The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Broadcasting

WhatsApp Broadcasting is a great tool for businesses looking to reach large numbers of customers without sending thousands of individual messages. In this article, we’re giving you the ultimate no BS guide to WhatsApp Broadcasting!

Partners header image

What is WhatsApp Broadcasting?

Have you ever gotten a WhatsApp message like those old email threads that says “Send this message to 6 people and you will have good fortune for 6 years!”? Those messages are sent using Broadcasting.

Keeping with the email example, using WhatsApp Broadcast is kind of like sending an email with recipients in the BCC. You, the WhatsApp user, send a message to an x amount of recipients in a single click and none of the recipients are able to see who else has received the broadcasted message! Broadcast messaging is a great way to send special offers, product launches and updates, delivery statuses, and special offers, among other things.

“Broadcast (verb) Transmit information and / or announcements from a sender to a large number of recipients.”

There are two versions of WhatsApp Business that you can use to broadcast WhatsApp messages to multiple recipients at once.

1. WhatsApp Business App
2. WhatsApp Business API

But, as these things go, there’s only one way that is the most effective if you’re looking to leverage WhatsApp Broadcasting as a marketing and customer engagement tool for your business.

Eager to know which version of WhatsApp Business it is? Let’s dive into WhatsApp Broadcasting in some more detail and find out!

WhatsApp Broadcasting for small business (WhatsApp Business App)

The WhatsApp Business App is a great addition to small business’ marketing efforts. It’s easy to use and has functionalities like quick-replies and, you guessed it, broadcast messaging.

All you have to do is create a WhatsApp broadcast list using the WhatsApp Business App and you’ll be ready to reach your audience with a single message.

Initiating a WhatsApp Broadcast message is quite simple. From the main CHATS window, click on ‘Broadcast Lists’ in the upper left-hand corner. From there, create a new list by clicking on ‘New List’ on the bottom of the screen. Easy peasy!

But beware! Like Winston Churchill said, with great power comes great… sacrifice (okay, we edited it a bit, but you get the idea). While the WhatsApp Business App can be a great addition to your small business, it does have some limitations when it comes to broadcast messaging.

Limitations of using the WhatsApp Business App

Sure, all it takes a couple of clicks and some swift typing to send a broadcast message with the WhatsApp Business App. But is that enough to sustain and grow your business? For a Mom and Pop shop, sure, it might do the trick. But for many businesses, the limitations might make WhatsApp Business App unsuitable for their business needs. These limitations include:

1. WhatsApp Broadcast sending limit to max. 256 contacts
2. Accessible only across 5 devices
3. No smart segmentation or outgoing messaging analytics
4. Stand-alone: no integration with your CRM
5. If one or more recipients on your broadcast list haven’t saved your number to their contacts, they won’t receive your message (but it will still be accounted for in those max. 256 contacts)

These limitations are clear reasons why WhatsApp Business App is better suited to freelancers and small businesses who are looking to simply establish themselves with their local audiences.

Medium and large businesses have large customer bases with multiple segments, established customer service teams of 3 or more people, and a need to track and analyze all their outgoing messages. They might not be able to get very far with the limitations of the WhatsApp Business App.

Is WhatsApp Broadcast using the WhatsApp Business App enough for your business?

It really depends on your business’ needs. Let’s take Gary’s Pens, a (fictional) local stationery store with 100-200 regular customers.

Most likely, Gary knows and is even on a first-name basis with many of his customers.

Gary can make the most of the WhatsApp Broadcast lists using his WhatsApp Business App because his customers are highly likely to have Gary’s Pens saved as a contact and receive his broadcast messages.

However, Gary’s competitor PaperClips, a (fictional) nationally franchised office store, with thousands of customers across the country, will have probably concluded that the limits of WhatsApp Broadcasting using the free WhatsApp Business App just doesn’t cut it for their marketing and customer engagement needs.

Not to worry, for medium and large businesses like PaperClips, there is a solution in the WhatsApp Business API!

WhatsApp Broadcasting using the WhatsApp Business API

The WhatsApp API launched in 2018 with the sole purpose to help medium and large businesses to communicate with their customer base on WhatsApp. The API has revolutionized the way businesses communicate with their customers at scale with the help of third-party integration.

WhatsApp Business API expands the possibilities for businesses. With it, you can:

– Send WhatsApp Broadcast messages to an unlimited number of unique users
– Automate abandoned cart notifications and payment links
– Simultaneously communicate with multiple customers
– Provide 24/7 customer support with both live agents and automation

Although Meta recently launched WhatsApp Business Cloud API, working with a certified WhatsApp Business Partner like Saysimple is still a viable and valuable decision. Why? Getting verified can be a hassle! We match you with a Customer Success Manager (CSM) to onboard and guide you through the process of getting set up (and verified!). Your CSM is on your team, making sure you get off to a flying start.

Once you’ve met the criteria for a verified WhatsApp Business account, you’re ready to dive into the types of messages you can send with WhatsApp Business broadcast and the role quality rating and messaging limitations play.

Get started with WhatsApp Business and request a demo ›

Benefits of a WhatsApp Business account

The WhatsApp Business API enables your business to have an Official Business Account, including a little green tick, that signals your credibility with your customers.

The process requires providing official documentation like an invoice that includes your company name and registered address, among other things. An approved application means your presence on WhatsApp is verified: your business name will show instead of your number, and you will get that elusive green tick beside it!

But verification isn’t the only benefit of using WhatsApp Business API. It provides the following, too:

1. Seamless integration with existing software
2. Authentication of your brand identity to your customer base
3. Scalability of your customer communications strategy with unlimited users

What are WhatsApp Business templates

WhatsApp Business templates are standardised, reusable messages you can use to reach your customers. Of the three types of message templates, you can use text and media templates when sending broadcast messages.

More on WhatsApp template messages ›

A message template is essentially a semi-automated message that you have created and saved that provides personalized information to a customer. A message template can contain a maximum of 4.096 characters and can include text, emoji, media files, and/or WhatsApp-specific formatting.

Numbered placeholders, noted as {{x}}, are used to personalize the message template. The information replaced by the placeholder can use letters, digits, special characters, and spaces.

WhatsApp template example saysimple

Quality rating and messaging limits

To ensure that businesses are using the WhatsApp Business API correctly, Meta has implemented message limits and quality ratings. These two factors become very important when sending WhatsApp Broadcast messages.

To set limits and ratings, Meta has differentiated business-initiated and customer-initiated conversations. As their names imply, a customer-initiated conversation is a conversation started by a customer and a business-initiated conversation is started by a business. A WhatsApp Broadcast message falls under business-initiated conversations.

Basically, quality rating and messaging limits ensure WhatsApp continues to embody its image as a personal messaging channel. It also makes sure that businesses are not using WhatsApp to send spam. Message limits require businesses to stagger and grow their messaging capacity organically, including the reach of broadcast messaging. Quality ratings are based on the feedback recipients provide on your messages – users have the power to flag your messages as spam and lower your quality rating.

More on WhatsApp Business Messaging limits and quality rating ›

WhatsApp Broadcasting using Saysimple

So far, we’ve defined broadcast messaging, the difference between WhatsApp Broadcasting over the WhatsApp Business App and API, and the factors involved in successfully sending broadcast messages over the WhatsApp Business API.

Now it’s time to get practical!

Saysimple has developed a customer communication platform that enables you to engage with your customers through multiple messaging channels, including as WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Livechat, and email. The multichannel inbox allows customer service teams with multiple users to work from a single platform.

Saysimple Engage interface

With Saysimple Engage it’s possible to create WhatsApp campaigns and send approved WhatsApp template messages to a list of contacts in 5 simple steps:

Step 1: Import contacts in bulk via .CSV or Zapier

Step 2: Build your audience list

Step 3: Select a pre-approved WhatsApp message template

Step 4: Send a personalized bulk message on WhatsApp

Step 5: Gain insights into your delivery and open rate