WhatsApp Business API Template Submission Guide

WhatsApp Business API


A WhatsApp message template is a message format that you can use over and over again to message users once they have opted-in and given your app 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 in 48 hours or less, to maintain high-quality content and avoid spam. Once WhatsApp has approved your template, you can use the message template to send notifications.

Think of your 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 your costs because session messages that are sent out within the 24 hour window costs a lot less than template messages.

Templates use placeholder values that can be replaced with dynamic content inside double curly braces ({{...}}) 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

Your WhatsApp message templates must fall into one of the following categories. Templates that do not align clearly with these template types are more likely to be rejected by WhatsApp in the template approval process described below.

  • Account Update: Let customers know about updates or changes to their accounts.
  • Alert Update: Send important updates or news to customers.
  • 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

First, please note that the following are not allowed by WhatsApp’s Business API:

  • Marketing or promotional content This includes any offers, coupons, free gifts, upselling, cold call messages and/or surveys to collect data. Certain words that may make the template sound promotional may also cause it to be rejected.
    Note As of October 15, 2020, this rule does not apply to businesses registered in Mexico and Indonesia in the Facebook Business Manager.
  • Subscription messages Subscription content, including newsletters or blog post alerts, are not allowed on WhatsApp.

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."

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

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 was rejected, you will 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:

  • PROMOTIONAL: WhatsApp has deemed this to contain promotional or marketing content.
  • 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.
  • 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 resubmissions 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}}!

The following templates are considered promotional or spam, as they do not make it clear to the user why they are receiving this message:

  • I am Jenn, the virtual assistant.
  • We will put our platform up and running soon, I would like to get to know you better by asking 5 questions.
  • Do not worry, I will not share your answers with anyone.

These message templates contain promotional content. They were revised to remove this and so were subsequently approved:

  • Rejected:
    Ready! Thank you for your purchase of {{1}}. You can find your receipt at {{3}}. Download the App and get a $10 credit {{4}}.
  • Revised and approved:
    Thank you for your purchase of {{1}}. You can find your receipt at {{3}}.
  • Rejected:
    Hi {{1}}! Not sure how to activate your Prepaid Card? It is quick and easy! Get your new Prepaid Card in your pocket and start to enjoy all the advantages! Access at {{2}}.
  • Revised and approved:
    Hi {{1}}! Our records show that your new Prepaid Card is delivered. Reply “ACTIVATE” to activate your card now.

These message templates are promotional in nature:

  • Rejected:
    “...trying to touch base with you over text as I couldn’t connect with you either by phone or email...”
  • Rejected:
    Thank you for your booking. Now refer to your friends and earn credits. Ask your friends to book with code {{1}}.

Updates in Media Submission Process

WhatsApp now requests media samples to be submitted alongside templates that are categorized as ‘media’, due to an increase in spam-like media being sent out to customers.

  • Media templates that use images, videos, and documents now require a sample of the media to be uploaded along with the template content.
  • Templates being submitted are now required to have the number of variables defined, along with the sample content for each variable.
  • CTA buttons that contain dynamic links need to be submitted as link/{{variable}}, for example, www.tellephant.com/{{1}}. You will also need to provide an example of a complete link you’ll be using in the CTA button (for instance, www.tellephant.com/whatsapp-business-api/introduction)