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Sending messages in the WhatsApp Business API. The /contacts method

As the most popular messenger on the planet with almost 2 billion audiences, audiences have a vast base of potential customers, so WhatsApp Business API is attractive to many as a tool for commercial mailings. At the same time, Meta has its vision of working with the messenger and introduces number of restrictions and rules that must be considered when conducting mailings. Let's figure out how to send messages in the WhatsApp Business API properly.

Compliance with WhatsApp and Meta trade Policy

First of all, it is necessary to note the WhatsApp trade policy. If your messages violate the policy’s requirements and disseminate information prohibited by Meta, the news will not be sent, and the account may be banned. You can challenge the Meta decision by filling out this form.

In addition, Meta assumes that you must obtain consent from the client to send him messages, ideally in the form of a written agreement, but in practice, almost no one enters into such an agreement. For our part, we recommend building communication with customers so that they can express their consent and interest in communicating with you, as well as refuse if they are not interested in your mailings.

If complaints are received about your messages, this may lead to a drop in the rating of the number. Read more about it here.

Message templates are the first step to contacting a client

You can't just write a message to a client in WhatsApp using WABA; before that, you need to compose a template message, which, after Meta approval, can be sent to the client.

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You can use our "Quick Templates" for this. Quick messages are an alternative to template messages for those who do not want to waste time creating them. When you send text messages outside the 24-hour dialog box, we automatically turn them into templates using pre-approved variables. To use them, it is enough to use the /SendMessage function.

Back in early 2022, template messages could have been rejected due to their excessive "advertising", Meta required WABA partners to maintain a less commercial approach to communicating with customers, but everything changed very quickly, at the moment Meta approves almost all templates, except for those that clearly violate the messenger's trade policy.

A template message can be created using the /addTemplate method of our WABA documentation.

And also through the built-in constructors in the personal account Chat API and Meta-business manager.

You can learn more about how to work with templates and how to use them here, and how to send files through them here.

Checking the number using the /contacts method before sending a message

Before sending a template message, if you have not had any communication with the user before, you need to check with the /contacts method. This method contains the number (verifies) on the ability to send messages and returns the status of the number along with the ID. Only after activating the /contacts method does it becomes possible to send a template message. Without this step, your messages won't be sent.

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This rule also has exceptions. If you use our quick messages via /SendMessage to open the dialog, then we will automatically use /contacts to check the number, that is, you do not need to worry about checking contacts before sending, we will do it for you.

Now for more details

Send a POST request /v1/contacts, after which you will have the opportunity to enter the numbers of interest. It is better to determine the contact database in advance and send them in one request, since too frequent use of the /contacts method can lead to dissatisfaction with Facebook, but more on this below. You can enter numbers in any format, while Facebook advises you to specify numbers with a «+» and indicating the country and city code separated by spaces:

Next, the API will return you the ID of the number along with the statuses; there are four of them in total:

1 – "Valid" – everything is fine, the number is available for communication;
2 – "Processing" – the data is still being processed;
3 – "Invalid" - a number that is not available for communication;
4 – "Failed" – something went wrong.
Use the provided WhatsApp ID to send template emails.

Important limitations:

- Meta promises to ban WhatsApp Business API users who check numbers but do not send messages. You use this method only for contacts to whom the mailing will be sent, and we advise you to exercise reasonable caution in the number of numbers being checked.

- Meta currently does not have the ability to notify about changes in the status of the number, so this method will have to be used on an ongoing basis. Verification of numbers using the \contact method must be carried out once every 7 days. If you skip this period, it will be impossible to send messages to the numbers.

- You can use /contacts through our testing tools, but the request to check the message array will not be available.

Write to us if you have any questions about working with WhatsApp Business API , we will be happy to help you. You can find out all the latest news on the work of the service in our telegram channel.



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