One-stop Guide for WhatsApp Quality Rating and Messaging Limits

Niloofar Kavousi
November 15, 2022
One-stop Guide for WhatsApp Quality Rating and Messaging Limits

Table of contents



If you want to access WhatsApp Business Platform/API to communicate with your customers, you need to create a WhatsApp Business account (WABA) with a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP). If you don’t know what BSPs are, head to our article Comparison of WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSPs).

After creating a WhatsApp account with a BSP of your choice, Meta lets you connect up to 2 phone numbers to your account and send 50 business-initiated messages to up to 50 unique customers in a rolling 24 hours. You can receive an unlimited number of user-initiated messages and your display name does not need to be approved at this point.

If you want to increase your messaging limits and connect more numbers to your account, you must verify your Facebook Business account and have your display name approved. Some BSPs (like 360dialog) allow an unverified WhatsApp experience, while others only allow you access after you verify your Facebook Business account.

How Does WhatsApp’s 4-tier Messaging Limits Work?

WhatsApp has four tiers of messaging limits for each phone number of a verified business. Every business starts at tier 1 and can be upgraded to higher tiers in sequence. Each tier has its own limit of business-initiated conversations. A conversation is a 24-hour period of time from when the first message of a business is delivered to a given customer, regardless of who started the chat. All of the messages exchanged between your business and a customer in this period are associated with one conversation. Conversations can start in two ways:

  • The business starts to chat with a customer by sending them a message (business-initiated conversation) 
  • The business sends the first reply to the first message of a customer (user-initiated conversation)

Businesses can start business-initiated conversations only by sending a message template to the customers. Information on message templates is available on The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business.

WhatsApp allows an unlimited number of user-initiated conversations at any given time.  Below is the number of business-initiated conversations allowed at each tier.

  • Tier 1: 1K business-initiated conversations with 1k unique customers in a rolling 24-hour period
  • Tier 2: 10K business-initiated conversations to 10k unique customers in a rolling 24-hour period
  • Tier 3: 100K business-initiated conversations to 100k unique customers in a rolling 24-hour period
  • Tier 4: An unlimited number of conversations in a rolling 24-hour period

All businesses start with a 1k limit (tier 1). At each tier, if you reach your messaging limit, you can start more conversations as soon as one or more active conversations end. Here is an example:

A business that has 1k messaging limit sends 100 business-initiated messages to 100 unique customers at hour 0. By the 12th hour, the business has already used up its limit of 1k business-initiated conversations and none of those conversations has ended (24 hours haven’t passed for any of the conversations). Therefore, the business cannot start any new business-initiated conversation at this point. It can continue to have unlimited user-initiated conversations, though.

By hour 24, 900 conversations are still open, while 100 have ended. Therefore, the business can send 100 new business-initiated messages to 100 unique customers. If the business wants to start more conversations, it must wait until at least one business-initiated conversation ends.

How does WhatsApp change your business’s messaging limit? 

WhatsApp can increase, decrease or keep your messaging limit unchanged based on three criteria:

Your phone number quality rating

WhatsApp decides your phone number quality rating based on the feedback it receives from your customers over the past seven days and weighs them by recency. Specifically, it looks at the blocks and reports you get from customers and the reasons customers provide for them. There are three quality ratings:

  • Green: High quality
  • Yellow: Medium quality
  • Red: Low quality

If your quality rating becomes low, you’ll receive an email and notification in the Business Manager as a warning. Your quality rating is under the Phone numbers tab in your WhatsApp Manager.

Your phone number status

When your quality rating changes, your phone number status changes. There are three phone number statuses:

  • Connected - When you have a medium to high quality rating. You can send business-initiated messages within your messaging limit, and your limit can increase as described below.

  • Flagged - If your quality rating becomes low, your phone number status changes from Connected to Flagged. With this status, you cannot upgrade your messaging limit. However, if your quality rating becomes medium or high by the 7th day from when your status became Flagged, your status will become Connected again and you may upgrade your messaging limit.

If your quality rating doesn’t become high or medium by the 7th day from when your status became Flagged, your status will return to Connected. However, your messaging limit will decrease to the previous level; for example, if your current limit is 10k, your limit changes to 1k.

  • Restricted - You see this status when you reach your messaging limit, regardless of your quality rating. With this status, you can’t send any business-initiated messages until at least one business-initiated conversation ends. You can still respond to all of your user-initiated messages.

The number of business-initiated messages you sent in the last 7 days

If in the last seven days, you have initiated X or more conversations, where X is your current messaging limit divided by 2, your messaging limit upgrades to the next level automatically. This happens provided that your quality rating is medium or high and your phone number status is connected. If you send fewer than this number of messages, your messaging limit remains unchanged. 

Here is an example of a business’s messaging limit increasing from 1k to 10k in 2 days:

A business starts with 1k messaging limit in a rolling 24-hour. It maintains a medium to high-quality rating and the phone number status is connected. By the end of day one at 8:00 PM, it has sent 500 business-initiated messages to 500 unique customers. On day two at 8:00 PM (24 hours after the 500th message was sent), WhatsApp automatically increases the messaging limit from 1k to 10k.

The business continues to maintain a medium or high-quality rating and sends half or more of its messaging limits (5k or more) by the 3rd day. As a result, the limit changes to 100k on the 4th day. If the 5,000th message was sent at 2:00 PM on day 3, the messaging limit changes to 100k at 2:00 PM on day 4 (24 hours after the 5,000th message was sent):

How can I get my messaging limit to increase?

The good news is that increasing your limit is entirely in your hands. All you have to do is to ensure you maintain a high-quality rating, meaning few to no customers report or block you. Here are a few things you could do:

Only message customers who’ve opted into receiving messages from you over WhatsApp

Before sending a message to customers on WhatsApp, you must make sure to have received consent from them that they would like to receive messages from you. The opt-ins must meet the following criteria:

  • It must clearly state that a person is opting in to receive messages from your business over WhatsApp
  • It must clearly state your business’s name that a user is opting in to receive messages from

You can obtain the opt-in in varieties of ways. For example,

  • SMS
  • Website
  • In a WhatsApp thread
  • By phone (using an interactive voice response (IVR) flow)
  • In person or on paper (customers can sign a physical document to opt-in)

WhatsApp does not enforce receiving opt-ins, but strongly recommends it. It can greatly impact your quality rating as the customers who’ve given consent to receiving messages from you are less likely to block and report you.

The context and timing of your conversation matter.

If you want to start a conversation with your customers, you can only use WhatsApp message templates. These messages must have been approved by WhatsApp before they can be sent. The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business provides detailed information on this.

You need to send the templates in the right context and at the right time. For example, let’s say that every time a customer buys a product from you, you want to ask them for feedback. Here is how an approved template could look:

Hello {{1}},
Thanks for buying our {{2}}. We certainly hope that you liked it. Do you mind giving us feedback about how you found it?

  • Loved it!
  • It was ok.
  • Didn’t like it.

It makes sense for you to send this only to the customers who’ve actually bought a product from you and shortly after their purchase rather than a month later. This way, the message is in the right context and sent in a timely manner.

Moreover, if you’re trying to get the customers to reply to a question or take a certain action like visiting your website, send them interactive messages with buttons. Buttons help them reply to you easily by selecting an option or viewing your website with just a click. This way, they are less likely to view your message as spam. There is more information on interactive messages in All About Interactive WhatsApp Message Templates.

Give customers an opt-out option for marketing messages.

In September 2022, WhatsApp started to allow businesses to send marketing message templates. Like other templates, you must have already received consent from customers before sending them marketing templates.

To reduce the risk of getting blocked or reported, provide an opt-out option in your promotional messages. Customers can continue to receive service messages like order confirmation messages from you, but you shouldn’t send them promotional messages anymore. Including an opt-out option in your promotional message templates is optional. You can have templates without them; however, giving them this option reduces your chances of getting blocked and having your quality rating affected.

Here are some tips for giving customers an excellent opt-out experience:

  • Honor all opt-out requests: Make sure you don’t send any promotional messages to the customers from any of your phone numbers after their opt-out.

  • Send a confirmation message to those who opt out: Let them know you won’t send them any promotional messages. 

You may choose to ask them for the reasons for opting out to improve your messaging and customer targeting. However, customers don’t have to give you feedback. 

You could also tell them how they could opt in again in case they’ve accidentally pressed the opt-out option, or if they change their mind later.

  • Carefully choose the messages that should include an opt-out option: Adding a marketing opt-out button to every message may be repetitive and even encourage customers to opt out. Here are the scenarios WhatsApp suggests businesses include opt-out options:

  • The first promotional/marketing message a customer receives from your business.

  • The first message after a long period without marketing messages.

  • Messages that are sent to unengaged customers.

For more information on opt-ins, please read our article Opt-ins, consents and WhatsApp best practices and policies.

How can I check my messaging limit?

Log in to your Facebook Business account.

Go to Business Settings. On the left side, under Accounts, click on WhatsApp accounts. Go to Settings and then WhatsApp Manager.

On the left side, click on Overview and then Insights.

Final thoughts

After businesses verify their Facebook Business account and their display name is approved, they can start 1k business-initiated conversations with 1k unique customers. 

Their messaging limit can increase gradually to 10k, followed by 100k, and then unlimited, depending on their messaging volume and quality rating. 

The phone number’s quality rating is decided based on the quality signals WhatsApp receives from the customers, for example, blocks, reports, and the reasons customers provide. If you send messages that are relevant to your customers, in the right context and in a timely manner, you can maintain a high-quality rating and continue to increase your messaging limits.

Further readings

Opt-ins, consents and WhatsApp best practices and policies

The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business

Best Practices for Display Names on WhatsApp Business Platform/API

An Introductory Guide to WhatsApp Business Platform/API

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