Opt-in and Opt-out
Before a business can start sending notification messages on WhatsApp, they must receive consent from the customer to communicate with them on this channel. This is done via an explicit opt-in process triggered on a non-WhatsApp channel. Acceptable non-WhatsApp channels for opt-in include methods like email, SMS, website, app, and retail locations.
Note: this opt-in process is required for all notification programs. For customer support programs, the consumer can engage with the business per their standard operating procedure.
Opt-in methods and requirements
There are several ways in which you can engage with your customers and invite them to opt-in to your WhatsApp business channel as a way to engage with your business. It is important to note that:
- Clear opt-in information must be shared so that a customer knows what type(s) of messaging they are signing up for.
- Opt-in must be triggered by a user action (i.e. active opt-in) such as entering a phone number or checking a box to indicate consent. Consumer-initiated communication does not imply an automatic opt-in for the notification message type.
- After a customer has completed the opt-in process, the business needs to send an opt-in confirmation to the customer via the WhatsApp channel. This message must include a clear description of your services and a way for them to opt-out (i.e. stop receiving messages) as and when they wish.
When a consumer signs up to receive notifications on the WhatsApp channel, the opt-in message flow might look like this:
For example, if a consumer initiates an opt-in via SMS, and respond with “Yes” to confirm, they will receive an SMS indicating they are now opted-in to receive notifications from your business via WhatsApp. The wa.me/business-phone link to redirect them to the WhatsApp channel can be included if needed.
Opt-in methods include but are not limited to the list below and can be defined per the business process with sufficient compliance.
Web page/mobile app opt-in
The customer can opt-in to receive messages on WhatsApp from the business website, e.g. from the homepage or special landing webpage (logged-out state) or consumer profile page (logged-in state). As minimum requirements, the business must implement the following on their web properties (e.g. website, mobile app):
- Program information: the type of information related to the flow
- Channel information: include the logo and name for the channel
- Phone number information: explicit mention of the phone number that will opt-in, presented in an editable text box
- Visual element: checkbox or something similar next to the WhatsApp name and logo – this cannot be a single checkbox used to opt-in across multiple channels
The required language elements for opt-in on the website are:
- receive [noun] – where noun is the program information
- [logo and name]
- on [number]
Below is a sample opt-in webpage for KLM Airlines for reference:
The business can initiate an opt-in request for the WhatsApp channel using SMS messaging. This SMS message should clearly indicate the program information and instructions to complete the opt-in.
- The business can send an SMS to the customer redirecting them to the opt-in web page
- The opt-in form will include all the above elements for compliance
SMS double opt-in
- The business can also request the customer to reply with a consent keyword like “Yes”
- The customer replies to the SMS with “Yes” to confirm opt-in
The business can contact customers via email with the details of the WhatsApp channel, and include a clear call to action on the available opt-in methods like website or SMS.
Opt-out methods and guidelines
Businesses must support the use of a “STOP” keyword on the WhatsApp channel to allow customers to opt-out of receiving future messages from your business on WhatsApp.
Consumers can also opt-out of receiving WhatsApp messages from your business via a non-WhatsApp channel. Opt-out requests from the consumer must be respected, and they must be removed from the list with no further attempts to send any messages to them in the future.
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