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What is a template and why do you need it

Templates are special kind of messages used to start conversations with contact. When you've never written to that contact before, or their last message to you was sent over 24 hours ago you'll need to use a template message to start the conversation.

If you try to send them anything other than a template message to a contact in those situations, WhatsApp will not deliver that message.

These templates are messages that can be created once and then used for any contact and at any time, since you can set variables to personalize each message. In order to be able to use a template, it must be approved first by WhatsApp. This is a rule they made so they can keep in check spam messages and fraud.

They can also be used with Broadcasts and Flows.

When you create a template in Hilos, we automatically send it to WhatsApp for approval. You'll see after creating its status and we'll automatically check with WhatsApp about all templates' status' every 5 minutes.

Once a contact answers, then you can use any type of message (text, image, document, etc) to keep the conversation going.

Facebook catalogs templates into 3 main categories:

  • Marketing: All messages with the purpose of people knowing about new product offerings and sales.
  • Transactional: All messages with the purpose of updating a customer with the status of its order, shipping, invoice, payment, etc.
  • One time passwords: Everything that has to do with authentication for an app, like 2FA's.

This is important to know because all templates need to be approved by Facebook before they can be used.

Building blocks of a template

A template has 4 sections:

  • Header: Top part of our message, this can be any of the following:
    • Text: The most basic header, this text stands out as it is formatted with bold text, can be customized using a variable but keep in mind that it is limited to 1 variable.
    • Photo: Attach a photo to the top of the message by providing a URL.
    • Video: Send a video to your users by providing a URL, useful for short ads.
    • Document: Send an attachment to your users, handy for sending brochures, invoices or PDF's.
  • Body: The body of our message, use this space to write out your message, this behaves like a normal whatsapp message and is the only required field and can be customized by using variables.
  • Footer: A small text displayed on the bottom of the message in light grey. (Optional)
  • Buttons: You can add buttons to your message to make the user interact with the content, WhatsApp allows us to create 2 types of buttons: (Optional)
    • Call to actions: This buttons contain a link that redirects the user to your site or app to complete an action.
      • Visit website: Useful for redirecting our users to an specific website. They can be customized using variables.
      • Call a number: Help your users contact you easily without having to dial.
    • Quick replies: This buttons allow the user to answer to the message you've sent without having to type, useful for support and chatbots.
Template example

Templates are really powerful if used along with Broadcasts, however try to follow best practices so you're not marked as spam.