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What is WhatsApp's conversational based pricing

What is WhatsApp’s Conversation-Based Pricing?

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WhatsApp Conversation-Based Pricing 

Earlier WhatsApp used to charge businesses on the basis of notifications. But from 1st February 2022, WhatsApp will charge businesses on the basis of conversations. Hence, WhatsApp is switching to a conversation-based pricing model from a message-based pricing model.

Let’s see how this conversation-based pricing model works:

There are two categories of WhatsApp Business API: User-initiated and Business initiated. 

User-initiated: deals with customer care, live chat and enquiries.

Business Initiated: deals with notifications, offers, announcements etc.

All conversations are measured in 24-hour sessions. These sessions start whenever a business delivers its first message. The conversation can be initiated by either business officials or a user.

The pricing depends on the user’s contact number. The rates for business–initiated conversations and user-initiated conversations will vary according to one’s region.

Free tier conversations 

The first 1000 conversations of each month will be free of cost. These conversations can either be business initiated or user-initiated.

Free entry Points Conversations

A conversation will be free of any cost, whenever users reach out to the business using call-to-action buttons. However, conversations must be initiated by users in order to avail of free entry points. Also, only the conversation that begins with the entry point is free of charge. The preceding conversations with the user will be charged.

Ads with “Click to WhatsApp” CTA will have standard pricing. Also, user-initiated conversation starting from the ad is free but not the ad itself.

Charges in User-initiated conversations vs. business-initiated conversations

Here are some real-life examples that provide you with a better insight into how user-initiated and business-initiated conversations are charged.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation with Anna, a hypothetical customer of Commercial Airways and Acme Cosmetics, an imaginary airline and online retailer. Anna is comfortable using WhatsApp to message Businesses because she is aware that it’s the fasted way to avail live chat and customer support.

User-Initiated Conversations:

1st scenario: Customer support or query enquiries in a 24-hour conversation session

Anna initiates a conversation with Commercial Airways to ask about an upcoming seat reservation. When the airline’s response is delivered, then the user-initiated conversation begins.

  • Messages exchanged within a 24-hour conversation aren’t charged individually. Also, there isn’t any limit on the number of messages that can be sent and received in a 24-hour session. This allows Commercial Airways to engage with its customers in a timely sequence, avoiding extra charges.
  • If the conversation is continued after the initial 24-hour session, then additional charges will be applied. The airline will have to send a new message template to start a new conversation, which will be charged as a business-initiated conversation.

2nd scenario: Customer support or query enquiries that calls for multiple 24-hour conversation sessions

  1. Anna wants to enquire about a package which she hasn’t received yet. She drops a message on WhatsApp to check in with Acme Cosmetics. When the response of the company is delivered, right then a user-initiated conversation begins.
  2. Suppose the initial 24-hour session expires and Anna still doesn’t get her query resolved. In that case, they can continue the conversation at a user-initiated rate as long as there isn’t a 24-hour gap between their last message exchange.

In this scenario, the company has to pay for two user-initiated conversations.

3RD Scenario: User-initiated conversation requires two message templates to lead two conversations

  1. Anna wants to enquire about a certain product she ordered from Acme Cosmetics.
  2. Acme Cosmetics has a Chatbot to provide instant customer support to deal with basic order details. Anna receives the required delivery details on WhatsApp. This leads to the beginning of a user-initiated conversation.
  3. After 24 hours, Acme Cosmetics sends a follow-up message template to Anna to inform her that her order has been delivered. This starts a business-initiated conversation.

Acme Cosmetic’s Bot sent her a message template after 24 hours after the last message exchange. Hence this will lead to the beginning of a business-initiated conversation.

Thus, in this scenario, Acme Cosmetics will have to pay for one user-initiated conversation and one business-initiated conversation.

Business Initiated conversations

4th scenario: Business initiates the delivery of a message template

  1. Commercial Airways sends fight-related announcements to their customers by sending notifications using message templates. This starts a business-initiated conversation.
  2.  Commercial Airways can send as many messages as they want within this 24-hour session and only one business-initiated conversation charge will be applied.
  3. They can send another template after the 24-hour session at the cost of another business-initiated conversation.

5th scenario: Business-initiated with user reply leading to a single conversation

  1. A business-initiated conversation begins when the online retailer of Acme Cosmetics sends a text message to the customer to inform them that their order has been confirmed.
  2. The retailer also enquires if they want to receive notifications about their product’s future whereabouts. The customer selects yes to receive timely notifications about their product. 

In this scenario, Acme Cosmetics is initially charged for a Business-initiated conversation. If the customer chose to send a response after 24 hours, then a user-initiated conversation will be generated. The generation and continuation of this user-initiated conversation will cost the company additional charges. 

How does this new pricing model impact my already existing business use case?

Your business case use will determine how this pricing bill will affect your usage.

Here are some examples to understand how this model might affect your business use case:

Sending Business Templates

Sending template messages will prove to be beneficial for you as pricing won’t be message-based. You can send many templates within a 24-hour session and pay for only one business-initiated conversation. 

Interactive conversation, customer support and chatbots

If you use 2-way conversations, provide customer support and use chatbots, then you will have to bear additional costs as you’ll have to pay for user-initiated messages. The conversation costs depend on the region of the user. If a user hailing from the USA starts a user-initiated conversation and your official WhatsApp number is an Indian number, then you will have to pay for the conversation as per the USA rates.  

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