WhatsApp Business Platform costs: everything you need to know
WhatsApp Business has changed its costs and prices in February 2022! Since then, companies have to pay per conversation. But: For WhatsApp users and small businesses, WhatsApp remains free! What are the changes exactly? How much does the WhatsApp Business Platform cost now, and what’s the new pricing worldwide? We sum up everything you need to know!
WhatsApp is the most popular messenger app in the world. More than two billion people chat on WhatsApp globally. It’s therefore not surprising that the messaging service is also an important communication channel for companies. However, if you want to take full advantage of WhatsApp’s capabilities — sending newsletters, for example — you need to use the WhatsApp Business Platform through a provider like MessengerPeople by Sinch.
In February 2022, WhatsApp introduced a new pricing model for the Business Platform (former API). We explain what has changed, and what the new pricing model looks like. But first, the most significant part: For 96% of all customers, nothing will change. On the contrary, there are even new, free opportunities!
Overview: WhatsApp Business costs
Before we go dive into the changes of the new pricing model, let’s have a look at the most important details first.
- Nothing will change for 96% of all MessengerPeople by Sinch customers. There are even new, free opportunities!
- The new pricing model differentiates whether businesses or users start the conversation.
- In both cases, companies will have costs for WhatsApp Business. However, the pricing differs!
- WhatsApp no longer calculates the costs for companies per message, but per 24-hour chat window.
- In these 24 hours, costs are incurred only once.
- WhatsApp Business costs vary, depending on the country code of the recipient’s phone number.
- WhatsApp Business costs are only charged when the company gets involved in a conversation, either by responding to a request, or by sending a WhatsApp push message to customers!
- 1,000 conversations are free for companies per month and per WhatsApp Business account.
- Conversations that start on a Meta-owned service, like Facebook or Instagram ads are also free.
- There are still no costs for your customers or private WhatsApp use!
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Conversations through the WhatsApp Business API are now divided into two categories, user-initiated messages and business-initiated messages, with different prices.
- User-initiated: The user writes first, like a message to customer care or general support inquiries.
- Business-initiated: The business sends a message first, like post purchase notifications.
All conversations are measured in 24-hour increments, or “sessions” that start whenever the first message has been delivered to a user by a business. The first message can be a response to a user inquiry, or a message template that is being delivered.
Charges for conversations are based on the end user’s phone number. Rates for business-initiated conversations and user-initiated conversations vary by market (country or region).
The prices for a WhatsApp Business conversation / session vary by country. The costs (here in US dollars) are based on the country code of the end user’s phone number.
- The cost for a user-initiated conversation in the UK is currently $0.0388.
- For a busines- initiated conversation, the cost in the UK is currently $0.0647.
- The cost for a user-initiated conversation in India is currently $0.0040.
- For a business-initiated conversation, the cost in India is currently $ 0.0066.
- The cost for a user-initiated conversation in the US and Canada is currently $0.0088.
- For a business-initiated conversation, the cost in the US is currently $0.0147.
💰 You can find the current WhatsApp Business costs for all other countries in the world in the WhatsApp price list.
The first 1,000 conversations per month and per WhatsApp Business account are free. For the thousand conversations, however, it doesn’t matter whether these are conversations initiated by customers or by companies. The free limit is based on a WhatsApp business profile, and not on the WhatsApp number.
In addition, there are no WhatsApp business costs if a user starts the conversation via Facebook or Instagram advertising through a click-to-WhatsApp ad or click-to-chat ad. Even if the WhatsApp conversation starts with the WhatsApp button on the Facebook page, the conversation is free.
For the vast majority of businesses that use a Business Solution Provider to access the WhatsApp Business Platform, nothing changes. And: there are actually new opportunities!
Under the old pricing model, you had to pay for each business-initiated message under the old pricing model. However, the 1,000 free monthly conversations can now be used to communicate even more proactively with customers.
To show what the new WhatsApp Business costs actually look like, we have created four different scenarios. For the following examples, we use a fictitious user, Anne, a customer of Commercial Air (a fictitious airline) and Kicks (a fictitious online shoe retailer).
Scenario 1: Customer support or general support request within a conversation session (24 hours)
- Anne sends Commercial Air a message at 1:09 PM with a question about an upcoming booking. NO COST.
- The response message at 3:30 PM from Commercial Air starts the 24-hour session. There is a one-time cost for Commercial Air for a “user- initiated conversation”.
- Anne says “thank you”. NO COST.
⚡ Until the next day at 3:29 PM, ALL further messages in this chat are FREE of charge!
🤝 This will motivate Commercial Air to handle support requests in a timely manner, and exchange as many messages as necessary to resolve their concerns within the 24-hour session.
💡 If there’s a time gap of more than 24 hours after Anne’s last message, only a message in the form of message templates / template messages from the company is possible. However, this is free, because it’s still in the 24-hour session window.
Only the following day at 3:31 PM a new 24-hour session would start, and Commercial Air would be charged again. c
- If Anne has another question = costs for user-initiated conversation
- If Commercial Air sends, for example, a message about a flight change = costs for business-initiated conversation!
Scenario 2: User-initiated conversation leads to two conversations (message template required)
In this scenario, Anne receives the information she needs about her order, and Kicks pays for a conversation started by the user.
- Anne is checking an order at Kicks at 1:13 PM. NO COSTS.
- Kicks has set up a bot that can answer simple order inquiries. The bot sends Anne details about her delivery at 1:13 PM. One-time COSTS for Kicks for a user-initiated conversation.
- The next day, the Kicks bot lets Anne know that her order has been delivered at 3:45 PM. Costs for Kicks for a business-initiated message because the first bot answer and Anne’s last answer were sent over 24 hours ago.
⏲ If the Kicks bot needs longer than 24 hours to answer Anne about the expected delivery time after Anne’s first message, a new conversation starts.
⚡ Kicks also has to use a message template because more than 24 hours have passed since Anne’s last message.
💰 In this case, Kicks has to pay WhatsApp Business for a user-initiated and a business-initiated message.
Scenario 3: The company starts the conversation using a template
In this scenario, Commercial Air wants to let Anne know that her flight will be 30 minutes late, and later send her a message to tell her that her flight leaves from gate 3B.
- If a flight is late or the flight status changes, Commercial Air sends customers a message, if they chose to be notified via WhatsApp templates. COSTS for Commercial Air for a business-initiated conversation.
- If you send two message templates during one session (24 hours), there will be no additional WhatsApp Business costs. NO additional COSTS because the first message was sent less than 24 hours ago.
For delivering these two message templates to Anne within a 24-hour window, the WhatsApp Business costs for Commercial Air amount to one business-initiated message.
Scenario 4: The company starts a conversation, and Anne answers (leads to one single conversation)
- If a customer orders something at Kick’s online shop, the e-commerce company sends a message to confirm the order. Kicks pays for a business-initiated conversation.
- The customer now chooses “yes” as an answering option to receive further messages around their order. NO COSTS.
In this case, Kicks pays for the one conversation that they started. If Anne answers directly, and it leads to a conversation, this chat is free of charge (for 24 hours).
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WhatsApp Business costs FAQs
Q: What pricing will apply in Mexico, where the conversation-based pricing test is running?
A: For Mexico, the new pricing model was rolled out on February 1, 2022. Current rates (2022) are:
- user-initiated conversations: $ 0.0105
- business-initiated conversations: $ 0.0349
Q: Why was 24 hours chosen as the time frame for conversations?
A: Research indicates that most customer support tickets across industries are resolved in less than an hour when using chat or messaging.
However, clients also report that people like the asynchronic nature of communicating with businesses on WhatsApp. The 24-hour window was defined to provide people and businesses the flexibility to complete a conversation across a broad range of use cases.
Other messaging apps
Q: Are similar changes planned for other Facebook business messaging products, like the Messenger API and Messenger API for Instagram?
A: These changes apply only to the WhatsApp Business Platform, and there are no plans to apply this pricing model to other Meta business messaging products at this time (2022).
Q: How does WhatsApp count the 1,000 free conversations towards conversation volume each month?
A: The first 1,000 conversations a business engages in each month will be free. The free conversations are applied at the WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) level. This includes both user-initiated and business-initiated conversations.
Q: Will businesses have to pay for conversations that initiate from Ads that Click to WhatsApp or Page CTAs on Facebook?
A: The first conversation that initiates from Ads that Click to WhatsApp or a Page CTA on Facebook will be free of charge.
Q: Are conversations that initiate from Click-to-WhatsApp ads or page CTAs on Facebook free of charge in all countries?
A: Yes. WhatsApp is making the first 24-hour conversation that initiates from Ads that click to WhatsApp or Page CTAs on Facebook free of charge in all countries.
Q: Do the free conversations from Click-to-WhatsApp ads or page CTAs on Facebook count toward a business’s 1,000 free conversations each month?
A: No. The 1,000 free conversations are in addition to any free conversations from Click-to-WhatsApp ads or Page CTAs on Facebook.
Price per volume
Q: Will WhatsApp continue to have tiered pricing based on volume?
A: No. Market rates for both user-initiated and business-initiated conversations will be flat rates with no volume tiering.
Q: Does the customer support window still apply in the new pricing model?
A: Yes. Businesses are still required to use a message template whenever sending a message to a user more than 24 hours after the last user message was received.
Q: If a business sends more than one message template in an open 24-hour conversation session, will that result in more charges?
A: No, if a conversation session is open with a user, any message whether a message template or free-form message will not result in additional charges. The policy of only allowing free-form messages within 24 hours of the last user message will still apply.
Q: What if a business receives a message from a user, but does not reply. Will the business be charged for a conversation?
A: No, conversations will only be charged after the first business reply to a user message is delivered.
Q: What if a business responds to a user message within the 24-hour conversation session, but the business’s message is not delivered until after the conversation session closes? Will the business be charged for another conversation?
A: No. There will be no additional conversation charge if a message is sent to a user in an open 24-hour conversation session, but only delivered after the 24-hour conversation session closes.
Q: What if a business is the victim of malicious attacks, unwanted messages or spam? Will I have to pay for receiving these unwanted messages?
A: A conversation session does not initiate until the first business reply to a user message is delivered. Businesses will only be charged for a user-initiated conversation when their first reply to a user-initiated message is delivered.
For more information about pricing, please visit the Facebook developers page.