Understanding WhatsApp Business Conversation Based Pricing

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Learn all about WhatsApp Business Conversation Based Pricing. 

If you have been keeping up with what’s trending in the eCommerce industry, you probably know how important WhatsApp has become for marketing, sales and support functions at businesses. But as businesses start to explore the use of WhatsApp in different ways, it is also important to look into how much they invest in the messaging platform to start with. This is where understanding the WhatsApp conversation based pricing becomes important. 

What is the WhatsApp Business Conversation Based Pricing? 

When WhatsApp opened its platform to businesses, it used to charge on the basis of the WhatsApp templates created and used. But as of February 1, 2022, it changed its pricing model to conversation-based. 

The new WhatsApp pricing model is based on who initiates a conversation between the consumer and the business. In this case, there are two kinds of conversations and hence are priced differently: 

  • User-initiated WhatsApp conversations: These are the conversations wherein a consumer messages a business. When a business replies to their message within a 24-hour window, it gets categorised as user-initiated. Ecommerce businesses can send free-form messages within this 24-hour window to the consumer. You are allowed to send more than one message during this time period. 
  • Business-initiated WhatsApp conversations: These are the conversations wherein a business gets in touch with the consumer. They require making use of a WhatsApp message template to be able to send broadcasts, promotions and other such messages. Here we recommend awaiting a response from the consumer before sending them another message. 

It’s important to note that a conversation starts when the first business message in a conversation gets delivered - either one that is initiated by the business or one that is in response to a consumer. 

What is free tier conversations? 

Now that you know what the WhatsApp conversation-based pricing is, it is also important to know about Free Tier Conversations. 

Meta wants businesses to be able to explore the potential of WhatsApp for marketing, sales and supports. And hence, they keep the first 1000 conversations each month free. This is great for you to experiment what type of messages your consumers want on WhatsApp and the type of campaigns you can run to drive higher engagement from your WhatsApp list. 

To avail these free conversations, you need to have a WhatsApp Business account (WABA). These 1000 free conversations per month can be either user-initiated or business-initiated. 

The free tier is also refreshed on a monthly basis based on the timezone that is associated with your WABA account. 

Why did WhatsApp shift to conversation-based pricing from notification based pricing? 

As quoted by Meta and WhatsApp themselves, they want to focus on relationships between businesses and consumers more than a single message. The 24-hour time period is targeted at nudging as well as enabling businesses to provide fast and conversational experiences that customers want. 

What does the WhatsApp conversation based pricing mean? 

Meta wants WhatsApp to continue being a conversation channel - this means keeping the chat two-way, instead of making it a one way push of messages. They aim to make WhatsApp a go-to channel for consumers to reach out to the brands they make purchases from to quickly resolve their questions, queries and concerns. 

The WhatsApp conversation based pricing also focuses on keeping the conversation between consumers and businesses relevant - unlike other channels that have become spammy owing to the high frequency of notifications from brands. If eCommerce businesses understand the intent of WhatsApp policies and their pricing model, they can use it as a key strategy to build trust amongst their target consumers and deliver a personalised experience to customers. 

Here are some of the things that the WhatsApp conversation based pricing model will include: 

  • If you send multiple WhatsApp broadcast messages on WhatsApp within a 24-hour time period, you will only pay for a single conversation per user for initiating the conversation. 
  • If you send multiple messages over 24-hour periods, you will pay for each conversation based on the business-initiated conversation pricing. 
  • If you are using WhatsApp for customer support and responding to incoming user-initiated messages, you will be charged as per the user-initiated conversation-based pricing. 

Will the pricing differentiate based on the volume of messages sent? 

As we mentioned before, the prices for both user-initiated and business-initiated conversations are now fixed by WhatsApp and Meta. They remain unaffected by the volumes of messages a business chooses to send to its consumers or the number of messages that get exchanged between businesses and users in a 24-hour time period. 

Irrespective of the volume of messages sent during a 24-hour time period, you will have to pay a fixed amount for each conversation based on only two aspects: 

  • The user’s country code 
  • Type of conversation: User-initiated or Business-initiated 

What should businesses do to optimised their spend as per the WhatsApp conversation-based pricing? 

Now two things that we need to keep in mind here include - first, consumers not always will be the first ones to initiate a conversation; second, you may not always be able to send out campaigns or respond to messages within the 24-hour period. In both these cases, the amount of resources you spend on WhatsApp for Business, may increase as you scale. Here are a few things you can do to keep your WhatsApp costs optimised: 

  • Add multiple agents to manage WhatsApp: The very first thing you can do is add multiple agents to your WhatsApp dashboard. A good WhatsApp Business API solution provider allows multi-agent access with the ability to define their roles and restrictions. This helps businesses proactively tackle user-initiated conversations, leading to a natural chat between the two parties, which makes the most of the 24-hour period. 
  • Leverage WhatsApp chatbots: Another way to keep up the conversations even if you or your agents are not around, is to set up WhatsApp chatbots. QuickReply.ai comes with 40+ pre-built, customizable eCommerce chatbots to address the pre, during and post purchase customer journeys. This helps you gather the most information about consumers if the conversation is user-initiated or run follow-ups on WhatsApp broadcasts to increase the chances of conversions. 
  • Use segmentation to personalise WhatsApp broadcasts: To get a consumer to chat with you over a 24-hour period, you need to message them with context - this means keeping in mind their interests, intent and previous purchases. The only way to do this is to actively use WhatsApp segmentation with a solution like QuickReply.ai that reads consumer responses from every campaign you run to understand them better. 
  • Make the most of WhatsApp Business automations: Most eCommerce businesses tend to use the messaging platform to run promotions and hence run multiple WhatsApp broadcast campaigns. But they do not take into account the responses they may generate on these broadcast campaigns. It is important that you use automations like FAQs, order status and similar to tackle the same incase a response comes through. 

Make the most of WhatsApp conversation-based pricing! 

If you ask us, the move to conversation-based pricing is a positive move for both consumers and and businesses. It only requires you to think about the consumer experience and how you’d like them to interact with your brand as they explore the products you offer or the purchases they make. 

Here are some of the additional resources that can help you get started with conversational commerce using WhatsApp Business: 

Ready to get started with WhatsApp for business? 

Book a demo of QuickReply.ai today

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