If you are considering using the WhatsApp Business API, let me tell you that you are making the right decision. WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app with a message open rate of 98%.
This makes it an essential channel to interact with customers and give them support. There are many advantages of using WhatsApp Business, but which of the three WhatsApp solutions should we use? If there is already a big difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business , the WhatsApp Business API adds even more layers of functionality for marketing.
So what is the WhatsApp Business API exactly?
APIs connect two software tools so they can communicate with each other and share data.
In this case, the WhatsApp Business API connects a marketing platform or CRM with WhatsApp Business. Access to the API is provided by official WhatsApp Business partners, typically marketing SaaS providers.
In other words, your software needs to integrate with WhatsApp to use its API and be able to send messages (pay attention to Sendinblue news!).
Why? Because the WhatsApp Business API is not stand-alone software, it uses a third-party interface to create campaigns, track results, and manage lists.
Therefore, the WhatsApp Business API adds a wide variety of resources to your marketing arsenal, as well as opening the doors to new possibilities:
- Sending transactional messages (order confirmations) and alerts (eg appointment reminders, delivery changes)
- Real-time customer support
- Answer to frequently asked questions with automated messages
- Sending WhatsApp marketing messages
- Creation of multi-channel automation workflows (in addition to email, SMS and Facebook Messenger, for example)
The WhatsApp Business API is a robust integration designed for medium to large businesses with larger support teams and more complex engagement tactics. You will be able to communicate directly with each client when you need it, offer them a better experience and save time thanks to the automation features.
How can you start using the WhatsApp Business API?
The easiest way is to access the WhatsApp Business API through a business solution provider. Thus, you will be able to use a more intuitive interface of the platform without having to integrate the API directly in your backend environment. And you forget to programm
If you don’t have an official company account, the company name is displayed next to the phone number instead of replacing it.
Here is a brief summary of the steps required to start using WhatsApp for Business:
- Find a provider that is a WhatsApp partner that gives you access to the API
- Use your carrier’s embedded record to connect your WhatsApp business account and phone numbers. If you have been using the WhatsApp Business app and want to switch to the API, you can migrate your phone number and associate it with the API.
- If you don’t have a WhatsApp Business account, you can also create one directly in this step from the partner platform.
- Follow the verification process of your business. It is a mandatory step that protects the consumer. WhatsApp needs to verify that you are authorized to represent the brand you are registering. All business accounts go through this process to prevent fraudulent contacts with users. Here you have more information .
- Optional: request an official company account to add another level of verification and therefore credibility. Doing so will display a green tick next to the company name in your WhatsApp account. The drawback is that these accounts are difficult to obtain and are only granted to very well-known brands.
- Specify the company name that will be displayed for approval by WhatsApp following these instructions . The name will appear in chats instead of the phone number, as in the image above. This option is only available for official accounts. For all other accounts, the name will appear in small print next to the phone number in the contact information.
- Create message templates and send them through the API for approval by WhatsApp. The approval process is usually done by artificial intelligence, so it will only take a few minutes.
- Create a list of contacts who have given their consent to be contacted via WhatsApp. Users can consent on your website or through a Facebook call-to-action button, QR code, or banner ad. These are the consent requirements in WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Business API Features
The company profile in WhatsApp is like a business card. You can add a logo, address, business hours and even products directly. This way, users will be able to see this information in the app without having to go to your website.
Types of messages you can send
It’s important to know what message types WhatsApp supports to get the most out of the API and budget for costs.
First of all, we have outgoing and incoming messages.
- Outbound – These are the messages that the business sends to the consumer (also called “notifications” or “message templates”). They can only be sent to contacts who have given their consent and must follow approved templates.
- Incoming : These are the messages that consumers send to contact the company. No consent is necessary, since, by contacting you on WhatsApp, they agree to receive your response. Also, these messages do not follow templates.
A great advantage of WhatsApp messages over SMS is that they support interactive messages (with images, video, attachments, reply buttons, products and lists).
Another important aspect of the WhatsApp Business API is the 24-hour sessions, which affect both the price and the actions allowed.
If a user contacts you on WhatsApp, you have 24 hours to respond with a free-form message or exchange as many messages as necessary. If more than 24 hours have passed since the customer’s last message, you can reopen the conversation with a template message. It is a way to ensure that the user only receives relevant messages that follow WhatsApp policies .
If you want to start a conversation, you have to use an outgoing message and also follow a template. You can create templates in Facebook Business Manager or by using your provider’s WhatsApp Business API interface. Below, you will find some of the templates available. For now, they cannot be edited; just delete. It is best to use a test account so you don’t have to edit them.
Because the WhatsApp Business API has direct access to your CRM, you can use customer behavior data to send timely and relevant WhatsApp messages.
Here are some ideas of what you can do:
- Streamline password resets and two-step verifications
- Promote your product catalog
- Set up quick responses to frequently asked questions
- Set up automated messages that are sent outside of customer service hours
- Create welcome flows
- Send appointment or reorder reminders
- Communicate status and delivery updates
- Offer new products to the most loyal customers
- Ask customers for feedback
WhatsApp Business API Price
You will be charged for messages delivered, plus an extra fee from the API provider.
Meta calls it “conversation-based pricing.” This means that a charge is applied for each 24-hour session that is started to chat, no matter how many messages are exchanged in this period of time. The rate depends on the customer’s country and the party initiating the conversation (the company or the customer).
The first 1000 conversations of the month are free. You also won’t be charged for conversations that start when the user clicks a Facebook ad or call-to-action button (although ads are paid for separately). In addition, a progressive discount is applied as the volume of conversations increases. You can get more information here .
Limitations of the WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp enforces strict policies to ensure a positive customer experience and prevent spam. This is what you should keep in mind.
Messages can be up to a thousand characters long. You can have a maximum of 250 templates and 25 phone numbers per company account, although there is no limit to the number of company accounts Business Manager allows.
WhatsApp evaluates the experience you offer to the customer with a quality rating . Like the sender’s reputation in email marketing, the recipient’s reaction to your messages is taken into account: if they read them and respond to them, or block them and report them. If you have a high quality rating, you can send notifications whenever you need to. For that, you just have to follow the WhatsApp recommendations .
Message limits apply . These limits depend on the quality of your outgoing messages and the volume you send. If your quality rating is not low and you send more and more messages to your customers, your limit will be upgraded to a higher one. Here you will find a detailed explanation of the process .