In our previous post, we talked about the various use-cases that are possible via WhatsApp. Today, we shall cover the  important topic of opt-in & opt-out.

As  the term implies, this is the process of obtaining consent from your  customers to be reached via WhatsApp. WhatsApp intends to keep itself  spam-free. Hence they don't want users to receive unsolicited  promotions.

If  you are a business who wants to engage with your customers via  WhatsApp, here are some do's & dont's on how to obtain opt-in:

1)  Lets say a customer/user signs up for your product, service etc on your website. You can include a checkbox that allows them to  explicitly state that he/she "Agrees to receive updates &  notifications via WhatsApp". See examples from NoBroker &  Policybazaar below

2)  The opt-in need not be electronic. You can even have an opt-in via a  paper form. Or via an IVR (Interactive Voice  Response) menu when they call your business number

3)  Opt-in's have to be "default excluded" rather than "default included".  If you are using a checkbox, it has to be "unchecked" by default. The  user needs to explicitly check that box to signify consent.

4)  The opt-in has to be optional. I.e, you cannot make the opt-in a  pre-condition to complete the  subscription or sign up.

5)  Opt-ins are not automatic for existing customers. Just because they are  an existing customer & you have their phone number doesn't mean  they have opted in to receive WhatsApp messages

6)  Even if a user has opted in to receive communications via email or SMS  does not mean that they have opted in to receive communications via WhatsApp

7)  The opt-in cannot happen via WhatsApp itself. The user/customer must  opt in via a different medium: website, email, SMS, paper form, IVR  system etc

8) The only time an opt-in is "implicit/automatic" is when a user initiates a conversation with a business via WhatsApp


1)  Even after a user opts in, it is best practice to allow her to opt-out  of further WhatsApp communications at any point in time. This is similar  to the "unsubscribe" functionality in emails. Such an opt-out must be respected by the  business. Subsequently, the user has to explicitly opt-in again before  you can message her.

2) Opt-outs can be via your website, via WhatsApp itself, by calling your IVR system etc

3)  Make the opt-out procedure clear to the user. Even though opt-out  procedures need not be sent with every message, it should be sent at least once. Example: during the  Welcome message you send via WhatsApp

Blocks & Reports

1)  Please be aware that users have the ability to "Block" or "Report" a  business on WhatsApp at any time. WhatsApp/Facebook keeps track of the  number of blocks/reports that a business gets, as a "quality metric". If  your business gets a low quality score, they may rate-limit the  number of messages you send/hour or in extreme cases, even suspend your  account. They've also warned that, starting December 2019, they  will initiate legal action against businesses who send spam. So, kindly  take opt-ins and opt-outs  seriously.

WhatsApp to take legal action against people who send too many messages


1)  Your business must be able to demonstrate your process for handling  opt-ins, opt-outs and show records for the same. This is in case  Facebook/WhatsApp decides to audit or suspend your account. If you have  demonstrable opt-in and opt-out records, you may be able to make a case  that you weren't sending unsolicited messages.

Please read WhatsApp/Facebook's opt-in requirements here: Getting Opt-in - WhatsApp Business API - Documentation - Facebook for Developers