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Notice: Changes to WhatsApp Template Approval Workflows (April 2023)

Starting April 1, 2023, WhatsApp will make changes to its template approval workflow. This guide explains the changes and what to expect from the WhatsApp Business API with Twilio.

Key terms

Legacy Templates: Templates submitted in the Twilio Console under Messaging > Senders > WhatsApp Templates.

Content API: API that enables users to create and send rich messaging content over any Twilio-supported messaging channel, not just WhatsApp. Documentation can be found here.

Content Template Builder: Interactive Template Builder that enables users to create, approve, and manage templates from the Twilio Console. Templates can be used on any supported channel, not just WhatsApp. Accessible via Messaging > Content Template Builder. Documentation can be found here.

What is changing?

Starting June 1, conversations will be priced by the category of the message template. For information on the pricing change, see our article here. In preparation for the pricing change, on April 1, Meta will start enforcing stricter template approval criteria. Meta will automatically update template categories on all existing message templates to the new categories: marketing, utility or authentication.

Template Categories

WhatsApp will start considering the category of the template to determine the price of business-initiated sessions. Templates will be categorized by WhatsApp based on the following criteria: 

  • Authentication: One-time passcodes.
  • Utility: Confirm or suspend an existing transaction, change or update a transaction, account, billing, or payment notification
  • 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.

More information about how templates will be used to determine price can be found here. For full details, see Meta's documentation.

Sample Submission Requirements

Templates with media and templates with placeholder variables will require a sample to be submitted. Templates with placeholders that do not contain a sample will not be accepted by Meta. Twilio will support samples in the following ways:

  • Twilio Console: The existing WhatsApp Templates experience under Messaging > Senders > WhatsApp Templates will support text templates with placeholders. Media templates, previously available in private beta, will no longer be supported through the WhatsApp Templates page.
  • Content Template Builder: Both media templates and text templates with placeholders will be supported through the Twilio Content Template Builder, under Messaging > Content Template Builder. This console experience supports WhatsApp and is Twilio's long-term omnichannel template solution.
  • Content API: Text templates with placeholders can be created with the Content API. Creation of templates with placeholders through the "Templates API" (private beta) will no longer be supported.  

We recommend adopting the Content Template Builder and Content API to continue to scale your WhatsApp use with resiliency to any potential future WhatsApp product and policy changes.

Templates with multiple languages

WhatsApp considers each template translation as a unique template subject to independent review. However, the WhatsApp Templates page in the Twilio Console reflects all translations as belonging to a single template. In a very small number of instances, this could result in a single template having more than one category. This may happen if nuances in language and inconsistent reviews by WhatsApp result in translations from different languages having different template categories. Twilio will always pass through the charge from WhatsApp based on the published fee and pricing information received programmatically by WhatsApp. To get a view of the category per template translation, we recommend using the Content Template Builder and Content API, which shows an individual template per translation.

Will existing templates be affected by this change?

This change only affects creation of new templates. There are no changes to existing templates with this update. 


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