Starting June 2023, WhatsApp will be moving to a use case based pricing model. This guide explains the changes and what to expect from the WhatsApp Business API with Twilio.
What is changing?
Meta will switch to a use case based pricing model for all businesses globally sending WhatsApp messages. These changes will go into effect on June 1st, 2023.
Business-Initiated Conversations and Template Categories
In the new pricing model, business-initiated conversations will be based on the use case of the conversation. The use case will be determined by the template category of the message used to initiate the conversation. WhatsApp will divide template categories into three types:
- Authentication: One-time passcodes.
- Marketing: Any business-initiated template that does not qualify as utility or authentication. Can include promotions, offers, informational updates, or invitations for customers to respond / take a certain action.
- Utility: Facilitate a specific request or transaction or update to a customer about a transaction (i.e. post-purchase notifications, billing reminders).
Currently, there is one fee per 24-hour business-initiated conversation, but with the new pricing model, each template category will start and have its own separate 24-hour conversation window and incur separate charges. For example, if a business sends a customer a utility message, they will be charged the utility category fee, but if 4 hours later, they send the customer a marketing message, they will also be charged the marketing category fee, and start a separate 24-hour window for marketing messages. However, if they send additional utility messages, they will not be charged again until 24 hours have passed and a new 24-hour window begins.
User-initiated conversations are started when a business responds to an inbound message from a user with a non-templated (i.e. freeform) response. These conversations will not change in price but will be renamed to “Service” conversations.
Free Entry Points and Free Conversations
Meta will increase the free window for WhatsApp conversations that start from ads that Click to WhatsApp and Facebook Page CTA from 1 to 3 days starting on March 1.
Starting June 1, only user-initiated conversations (i.e. service conversations) will be counted towards the first 1000 free conversations given to each WABA / business per month. Currently both business-initiated and user-initiated conversations count towards the monthly 1000 free conversations.
How does this impact Twilio's per message charges?
Twilio’s pricing model for WhatsApp is not changing. A separate fee is applicable depending on how a customer is using the WhatsApp Business API with Twilio:
- Programmable Messaging API - per message fee
- Conversations API - additional per MAU fee
- Flex - per seat or AUH fee, unlimited messages subject to fair use policy
How does this impact my business use case?
This pricing change can impact your business use case depending on your messaging patterns. Below are some examples of how this can impact your business:
- Frequent notifications for multiple use cases: If you are sending multiple messages within a 24-hour period for different use cases, eg. Authentication and Marketing to the same recipient, you will now incur a separate charge from WhatsApp for starting a conversation for each use case.
- Business-initiated conversations only: These conversations will no longer count towards the free 1000 conversations per month.
- Customer support: If you are responding to incoming user-initiated (i.e., service conversations) messages with a non-templated message, more of these conversations will fall into the free 1000 conversations per month.
For full details on this pricing change, see Meta’s Developer Documentation here.