Facebook has applied a new pricing plan for messages sent on WhatsApp Business API. At a glance, the changes will see WhatsApp applying a conversation-based pricing system. After conducting some testing in Mexico for a year, Facebook has announced that this change will take effect from 1 February 2022.
This change also sees calculations of costs now based on the number of conversations carried out instead of charging per template or session messages anymore.
There are also two categories of conversations: Business-Initiated and User-Initiated
Comparisons with Previous Pricing plan
Previously, all WhatsApp Business API users were charged based on:
- Template Messages Used: These are messages sent by businesses to customers using template messages, which usually requires pre-approval from Facebook through the Qiscus Multichannel Chat. The template messages can contain invitations, invoices, promotions, One-Time Passwords (OTPs), and many more. Businesses will be charged for every template message successfully sent to the customers.
- Session Messages: These are all the messages initiated or as a response from the customer to businesses. Each session usually lasts for 24 hours from the last message by the customers. Businesses would not need any template messages to respond to such customer messages. Businesses were also not charged for sending these messages for as long as the session is still valid.
However, for the new pricing plan, businesses will be charge based on every conversation they initiate. The session will start from the business send a message to the customer for the first time and will end after 24 hours. During this session, each business or customer can send the message in a free form without any additional cost other than the charge for initiating the message.
The conversational charges are divided into two types:
- Business-Initiated: This is when the conversation is initiated by the business. Using the template message that has been pre-approved by Facebook to initiated the conversation, the initiation starts from the moment the business or brand sends out the message to customers and will end after 24 hours from the time the first message had been sent out. During this conversation, business can send as many messages to the customers as possible without incurring any additional charges apart from the initiation cost.
- User-Initiated: This conversation type is when a customer sends a message to a business or brand first. Businesses are able to reply to this message type without having to use a pre-approved message template. Charges are incurred from the moment the business replies to the customer and ends after a 24-hour period from the time the business sends a response.
Simulations of the Different Message Types
- Scenario 1 (Business-Initiated): A business or brand sends a message to customers and incurs a charge
- A business sends a new message to a customer using a template message that has been pre-approved by Facebook. In this situation, the Business-Initiated message charge will be incurred during the 24 hour period this conversation is on-going..
- As the message is still within 24-hour period from the very first message the business has sent, this message will not incur any further costs until 24 hours is up.
- Scenario 2 (User-Initiated Charge): A brand of business incurs a charge for every time a customer sends them a message first.
- As the customer has initiated a message, the business will be not charged until it responds to the customer
- The brand or business is able to respond to the customer’s message without using a pre-approved template. Once the business replies, the User-Initiated conversation begins and the business will be charged with the User-Initiated cost
- Within the next 24 hours from the time of the business’ first response to the customer, the business can send any amount of messages to the customer repeatedly without any additional costs
- The User-Initiated conversation will end on Wednesday, 16 December 2021 at 08:18, 24 hours from the business’ first response
- Scenario 3: A Business will be charged with User-Initiated and Business-Initiated costs
- The customer initiates the conversation
- The business responds to the customer without using any template messages. At this time, the User-Initiated conversation has started and the business will be charged with the User-Initiated cost
- The User-Initiated conversation ended on Wednesday, 16 December 2021 at 08:18
- The business then initiated the conversation by using a Facebook-approved template message after the initial User-Initiated conversation has ended. The Business-Initiated conversation then now begins and the business will be charged with the Business-Initiated cost
- As the business has sent the message to the customer using a pre-approved template message within 24 hours from the first Business-Initiated conversation, the business will be not charged further for this message
Please note that the above changes will take effect from 1 February 2022. If you require further clarification on these new changes of the WhatsApp Business API, visit this documentation page by Facebook. You can also contact our team via this link.