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Facebook's change in the price of sending messages to WhatsApp from February 1, 2022. An experiment in Mexico

For more than a year, Facebook has been testing a new pricing system in Mexico and recognized it as successful, so from February 2022, we are waiting for global changes in the payment model for outgoing\sent messages in WhatsApp.
Let's make a reservation right away that we are talking only about changing the system for recording messages and paying for them in the WhatsApp Business API, the standard WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business App applications will remain free for users.

How does the WhatsApp Business API payment system work now (until February 1, 2022)?

The total cost of the WhatsApp Business API can be divided into two components:
1-Subscription payments for the very fact of hosting the number;
2-Payment for template outgoing messages that initiates communication with users.

All incoming messages are free, the WhatsApp Business API partner pays for template sent messages that initiate a dialogue with users and open a dialog box in 24 hours.
In other words, if a client writes to you – you don't pay for it, but if you are planning a marketing newsletter or you need to notify customers about a change in their status in the business process, then you use a template message approved by Facebook and send it to the client. Such a contact is paid and opens a 24-hour window in which all subsequent messages will be free of charge. 24 hours start to expire from the moment of the last message you sent.
The price for such messages is set directly by Facebook, but some providers or API integrators have their own markup. You can find out how the payment system works in the Chat API here.

What will change after February 1, 2022?

The previous system of accounting and payment for outgoing messages can be called a pricing system based on" notifications", since the fee was charged directly for messages that" notify " the client of any changes or events.
That is, the fee was charged only for the initiative on the part of the business to start communicating with the client. The new pricing system can be called a system based on "dialogues\conversations", since now both outgoing and incoming messages have their own price. Again, now the dialogues initiated by the client are also paid. The use of Facebook-approved message templates is also saved as a tool for initiating a dialogue with a client or responding to an incoming request.

The 24-hour dialog box rule has also undergone important changes. Now the timer for the expiration of 24 hours begins to flow not from the moment of the last message, but from the first message from the business side. If earlier, theoretically, it was possible to conduct endless free communication with the client, having time to update the conditional timer with new messages within 24 hours, then from February 2022 this will become impossible. 24 hours start to expire as soon as you respond to the client and are not extended in any way.

But it's not so bad, because the new approach may be even more interesting for small and medium-sized businesses. What advantages of the new approach we can note:
1 - the first 1000 dialogues are free, which is a very pleasant help for small organizations;
2 – all incoming messages that were initiated by the "Call to Action" buttons, for example, when someone writes to you via a widget from your site , are free. Such messages will not be subject to tariffs.

How much will the dialogues cost now?

Different regions and countries have different price lists, the cost of the dialog is read by the country receiving the message. The original article and the official price list can be viewed here.

To finally understand how this will work, we offer several hypothetical examples.

Case one – the client initiates a dialog

The client writes to you about his order. Until you do not respond to him, this dialog is not considered open. As soon as the bot or manager responds to the client with a template message, the dialog will be considered open and funds will be debited from you, as for the dialog that the client initiated.

The second case is that the business initiates a dialogue

Everything is simple here, if you send a template message, and it gets the status "Delivered", then this opens a dialog with the client. This dialog will be considered a dialog initiated by the business and will be charged according to the appropriate pricing.

The third case is With going beyond the 24-hour window

Let's take as a basis the situation when the client wrote to you first, you responded and the task was closed. If after 24 hours from the moment of the first message you write to the client again, this will be considered a new dialog initiated by the business. If the client writes to you first, then with a new dialog initiated by the client.

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