WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging and video calling app; it is used by over 2 billion people in more than 180 countries.
Some of the software applications we designed and developed for our customers needed to be integrated with WhatsApp Business API services as they wanted and needed to communicate with their staff and/or customers.
This short article is not about technical aspects of integrating your software with WhatsApp Business API. If you are a software developer looking for instructions how to integrate with WhatsApp, you can find a detailed API documentation at Meta’s® resources for developers.
If you are not a software developer and need to integrate with WhatsApp Business API – talk to us! We can definitely help you.
This article outlines some of the important aspects you may want to consider when thinking about integrating your software with WhatsApp Business API.
1. You will need WhatsApp Business App
This is the first step: if you want to communicate with your Customers through your Business Profile, you will need WhatsApp Business App. This may as well be the last step. WhatsApp Business App is perfect for micro-businesses, which do not mind its limitations (up to 5 devices, single user account and no options for professional services) and do not need integration with Business API. Use the WhatsApp Business app to interact with your customer base through your business account.
Here is an important fact to remember: if you are already using a WhatsApp Personal app and are considering using WhatsApp Business App you may want to use a separate, valid phone number (landline or mobile); it does not require a separate SIM-card. However, if you do not have or want to use a separate phone number and will use the phone number currently associated with your personal WhatsApp then all you conversations will be migrated from the personal WhatsApp app to WhatsApp Business app. This may, or may not, be what you want.
2. You will need WhatsApp Business Account
Apart of the obvious one (you will need a FaceBook account – yes, WhatsApp is owned by Meta – a new name for Facebook) you will need a WABA – WhatsApp Business Account. You can create your own, or your Business Solutions Provider can create one of you.
3. You will need an opt-in from your contacts
You can only send messages to contacts you either contacted you (your business directly) or clearly opted-in to receive messages from your business.
4. WhatsApp for Business is NOT free
Meta charges for the service. The introduce concept of a conversation. A single conversation is an exchange between you and your contact within a period of 24-hours starting from the moment conversation was initiated (first message sent by you to your contact or by your contact to you). Once this 24-hours period lapses, and the communication (exchange of messages) continues, the next conversation (and the charge starts, that will last for next 24h.
The pricing depends on whether the conversation was initiated by you (you sent the first message out to your contact) or by your contact (they send the first message to you). Conversations initiated by your contacts are less expensive than the ones initiated by you (and you are charged only if you reply to such messages)d.
5. There are no Groups in WhatsApp Business
If using WhatsApp personal app, you are more than familiar with WhatsApp Groups – a chat-room like conversations between multiple participants (considered by some extremely useful, by others way too noisy), but whatever is your take on it – groups do not exists in WhatsApp Business world. The concept of conversations somewhat excludes Groups messaging. You can broadcast messages to your contacts, but each reply from your contact will be within a separate conversation (i.e they will not see replies from other contacts).
6. Danger of deactivation
Using WhatsApp Business requires adherence to strict Business and Commerce policies; your business account and the service can be blocked and deactivated those policies are violated.