What is Session Expiry on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram?

Modified on Fri, 17 Feb 2023 at 03:39 AM

On WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, messaging happens in the form of conversations.  A conversation is defined as a message thread between a business and an end-user. Each conversation is controlled by a session that lasts 24 hours. With the help of a session, Meta controls how businesses interact with end-users to ensure their platforms are used meaningfully. 

Facebook Messenger and Instagram

With Standard Messaging, businesses will have up to 24 hours to respond to a message from a user. The 24-hour session begins when a user does one of the following: 

  • User sends a message to the Facebook Page of the business
  • User clicks a call-to-action button within a Messenger conversation
  • User starts a conversation by clicking a click-to-Messenger Ad

The 24-hour session will restart every time a user sends you a new message. The session ends when 24 hours have passed since the user's last message. 

On Facebook Messenger and Instagram, once the 24-hour session ends, businesses will not be able to reply to the user. Replying will only be possible if and when the user sends a new message which will initiate a new 24-hour session. 


WhatsApp currently defines conversations in two ways - User-initiated and Business-initiated. Let's see how the two are different below. 

  • User-initiated: A conversation session that starts when the customer first messages you. In this scheme, you can freely reply to the contents of the message without using a template. One User-initiated conversation session starts from your first reply message and will end after 1x24 hours of the first reply message being sent.

  • Business-initiated: A conversation that starts when you first message a customer. In this scheme, you must use a broadcast template that has been approved by Facebook. For more info on Message Templates, check hereOne Business Initiated conversation session starts when you send your first message via broadcast, and ends 24 hours after the first message was sent. During this 24-hour conversation phase, you can send broadcast messages to subscribers multiple times.


Session Simulation

Let's look at a few scenarios to understand Business-initiated and User-initiated conversations better. 

Business-initiated Conversation:

Scenario #1

  • The admin sends out a broadcast message on Monday at 13:00, which means the 1st conversation session begins.

  • Customers respond to messages on the same day, Monday at 14:00.

  • There were conversations between admin and customers until 19:30.

  • On Tuesday at 13:00, conversation session #1 ends.

  • Total counted 1x session = 1 quota.


Scenario #2

  • When the #1 conversation session ends, the admin can still continue to the #2 conversation session if the customer is still replying to the message.

  • However, if the customer does not reply to the message, then the admin can start a conversation session #2 first by sending a Broadcast back or using an Inbox Template.

  • This conversation session #2 will be counted as a new session, which means using a new quota.


User-initiated Conversation:

  • Customers send messages to admin on Thursdays at 14:00.

  • The admin replied to the message on the same day, Thursday at 14:30, which means conversation session 1 started.

  • There was a conversation between the customer and the admin until 20:00.

  • On Friday at 2:30 p.m., conversation session #1 ends.

  • Business people will be charged 1x session = 1 quota.

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