatsApp’s Business Policy.
  • The content contains potentially abusive or threatening content, such as threatening a customer with legal action or threatening to shame them publicly.
  • You selected the wrong category for your template. For example, you selected a message about promoting your products under the Transactional category.
  • The language of your message does not match the language you selected when submitting your template.
  • Your template has grammatical or spelling errors.
  • The name of your template does not reflect the content of your template.
  • The message template is a duplicate of an existing template. If a template is submitted with the same wording in the body and footer of an existing template, the duplicate template will be rejected.

What to Do If Your Template Gets Rejected

If your template is rejected you can either edit it and submit it again or appeal the decision.

Follow the steps in the Meta Business Help Center if you want to edit a rejected template. After you edit and submit your template, it will be reviewed again. If approved, you can start to use it. 

If you are a Rasayel user, your need to edit your rejected message on your WhatsApp Business Account. If approved, the changes to the message will automatically be updated on Rasayel and you can use the template.

If your template is rejected and you would like to appeal, you need to submit a sample. You can appeal using your WhatsApp Manager. Follow the steps under Appeal in WhatsApp’s message template guidelines.

Limitations

  • You can edit a template only when it is in a state of Approved, Rejected, or Paused in your WhatsApp Manager.
  • A template can be edited once per day, up to 10 times per month.
  • WhatsApp Business Accounts can only create 100 message templates per hour.
  • WhatsApp Business Accounts can have up to 250 message templates. That means 250 message template names, each of which can have multiple language translations. For example, a message template called welcome_message translated into two languages counts as a single message template in regards to this limit.

Quality Rating

WhatsApp sets a quality rating for every message template. Quality ratings are based on user feedback signals over the past seven days, such as blocks, reports, and the reasons users provide when they block a business. A message template's quality rating will appear in the WhatsApp Manager whenever it has an Active status and will be displayed after a hyphen in the message template's status:

  • Active - Quality pending (highlighted in green)
  • Active - High quality (highlighted in green)
  • Active - Medium quality (highlighted in yellow)
  • Active - Low quality (highlighted in red) 

Any approved WhatsApp message template starts off as “Active - Quality pending”. As long as a message template has an Active status on WhatsApp Manager (or appears as ‘Accepted’ on Rasayel), regardless of the quality rating, it can be sent to customers. If the status changes to anything else, the template cannot be used. For a full list of possible statuses seen on WhatsApp Manager, please check Meta’s Message Templates page.

Final Thoughts

Prior to sending a message template, you must get it approved by WhatsApp. Your template must follow a specific format and its content must be relevant to your audience, in the right context and, if needed, have a call to action. If a message is rejected, you can edit and resubmit the message or appeal. Once a message is approved, it can be used immediately and indefinitely as long as it maintains a decent quality, meaning not many people report or block you after receiving the message.

If you’d like to learn more about Rasayel and how it could help you support your customers using WhatsApp, feel free to book a call with us. For North America and South America, book a call here. For Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, please book a call here.

Further Readings

All About Interactive WhatsApp Message Templates (To be published next week)

The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business

23 Best WhatsApp Message Templates for Your eCommerce Business

27 WhatsApp-Approved Common Message Templates to Get You Started on WhatsApp

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