WhatsApp Business API: Opt-in Policy Update for WhatsApp Notifications

 In Messenger Communication, News

WhatsApp is updating its opt-in policy for WhatsApp Notifications in the WhatsApp Business API. The update to the WhatsApp Business policy will be effective from July 9th. What does the update mean for WhatsApp? What are the consequences of the update for companies? And what are the privacy implications of the WhatsApp Business Policy update? These questions are answered briefly in this article.



1. Why is WhatsApp updating its opt-in policy for WhatsApp Notifications?

Previously WhatsApp’s business policy for the WhatsApp Business API for notifications included the following requirements:

Opt-in permissions must display unobscured labeling, including a visual element (e.g. a check box) next to the WhatsApp name and logo, with adjacent language clearly stating: (a) what type of information you will send to your customer; and (b) that you will message it via WhatsApp. You must give the person control over which WhatsApp number is used for the opt-in, such as by giving the person the ability to edit the phone number.

In the future some of these requirements will no longer apply:

Our policy will no longer dictate the below requirements:

  • Obtained on a third party channel
  • Opt-in permission obtained in-line and contextually during the relevant user flows
  • A visual element (e.g. a check box) next to the WhatsApp name and logo, with adjacent language stating type of information that will be messaged
  • Providing ability to edit which WhatsApp number is used for the opt-in

With the Opt-in Policy Update, WhatsApp aims to increase the use of WhatsApp Notifications by companies. Other notification requirements, such as different notification types, are not affected by the current update.

💡Tip: In our article WhatsApp Business: What are WhatsApp Notifications? you will learn everything about WhatsApp Notifications.


2. What does the opt-in policy update mean for companies?

It means a significant simplification for companies. Until now, WhatsApp has been dictating how the opt-in should be displayed on a website (Guide “Understanding How to Get Opt-in for WhatsApp” was already updated) and what it should include:

whatsapp-business-policy-opt-in-whatsapp-notifications

In practice, it has been shown that these and other requirements have made it more difficult for companies to embed such an opt-in and thus to offer notification via notifications at all. For companies, the WhatsApp Business Policy Update represents a clear simplification.


3. Does the WhatsApp Business Policy Update have any privacy implications?

Not at all! The GDPR is complied with. A company that wants to use WhatsApp Notifications to reach its customers directly will still require the customer’s consent in the future. This happens, for example, on the company’s website when the purchase or flight booking has been completed and the customer is asked by the company whether they want to receive the booking confirmation via WhatsApp.

💡Tip: In our editorial GDPR and WhatsApp? Am I allowed to use this for my customer communication at all? you will find out everything about WhatsApp and data protection.


4. Excerpts from the WhatsApp Business Policy Update for WhatsApp Notifications (from July 9, 2020)

Businesses are required to obtain opt-in before sending notifications to customers.

Updated requirements

  • Businesses must clearly state that a person is opting in to receive messages from the business over WhatsApp
  • Businesses must clearly state the business’ name that a person is opting in to receive messages from
  • Businesses must comply with applicable law

Key changes from existing policy

  • Our policy will no longer dictate the below requirements:
    • Obtained on a third party channel
    • Opt-in permission obtained in-line and contextually during the relevant user flows
    • A visual element (e.g. a check box) next to the WhatsApp name and logo, with adjacent language stating type of information that will be messaged
    • Providing ability to edit which WhatsApp number is used for the opt-in

Helpful tips

  • While our updated policy is more flexible, businesses should continue to optimize for the user experience while obtaining opt-in. For example, businesses should:
    • Explicitly call out the types of messages a person is opting into (e.g. delivery updates)
    • Avoid messaging people too frequently
    • Provide instructions for how customers can opt out and honor these requests
    • Monitor your quality rating, especially when rolling out new opt-in methods
  • As a reminder, only transactional notifications are currently allowed on the platform

💡Tip: You can participate in one of our free webinars at any time, for example on the WhatsApp Business API.


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