What are the WhatsApp Business API message types?

What are the WhatsApp Business API message types?

In the WhatsApp Business API there are different types of messages that you need to understand and be aware of.

Main messaging concepts

There are two main types of messages in a conversation via WhatsApp API:
  1. Session message:
    A session is a 24h window that starts every time you receive a WhatsApp message from a customer.
    While the session is open, all messages exchanged between the customer and your company are called session messages.
    If you receive several messages in a row from a customer, the last message from the customer will mark the start of the 24-hour session.
    During this session, you can send personalized messages to customers without restrictions.
    You can send text messages, images, files, audio, and videos. 
    To find out how to send messages and what are the restrictions on the size of multimedia files, check this article. 
If you try to send a message and the session is closed, you will receive an error message.

In this case, to start a conversation with the customer, you will need to send a template message as described below.

In Woztell, all session messages are free, even if you use a template during an open session. This is a great option if you want to use the template as a predefined message, to make it easier for your team to reply faster and in a structured way. 
  1. Template messages:
    When the session is closed, either because it is your company communicating for the first time with the client via WhatsApp or because the client did not reply for more than 24 hours, you can only send template messages to the client.
    WhatsApp templates are messages that have text that can be accompanied by images, links, videos, and documents, however, prior to their use, they must be approved by WhatsApp.
    Approval is requested only once and, after approval, the templates can be used as many times as desired.
    Templates can have parameters, such as names, event schedules, etc., which allows them to be flexible for day-to-day use by agents.
    You must request them via Zoho Cliq, and from the moment WhatsApp approves them, they are available for multiple uses via a code.
    Template messages in all countries, except Mexico, have a cost, as shown in the example below. To find out more about these costs read this article
To find out how you can apply for template approval and use them on a daily basis you can read this article, and if you want examples of templates for departments of a company you can have a look at this article.

Structure of a conversation and message concepts

Lets review this example to get a good understanding of what is a session message and what is a template message.
Example of messages inside/outside the 24-hour window: 

In this example, you would pay for the template message sent at 11:05 AM.
Each message sent to you by the customer restarts the 24-hour window that allows you to send a free session message because they are session messages. 

Secondary message concepts

There are two other types of messages when using the WhatsApp API, in these cases, template messages are used to ensure that all clients always receive the messages; the difference between these concepts is the way the messages are sent.
  1. Push message:
    These messages are sent by automation through workflows in Zoho CRM, or by webhooks through programming.
    For example, imagine that you create a workflow that sends a welcome message whenever a lead is created; or that you have an online shop and whenever a purchase is made, the customer receives a confirmation message and updates of the package shipment status. In other words, messages that many companies currently send by SMS, can now be sent using WhatsApp, which has a much higher open rate.
  2. Bulk message:
    These are campaigns that consist of sending a message at a specific time to a large volume of customers, just like we are used to doing with newsletter emails, for example.


  1. Is it mandatory to use template messages?
Whenever you want to start a conversation, run campaigns, or when the session is closed, you will need to use a template. 
For example, if your team does not work at the end of the week, messages you receive from customers on Friday night, Saturday and early Sunday morning will need to be answered with templates, because when your agents start working on Monday, the sessions with these customers will be closed.