WhatsApp Business API Template Submission Guide

WhatsApp Business API


A WhatsApp message template is a message format that you can repeatedly use to message users once they have opted-in and given your business permission to send them messages. To use a message template, you must first submit it to WhatsApp. WhatsApp reviews and approves each message template, typically 48 hours or less, to maintain high-quality content and avoid spam. Once WhatsApp has approved a submitted template, you can use the message template to send notifications to your customers.

Think of a template message as a conversation starter; the goal is to convert this initial message into a two-way conversation when the user replies. Two-way conversations are considered higher value because you are engaging with your end-user. In addition, it reduces costs because session messages sent out within the 24-hour window cost a lot less than template messages.

Templates use placeholder values that can be replaced with dynamic content inside double curly brackets ({{...}}) when the message is sent:

Template: Your login code for {{1}} is {{2}}.

Example: Your login code for Tellephant is 12345.

Note: The actual content of a variable can’t contain the following:

  • New lines
  • Tabulators
  • More than four consecutive spaces.

WhatsApp Notification Categories

WhatsApp sorts templates into the following categories.

  • Account Update: Let customers know about updates or changes to their accounts.
  • Alert Update: Send important updates or news to customers. You can even send out promotional alerts, and use templates to:
    • Announce sales or new products with vouchers and discounts
    • Recommend products based on a customer’s buying history
    • Remind customers about abandoned carts, with discount offers
    • Notify customers about items being back in stock
  • Appointment Update: Send confirmations, reminders, or other updates to customers about their appointments.
  • Auto-Reply: Send auto-replies to customers when your business isn’t online or available to respond right away.
  • Issue Resolution: Respond to questions, concerns, or feedback from customers about your business.
  • Payment Update: Send a message to customers about their payment.
  • Personal Finance Update: Send a message to customers about their personal finances.
  • Reservation Update: Send confirmations, reminders, or other updates to customers about their reservations.

Template Approval Criteria

Your template text should make it clear to the end-user why they received your message. You can remind them of the reason why they originally granted you permission to send the messages. For example:

"Hi {{1}}, thanks for your order {{2}} placed on {{3}}. Your order has shipped. You can get a tracking update any time by replying TRACK."

While you can send out promotional messages, the rules for sending out these messages still apply:

Including Links in Templates

You may send URLs in a template, e.g., “Thanks for registering with My Business. To continue click on https://app.example.com”.

If you have an Official WhatsApp Business Account, recipients will see a link preview in the message.

If you have another WhatsApp Business Account, recipients will not see a link preview if they have not added the business to their contact list. Recipients can add their business account by clicking the Add as a Contact button in the WhatsApp interface. As soon as they do this, the link previews will appear retroactively, and all future links will display previews.

Submitting Media Templates

WhatsApp requests media samples to be submitted alongside templates that are categorised as ‘Media’:

The Approval Period

Typically, templates are approved by WhatsApp within 48 hours. If you are experiencing delays, please write to us at hello@tellphant.com and include the name and content of the template you created.

Revising Rejected Message Templates

If your message template were rejected, you would see a rejection reason code in the Tellephant Console specifying why WhatsApp rejected it. You may revise your rejected template and submit a new one to replace the rejected template at any time.

These are the rejection reasons that WhatsApp has disclosed to date:

  • TAG_CONTENT_MISMATCH: The language and/or template category selected don’t match the template content.
  • INVALID_FORMAT: Placeholders or other elements that were formatted incorrectly. Spelling/punctuation/grammar errors can also get rejected.
  • ABUSIVE_CONTENT: Message contains abusive content, or content not in the chosen language. Spam-like messages will also be rejected for this reason.

If you feel your templates are being rejected by mistake and re-submissions continue to be rejected, please write to us at hello@tellephant.com explaining the issue in detail. Tellephant can request that WhatsApp reconsider the rejected template.

WhatsApp supports up to 250 templates per account by default. We recommend starting with a handful to get started faster. If you need more than 250 templates, write to us at hello@tellephant.com. WhatsApp reviews requests for higher template limits within 2-4 weeks and may approve a higher limit of 1500 templates at their discretion.

Rejected Message Templates

WhatsApp will not approve templates with floating parameters (templates with just parameters and no text). Please surround the parameters with information so it’s clear what kind of data is inserted. 

For example, the following templates don’t provide sufficient detail on how they will be used (we’re referring to {{1}} and {{2}} in the last example as floating parameters):

  • Reminder: {{1}}
  • {{1}} was added
  • {{1}}, {{2}}!

Note: Templates have a character limit of 1024 characters. Emojis take up two characters in the template. Additionally, the character limit is applicable even when you send out the message to the end-user. So while your template might be below 1024 characters at the time of submission, if it crosses 1024 characters along with the variable content, the message will fail to go through.