Managing Customer Opt-Ins on WhatsApp

October 15, 2020 (Updated)


As an official WhatsApp business solution provider, we get lots of questions about WhatsApp opt-ins. Here’s a simple guide to collecting opt-ins on WhatsApp. 

Managing Customer Opt-Ins On WhatsApp with Hubtype

Types of WhatsApp business messages

First, it’s important to understand that there are two types of messages that businesses can send on WhatsApp.

  1. Reactive Messages
  2. Proactive Messages

Reactive messages, or session messages, are sent in response to a customer inquiry. This includes anyone who initiates a chat with you on WhatsApp. 

Proactive messages, on the other hand, are notifications sent by businesses to customers. This includes updates, alerts, and transactional notifications. 

WhatsApp has different rules for each message type. Let’s review them. 

Reactive Messages

If a person initiates a chat with you, you need to respond to them within 24 hours to avoid getting charged by WhatsApp. This is known as the Customer Service Window. 

The Customer Service Window starts after the last message is sent to you by that person. During this period, you can communicate freely with your customer, with no limitations on the content or type of your messages.

The session ends 24 hours after the customer’s last message. From there, messages are considered proactive messages. 

Proactive Messages

Proactive messages are a bit more complex. 

First, Businesses are required to get an opt-in before sending proactive notifications to customers. This applies to anyone who has not initiated a chat with your business in the last 24 hours.

Second, proactive messages need to follow a message template format in accordance with Facebook guidelines. These templates must be approved by Facebook. If you’re working with Hubtype, we take care of that approval process for you. 

How to collect opt-ins on WhatsApp

You can collect opt-ins on WhatsApp and off WhatsApp. Here are some common examples:

  • On your website. Customers can opt to receive messages via your website. For instance, if they’re buying a product on your site, they might wish to receive shipping notifications via WhatsApp.
  • During automated phone recordings. If you’re using interactive voice response (IVR) flows, instead of having your customers being left on hold, ask them if they’d like to receive support on WhatsApp.
  • On WhatsApp. If you’re already communicating with a customer on WhatsApp reactively, you can ask them to opt in to receive additional notifications. 

Opt-in requirements

WhatsApp requires businesses to do the following when collecting opt-ins: 

  • Clearly state that a person is opting in to receive messages from the business over WhatsApp.
  • Clearly state the business’s name that a person is opting in to receive messages from.
  • Comply with applicable law.

Message template guidelines

Message templates cannot be promotional in nature. They must fall into one of the following categories: 

  • account update
  • payment update
  • personal finance update
  • shipping update
  • reservation update 
  • issue resolution
  • appointment update 
  • transportation update
  • ticket update
  • alert update
  • auto-reply

Where does GDPR come in? 

Thankfully, WhatsApp’s opt-in requirements are in-line with GDPR. The GDPR states that anyone processing data on behalf of a customer must receive their consent to do so. 

WhatsApp also protects businesses from privacy issues by requiring that they work with an official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider. 

WhatsApp Business Solution providers, like Hubtype, are required to be GDPR compliant. Through our dedication to information security, rigorous testing, and strict adherence to global privacy standards, our partners gain the confidence they need to serve customers on messaging at scale. 

Getting started with the WhatsApp Business API

Again, WhatsApp requires those interested in using the Business API to work with an official solution provider. Only 65 companies worldwide are official WhatsApp Business Solution Providers. Hubtype happens to be one of them.

Apart from helping businesses comply with opt-ins and GDPR regulations, we also set businesses up with automation. This is an important part of providing timely service on WhatsApp and responding to customers within the 24-hour customer care window. To apply for WhatsApp’s early access program, click here. Or, to contact us with any questions, click here.

The Workbook & Checklist for Opening WhatsApp and Other Messaging Channels

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