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Message Template Approvals & Statuses


This article describes the approval process and best practices for WhatsApp template approvals. To learn more about how to create and send WhatsApp templates, please refer to this article.


Message template approval criteria

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WhatsApp will generally reject templates for three reasons:

  1. The format is incorrect, such as misplaced or malformed placeholders
  2. The template breaks the WhatsApp terms of service, commerce policy business policy, or is seen as abusive
  3. The template is too generic and has placeholders that could be used for abuse

Because placeholders can be replaced with multiple words, WhatsApp does not allow template placeholders to be placed at the beginning or the end of the message. Doing so will result in automatic rejection of the template.

Approval Period

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Once you submit your template for approval, WhatsApp typically approves them within minutes through a machine learning-assisted process. Some templates that can't be triaged by Meta's algorithms are submitted for human review automatically and can take up to 48 hours to get approved. If your template are remaining in "pending" state for more than 48 hours, please open a support ticket with Twilio and include the name of the template that you created.

WhatsApp Templates can have the following statuses:

  • Pending: Indicates that the template is still under review by WhatsApp. Review can take up to 24 hours.
  • Approved: The template was approved by WhatsApp and can be used to notify customers.
  • Rejected: The template has been rejected by WhatsApp during the review process.
  • Paused: The template has been paused by WhatsApp due to recurring negative feedback from end users, typically resulting from "block" and "report spam" actions associated with the template. Message templates with this status cannot be sent to end users.
  • Disabled: The template has been disabled by WhatsApp due to recurring negative feedback from end users or for violating one or more of WhatsApp's policies. Message templates with this status cannot be sent to end users.

Let's dive into how to get templates approved first, then we will cover the paused and disabled statuses.


Tips for Creating Templates

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  • If you are not sure how to phrase your template, take an iterative approach. Submit a template, get it approved by WhatsApp, and tweak it based on results. You can always submit a new version of the template and delete the old version.
  • If you need to write a template to re-open the 24-hour window, we suggest starting with some mention of the previous thread. Example: "I'm sorry that I wasn't able to respond to your concerns yesterday but I'm happy to assist you now. If you'd like to continue this discussion, please reply with YES".
  • Consider using a friendly tone when sending messages over WhatsApp. Selective use of specific emojis are shown to increase engagement with end users.

Common Rejection Reasons

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WhatsApp most commonly rejects templates for the following reasons, below. So be sure to avoid the following rejection reasons:

Rejection ReasonHow to fix it
Variables are placed in the very beginning or end of the messageAdd additional words or punctuation before/after the variable.
Variables are placed next to each other, such as " {{1}} {{2}}"Make sure there is at least one word in between each variable, or simply use one variable instead of multiple. You can substitute a placeholder value with multiple words.
Variables have mismatched curly braces, or use words instead of numbers.The correct format is {{1}}, not {{one}}. To use words for placeholders, you can use the omnichannel Content API and Editor.
Variable parameters are not sequential. Example: {{1}}, {{2}}, {{4}}, {{5}} lead to a rejected template because but {{3}} does not exist.Double check that all placeholders are sequential
Newlines, tabs, or more than 4 consecutive spacesPer Meta's rules(link takes you to an external page), this is not allowed, so please avoid.
Call-to-action have a direct link to WhatsApp, such as "https://wa.me/14154443344(link takes you to an external page)". Meta no longer allows this.Spell out the number, without including the link. The wa.me is a reserved link that can't be included in a template.
Template is a duplicate. WhatsApp rejects templates submitted with the same wording with a different name, to prevent abuse. Please note that this check does not apply to OTP templates.Slightly tweak the name and content of the new template
Template contains content violating the WhatsApp Commerce Policy(link takes you to an external page) or the WhatsApps Business Policy(link takes you to an external page). Includes: requesting sensitive identifiers from users, such as payment card numbers, financial account numbers, or National Identification numbers.You must follow WhatsApp's policies to avoid further enforcement action from Meta. If you need to request sensitive identifiers, you can ask for partial identifiers (ex: last 4 digits of Social Security number).
Templates appears to be related to gaming or gambling. Common words such as "raffle" or "win a prize" almost guarantee a template rejection by WhatsApp.Identify any words that could remotely be perceived as related to gaming/gambling, and replace them.
Templates that are overly vague, such as “Hi, {{1}}, thanks”. are commonly abused to spam users, so they will be rejected.Surround the parameters with information that clarifies to Meta what type of information will be inserted.
Wrong language was chosen. Example: a template in English was submitted as "Portuguese" language.Double check that the language is correct.

Revising rejected message templates

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If your message template was rejected, you will see a rejection reason code in the Twilio Console specifying why WhatsApp rejected it. You may submit a new template with a different template name, and delete the rejected template. WhatsApp will not let you use the same template name for 30 days.

These are the rejection reasons that WhatsApp discloses:

  • 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.

If you are having a difficulties getting your template approved, it often helps to provide additional detail in your template to make its use evident to WhatsApp. For example, you may add “You asked us to let you know about [Topic]”. If you feel your templates are being rejected by mistake and resubmissions continue to be rejected, please open a support ticket explaining the issue in detail. Twilio can request that WhatsApp reconsider the rejected template.


Examples of approved and rejected message templates

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Approved message templates

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  • 👋 Welcome {{1}}. What company do you work for?
  • Your {{1}} appointment is coming up on {{2}}. Have a nice day
  • Your {{1}} appointment is coming up on {{2}}. Reply with {{3}} or {{4}}. Thank you
  • Dear {{1}}: Unfortunately your pending booking did not go through.
    No charges were made to your bank account.
    You can try to rebook the hotel again.
    We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Rejected message templates

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The following templates don't provide sufficient detail on how they will be used:

  • Reminder: {{1}}
  • {{1}} was added
  • {{1}}, {{2}}!

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

  • I am Jenn, the virtual assistant.
  • Hi, are you available?
  • 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.

Guidance on template categorization

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Meta's Definition of Template Categories

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Meta has strict definitions of Authentication and Utility templates. Authentication templates follow a rigid pattern pre-defined by Meta. Utility templates relate to a specific, agreed-upon transaction and accomplish one of the following: confirm, suspend, or change a transaction or subscription. As of October 30, 2023, Utility also includes messages for feedback surveys, managing user-requested opt-in, or continuing a conversation started by a user in another channel. Any templates that do not fall precisely within these strict definitions are likely to be categorized by Meta as "Marketing". This includes any mix of Marketing and Utility content. For the latest guidance please see Meta's documentation(link takes you to an external page).

Choose the Category with Content Templates

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If you require a template to be categorized as Utility, please use the Content Editor or Content API, which gives you the option to select a specific template category. When you use the WhatsApp Templates section in Twilio's Console, Meta can change the category.

Guidance for Utility Templates

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Meta's categorization engine is not deterministic. Sometimes, legitimate Utility templates can be categorized as Marketing by Meta. To overcome this issue, you may incorporate the following guidance into your template creation process:

  • Avoid using blanket placeholders, such as "Important Message: {{1}}". This can be abused for marketing purposes. Spell out the content of the message to increase the chances of having the template approved as Utility.
  • Utility templates must always follow up on something the customer explicitly opted into. It must be self-evident within the template content. You may include a sentence, such as "We are following up on your inquiry", to make this clear.
  • Meta's systems may consider certain keywords as trigger words for marketing, and the quality of this determination varies by quality. Meta's categorization engine may give multiple results depending on the attempt. If this is happening, consider A/B testing certain keywords or phrases to understand the impact on the categorization.
  • Utility templates can contain media. You may submit a generic image when you submit a media template. The image can then be replaced with your custom image when the message is sent, without WhatsApp's approval. The final imager does not have to be the same image that WhatsApp reviewed.
  • Use a clear message template title that indicates the Utility nature of the template, such as "safety_alert" or "account_update".

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