WhatsApp API: Detailed Overview for Businesses (2024)

Last update: 4th June, 2024

In the world of instant messaging, WhatsApp has become the go-to platform for businesses to connect with their customers. With the introduction of WhatsApp API also known as WhatsApp Business API or WhatsApp Cloud API, businesses can now scale their conversations on WhatsApp and do much more like never before. In this article, we’re going to find out how.

But before moving ahead, let’s take a step back and quickly review the evolution of WhatsApp and understand why they decided to launch the WhatsApp API in the first place.

WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business Mobile Apps

WhatsApp Mobile App

WhatsApp mobile app that we all use and are familiar with of has more than 3 Billion users worldwide. More than 90% of chat app users prefer WhatsApp in more than 10 nations. In India alone, 500+ million individuals use WhatsApp each month which accounts for nearly 25% of the app’s global user base. The average open rate is 98% and the click-through rate is between 40% and 45%.

That makes WhatsApp huge!

With these statistics, you can imagine how beneficial it would be for businesses to use WhatsApp to reach out to their customers. That led to the launch of a separate free app specifically made for businesses.

WhatsApp Business Mobile App

Screenshot

In 2009 WhatsApp launched their WhatsApp Business app which instantly gave businesses a medium to directly interact with their customers. Since then WhatsApp Business has skyrocketed in popularity with over 50 million users globally.

However, WhatsApp Business app had its own limitations. You could use it for basic communication with your customers, but it fell short when you had to do more.

For example, you could only broadcast to up to 256 customers, no integration was possible with your website/app/CRM and you could not automate your conversations with your customers.

This is where WhatsApp API came into picture.

Enter WhatsApp API

In August 2018, Facebook launched WhatsApp API which is also knows WhatsApp Business API, to help large businesses with more complex needs that could not be fulfilled with the WhatsApp Business mobile app.

Facebook licensed third-party Business Solution Providers (aka BSPs), who then sold the API to large companies as resellers. Large companies benefited from this immensely and you might have seen WhatsApp messages from these companies on your own WhatsApp through these years.

But during all this, small businesses struggled as they could not use the API because of high prices, complicated tools and extra markup (as high as 35%) by BSPs.

Facebook came to their rescue around May 2022 and introduced WhatsApp Cloud API which led to a transformation in WhatsApp marketing landscape. Now any business, regardless of its size and resources, could directly access the API without going through a BSP and save on both the exorbitant tool charges charged by BSPs but also save on the extra markup on API pricing.

Now, let’s understand what WhatsApp API is exactly.

What is WhatsApp API?

WhatsApp API is a cloud-hosted API, officially provided by WhatsApp, that you can use to send and receive WhatsApp messages programatically. Now businesses and developers can access the API directly and build their own tools to send bulk marketing or transactional messages or use a tool like WANotifier to do that.

Before May, 2022, the only way to access WhatsApp API was through BSPs. But after the launch of WhatsApp Cloud API, anyone can consume and use the API without going through a BSP and paying them the exorbitant prices and extra markup on default WhatsApp API pricing that they used to charge.

Why Use WhatsApp API?

With the help of WhatsApp API, small and medium businesses can connect to a their customers in much better way than the free WhatsApp Business mobile app. Businesses can now use the API for its growth and success and benefit from:

  1. Enhanced Customer Engagement: Sending personalized messages to customers helps businesses develop stronger relationships and cultivate greater customer loyalty.
  2. Improved Response Times: Businesses can save time and ensure customers receive quick responses to their inquiries by automating message responses. This feature greatly improves the overall customer experience.
  3. Increased Efficiency: The API enables seamless integration of WhatsApp with existing business systems, streamlining operations and reducing manual work. This integration eliminates the need to switch between platforms. This in turn improves overall efficiency and productivity.
  4. Cost-Effective Communication: The WhatsApp API works on a pay-per-conversation pricing model, which ensures businesses only pay for the messages they send. If your company has different communication needs, this can prove to be a cost-effective approach

The emergence of the WhatsApp API has revolutionized customer engagement in WhatsApp marketing. Your business can cultivate stronger relationships and loyalty and improved response time will enhance the overall customer experience. 

WhatsApp Business API offers immense benefits for a wide range of businesses, making it an invaluable tool for organizations of all sizes and industries.

Who Can Benefit from the WhatsApp API?

The WhatsApp API is a versatile solution and it suits businesses of all sizes, from small start-ups to large enterprises. It doesn’t matter what type of industry you are in, whether you are retail, healthcare, financial, or any other company, you can harness the power of the WhatsApp API to streamline your communication processes and improve customer engagement. 

You can integrate the WhatsApp API into your marketing strategies, and you can enjoy numerous benefits to contribute to your success.

Here are a few use cases of WhatsApp API:

  1. Broadcasting bulk promotional messages
  2. Sending personalized marketing campaigns
  3. Setting up automated notifications and updates for timely communication
  4. Reducing abandoned carts on e-commerce stores by sending timely reminders
  5. Automating reminders for filling out applications, such as for financial services or online courses
  6. Collecting real-time customer feedback for valuable insights
  7. Incentivizing customers choosing cash on delivery (COD) as a payment method
  8. Upselling and cross-selling
  9. Enhancing user engagement with interactive messages and CTAs
  10. And more more

As you can see, WhatsApp API offers a wide range of benefits for businesses and developers alike, enabling seamless integration and enhanced communication capabilities. Now, let’s discuss how to implement it in your business.

How to Get Started with WhatsApp API? 

As the API is programmatic API, to get started you need to use some kind of tool or system to send bulk messages, schedule notifications, setup integration with your website/app, access incoming messages in some kind of Inbox, setup automations and report and do other things.

You have 3 options to get started:

Option 1 – Build an in-house tool

You can hire developers to integrate the API with your website or CRM tool through custom coding or create your own interface to facilitate uploading or contacts and sending them bulk messages.

This would mean that the developer would need to build everything from scratch, which can be both costly and time-consuming affair for most business. An easier way would be to use a pre-built tool to use the API.

Option 2 – Sign up with a Business Solutions Provider (BSP)

You can sign up with one of the dozens of BSPs in the market, who are the official partners of WhatsApp for providing API. You can use their tool to send and receive WhatsApp messages so you don’t have to build your own tool.

A big downside of working with BSPs is that they act as intermediaries and charge high monthly fees in addition to 12-35% of WhatsApp’s standard per-conversation pricing.

Some challenges working with BSPs include:

  1. High Pricing: Traditional BSPs mainly target large companies, which results in pricing models that are not feasible for smaller businesses.
  2. Extra Markup: In addition to the standard per-conversation fees charged by WhatsApp, the BSPs impose an additional premium of 12-35%. This increases the overall cost of WhatsApp marketing.
  3. Pre-Purchase of Credits: When working with BSPs, it’s mandatory to purchase message credits in advance. This puts a financial strain on most companies, as they have to allocate funds beforehand, regardless of their immediate messaging requirements.
  4. Cluttered Tools: BSPs often bundle multiple functionalities, such as marketing, customer support, and sales, into a single tool. This approach creates complexity, making it difficult for businesses to understand and use these tools effectively.
  5. Indirect API Access and Billing: As BSPs act as intermediaries, you have less control our the API setup and billing and there is no way to access the API directly.

Option 3 – Sign up with WANotifier!

Unlike Business Solution Providers, WANotifier is an official Meta Tech Partner. At WANotifier, we offer a simple tool that is built on top of WhatsApp Cloud API that you can use with your own API credentials or setup account through our simple embedded signup flow if you’re less tech savvy.

WANotifier Dashboard

With WANotifier have full control over the setup, usage, and billing, with the advantage of lower costs compared to BSPs. We provide a free forever plan with our tool, while providing all the features offered by BSPs.

The biggest benefit with us over everything else is we do not charge extra markup on top of WhatsApp’s standard API pricing.

Why WANotifier?

WhatsApp API has revolutionized the approach to WhatsApp marketing, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and WANotifier brings to you all that WhatsApp API has to offer that’s not currently offered by any other provider in the market.

  1. No Coding Knowledge Required: With WhatsApp API and WANotifier, you can generate API keys, put them in the tool and you’re ready to go without requiring any coding expertise or hiring a developer to build your own system.
  2. Direct API Access: You can now bypass expensive Business Solutions Providers (BSPs), and consume the API directly via our tool. Imagine how much this will reduce your WhatsApp marketing costs!
  3. No Extra Markup: Unlike BSPs, WANotifier do not impose additional markup on top of the default WhatsApp API price. This ensures profitability for your company and allows you to maximize your marketing budget.
  4. No Pre-Purchase of Credits Required: With WANotifier and WhatsApp API, your business can avoid the financial burden of purchasing credits in advance. Instead, you can adopt a pay-as-you-go model, allowing for greater flexibility and control over your messaging expenses.
  5. Direct API Billing: You can manage your API billing directly through WhatsApp. This process streamlines the payment process and provides transparency in billing-related activities.

WANotifier is a comprehensive WhatsApp marketing tool that seamlessly integrates with the WhatsApp API. Thus, providing your business with an efficient and effective communication platform. Our all-in-one solution offers a range of key features and functionality that fulfills all the needs for your WhatsApp marketing campaigns.

How to Get Started with WANotifier?

To get started with WANotifier, create your free forever account with us. We offer a free forever plan in which you can upload upto 1,000 contacts to fully test the platform without paying us anything for the tool (note that WhatsApp API charges would still apply).

It’s essential here to note that WhatsApp has made it mandatory to have the following 4 requirements to use the official API:

  1. Phone Number: A unique phone number that will be associated with the API and shown to message recipients. Note that this number cannot be used with the WhatsApp mobile app simultaneously.
  2. Registered Business: A legally registered business with government-issued documentation, such as incorporation documents or a GST certificate. If you’re from India, GST registration is mandatory.
  3. Website: A live business website with a privacy policy page
  4. Payment Method: A credit or debit card for WhatsApp Manager portal API billing.

Now these requirements are a bit strict, but WhatsApp has enforced these to avoid misuse of their API for SPAM.

Frequently Asked Questions about WhatsApp API

Is WhatsApp API free?

No, WhatsApp API is not free. You need to pay a small per-conversation fees for the messages you send using the API. To learn more about the pricing, you can refer to our detailed article on WhatsApp API pricing.

Who uses WhatsApp API?

WhatsApp provides different avenues for businesses to reach out to their customers that includes the free WhatsApp Business mobile app and the WhatsApp API.

WhatsApp API is mainly used by businesses that want to reach out to a large number of people for marketing, have advance tracking and analytics needs, want to run advanced automations / chatbots, send transactional notification from their websites/apps or manage other such complex workflows on WhatsApp.

Why is WhatsApp API expensive?

That’s a great question and there’s a valid reason for this. Let’s compare WhatsApp with email. Email is free and because of that marketers flood your inbox with all sorts of SPAM emails. Maybe over 90% of the emails in your inbox are useless marketing emails and you almost never read them.

Now think of this from context of WhatsApp. If WhatsApp made the messages sent from API also free, your WhatsApp inbox will also get flooded with all sorts of marketing messages. And once this happens, you’ll stop opening those messages and might even stop using WhatsApp because of the junk.

So to maintain quality of messages you get and provide optimum user experience for their users, charging for WhatsApp API is a good measure by WhatsApp. This not only keeps the WhatsApp inbox clean but makes sure business are thoughtful when sending the messages because each message costs them money.

Can I use WhatsApp Business app with WhatsApp API?

The WhatsApp Business mobile app and WhatsApp API work in totally different ways. You can either use your phone number on the mobile app or with the API, but not in both places at the same time.

How to setup WhatsApp API?

Setting up WhatsApp API is easy. At WANotifier we provide two different ways of setting up WhatsApp API: using embedded signup flow and using your own custom API credentials. You can checkout our comprehensive step-by-step instructions on setting up WhatsApp API with your phone number to learn more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the emergence of the WhatsApp API has revolutionized the way companies approach WhatsApp marketing. WANotifier seamlessly integrates with the WhatsApp API and offers businesses a comprehensive solution to send bulk marketing and transactional messages.

You can leverage the power of the WhatsApp API and WANotifier to streamline your business communication processes, deliver targeted messages, and ultimately achieve more sales and greater customer satisfaction. Don’t miss the opportunity to harness the potential of WhatsApp API and WANotifier to take your business communication to new heights!

Get Started with WANotifier for Free Today!