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What are WhatsApp's compliance requirements for successful user opt-ins?

Before a business can start sending notification messages on WhatsApp, you must receive consent from the consumer to communicate on this channel 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 location. The guide below will outline the opt-in message flows to meet the compliance requirements for some of these methods.

Compliance guidelines

  • Opt-in message types: Opt-in is required for all notification programs. For customer support programs, the consumer can engage with the business per their standard operating procedure.
  • Opt-in initiation: Opt-in on the other channels must be triggered by a user action (active opt-in), such as entering a phone number or checking a box to indicate consent. Consumer-initiated communication does not imply as an automatic opt-in for the notification message type.
  • Clear opt-in information: Share all the relevant information so that a consumer knows what type(s) of messaging they are signing up for.
  • Opt-in confirmation message: After a consumer has completed the opt-in process, businesses will need to send an opt-in confirmation to the consumer on the WhatsApp channel. This message must include a clear description of their services and a way for them to stop receiving messages.
  • Opt-out using WhatsApp: Businesses must support the use of the “STOP” keyword on the channel to allow consumers to opt-out of receiving messages via WhatsApp going forward.
  • Opt-out using a non-WhatsApp channel: Consumers can elect to opt-out of receiving messages from your business on a non-WhatsApp channel. Businesses must respect all such opt-out requests from the consumer, remove them from the list, and must not attempt to send any messages in the future.

Opt-in message flow compliance requirements

When a consumer signs up to receive notifications on the WhatsApp channel, the opt-in message flow might look like this:

Initiate opt-in

Consumer: <Initiate flow on non-WhatsApp channel>

Complete opt-in

Business: <Confirm all details and completes the opt-in on non-WhatsApp channel>

Confirm opt-In

Business: <send the confirmation message to the consumer on WhatsApp>

Opt-in methods and requirements

There are several ways in which you can engage with the consumers and invite them to opt into the WhatsApp channel for messaging.

Web page / Mobile app opt-in:

Here, the consumer is presented with an opportunity to opt-in to receive messages on WhatsApp on the business' website – for example, on the homepage or a special landing page, or a consumer profile page. The business must implement the following at a minimum on their web properties like their website or 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 to be opted in, editable text box
  • Visual element: Checkbox or similar next to WhatsApp name and logo. This cannot be a single checkbox across multiple channels.

Below is a sample opt-in webpage for KLM Airlines for reference:

SMS opt-in

In this method, the business initiates an opt-in request for the WhatsApp channel using SMS. This SMS message should clearly indicate the program information and instructions to complete the opt-in.

Website redirect

  • Businesses can send an SMS to the consumer redirecting them to the opt-in web page
  • The opt-in form must include all of the above elements in order to be compliant.

SMS double opt-in

  • In this scenario, businesses will request the consumer to reply with a consent keyword like “Yes”
  • The consumer replies with “Yes” to the SMS to confirm opt-in

Email campaign

If you are interested in an email campaign, the business can contact consumers with details of the now available WhatsApp channel and a clear call-to-action on the available opt-in methods like website or SMS.

Opt-in methods are not limited to the list above and can be defined per the business process with sufficient compliance.

Opt-in confirmation

Upon completion of the opt-in on a non-WhatsApp channel, the business must send a final confirmation message to the consumer, via WhatsApp.

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