Conversation-billing changes effective June 1, 2023

Neelke Stadler Updated by Neelke Stadler

On 1 June 2023 WhatsApp is changing how they bill conversations.

Businesses can initiate a conversation using a template message. To date the cost of a conversation was based on who initiated the conversation, i.e. the business or the user. From June 1, 2023 the category of the template message will define the conversation category, and the conversation category will determine the cost.

4 key changes effective June 1, 2023

  1. Four new conversation categories: What is currently known as business-initiated conversation will split into three new categories, i.e. utility, marketing and authorisation. And what is currently known as user-initiated conversations will be called service conversations. Each conversation category will have a different rate associated with it, varied based on the end-user country. customers are billed according to the USD rate card.
The first step towards implementing new conversation categories is an update to template categories. This change is already in progress, and you have until 15 May 2023 to appeal assigned categories. Be sure to read about these changes.
  1. Multiple billable conversation windows per user: One of the bigger changes is that it will be possible to have multiple billable conversations windows for one user. What does this mean? Any time a template message is delivered, it will result in a conversation charge unless it is sent in a conversation of the same category. For example, if a utility template is delivered during a service conversation, it will open a separate utility conversation open for 24 hours from the time the utility template is delivered. If a utility template is delivered during an open utility conversation, it will not open a new utility conversation or create a new charge. Have a look at the pricing explainer examples provided by WhatsApp.
  2. Free entry point conversation window extended to 72 hours: The free conversation window is being extended from 24 to 72 hours when a conversation starts from Facebook or Instagram ads that Click to WhatsApp or a Facebook page CTA for all businesses. This means businesses and users can continue their conversations, resulting in improved outcomes and higher conversions. 
  3. Business-initiated conversations will no longer be included in the free tier: Effective June 1, 2023, WhatsApp will continue to offer businesses a free tier of 1000 service (or user-initiated) conversations. However, business-initiated conversations will no longer be included in the free tier.

Further details on the 4 new conversation categories

WhatsApp's vision is to be how people and businesses communicate at every stage of the customer journey. To align the product experience and pricing with this vision, they are introducing new conversation categories:

There are three business-initiated conversation categories (all of which require customer opt in):

  • Utility conversations: Facilitate a specific, agreed-upon request or transaction or update to a customer about an ongoing transaction, including post-purchase notifications and recurring billing statements
  • Authentication conversations: Enable businesses to authenticate users with one-time passcodes, potentially at multiple steps in the login process (e.g., account verification, account recovery, integrity challenges)
  • Marketing conversations: Include promotions or offers, informational updates, or invitations for customers to respond / take action. Any conversation that does not qualify as utility or authentication is a marketing conversation.

The fourth category is service conversations: all user-initiated conversations will be categorised as service conversations, which help customers resolve enquiries.

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