Opt-in and Opt-out

On this page, you learn what opt-in is and how to collect it, and its best practices.

What is Opt-in?

Opt-in is a consent you receive from your customers that states they’re willing to receive messages from your business. WhatsApp doesn’t enforce, but rather, highly recommends businesses collect opt-in from customers before their first time contacting them.

This way, customers get to decide who to receive messages from so that their WhatsApp inbox is not flooded with spam. Moreover, it prevents businesses from getting reported or blocked by customers. If many customers report or block your business account, that negatively affects your messaging limits and quality rating. In some cases, it can potentially get your business account banned from WhatsApp.

Although WhatsApp doesn’t enforce receiving opt-ins from customers, it may reactively evaluate a business’ opt-in flows, including user feedback, to flag policy violations. In future, it might introduce additional types of opt-in enforcement.

Note: A customer reaching out to you doesn’t act as an opt-in. They must still opt in to receive future proactive messages from you on WhatsApp.

How to collect opt-ins?

Businesses are allowed to obtain opt-in in any way they want; 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)

Make sure to store a record of all customer opt-ins and check that record before sending a message to anyone on WhatsApp.

Website - Your website visitors are potential customers. You can include an opt-in option on your homepage and tell them the benefits of receiving messages from you and asking them to leave their numbers if they wish.

Existing communication channels - You can collect opt-ins in a WhatsApp thread. If a user messages you for the first time, you can ask for consent immediately. Besides this channel, you can use all existing channels of communication that you use, including social media, SMS, email, phone calls, and more.

Example of an Interactive WhatsApp message used for collecting opt-ins.

Point of Sale - When a customer purchases a product from your online store, at any point in their journey, such as the checkout page, you can ask them to opt into receiving messages from you. You should give examples of what messages they receive, for example, order confirmation messages, new product announcements, etc. so that they’re more likely to opt in.

Sign-up forms - If you offer products or services that require signing up, you can use a checkbox so that customers can opt in as they enter their sign-up information.

Best Practices for Opt-ins

Below are some useful ways to improve your opt-ins and reduce your report or block:

Users should expect the messages they receive from you.

You can set this expectation in 2 ways:

  • Your opt-in encompass different categories of messages that you send to customers, such as payment confirmation, shipping update, new product announcements, etc.
  • Obtain separate opt-ins for each specific message category so that they can select what kinds of messages they’d receive from you.

Allow opt-out.

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 confirmations from you, but you shouldn’t send them promotional messages anymore if they opt out of them. Giving customers this option reduces your chances of getting blocked and having your messaging limits affected. Here are some tips for giving customers an excellent opt-out experience:

  • Honor all opt-out requests: Make sure you don’t send 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.

  • Tell them how to opt in again: In your opt out confirmation, tell them how they can opt in again in case they accidentally opted out or if they decide later that they want to opt in again.

    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. \

  • 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.

Ensure your opt-in and opt-out flows are clear and intuitive for users.

Customers should easily know that they are opting in to receive messages from you and be able to find out how to opt out.

Communicate the value of receiving messages from you on WhatsApp.

In your opt-in request, let the customers know what kinds of messages with what content they receive. For example, if you have an eCommerce store and send shipping tracking messages after customers place an order, let them know that by opting in, they get notified of their order’s whereabouts and when to expect to receive it.

Monitor your quality rating, especially when rolling out new opt-in and opt-out methods.

When many customers report or block your number, it reflects on your phone number status and quality rating. These are great metrics to check if your opt-in or opt-out methods are working. If not, then you’d need to change them.