Last Updated on June 15, 2022

The best business experiences meet people where they are.”

  Mark Zuckerberg, Conversations Keynote speech, 2022

Mark Zuckerberg was not making a statement into thin air when he said these words during Meta’s first-ever Conversation’s event. Meta just announced that the WhatsApp Cloud API and businesses across the world can now provide tailored experiences to their customers.

In this post, we will tell you all about WhatsApp Cloud API and how your business can benefit from it.

Before we dive a bit deeper, you might want to learn a bit about WhatsApp API and the difference between WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp API. We wrote a post explaining this in detail, which you can read here.

So now, coming straight to the point.

What is an API, and what is WhatsApp Cloud API?

An API (Application Programming Interface), in simple terms, is like a waiter in a hotel room. The waiter takes orders from the customers and conveys them to the kitchen. The waiter then returns the cooked food to the customer’s table.

Similarly, an API connects two software applications, allowing them to talk to each other. It takes information from one software application ( order from the customer). The API then conveys it to the other software application ( order to the kitchen), and then vice versa.

Until the announcement of WhatsApp Cloud API, WhatsApp didn’t allow businesses to have direct access to WhatsApp Business API. Instead, you had to go through one of a hundred plus WhatsApp Business Solution Providers to get approved for WhatsApp API, a detailed list of which can be found here.

This was done for a few reasons like:

  • Less resource-intensive: WhatsApp didn’t want to deal with additional resources that oversaw the API Application process. WhatsApp felt this process was easier if done through a partner.
  • Partner capabilities:  Some of the partners that Meta had teamed up with had resources that helped them vet the businesses that had access to the WhatsApp API. This makes the process less cumbersome for WhatsApp.

All this changed with the addition of WhatsApp Cloud API. Now, businesses can get their WhatsApp Business API accounts directly verified by Facebook for free. What this means is that small and medium businesses can easily tailor their customer experiences on top of WhatsApp . They do not need to pay BSPs (Business Service Providers) a fixed amount to get access to the WhatsApp Business API.

How does it work?

Like cloud service companies, Meta will act as a hosting service. Meta will take responsibility for maintenance, computation, storage, network, and all the other infrastructure-related costs that come with it. 

The Cloud API service will also allow businesses to send and receive up to 80 messages per second to a bunch of customer numbers. The service allows multiple phone numbers to be registered on the Cloud API.

If scaling is your concern, then Cloud API automatically scales to handle your workload, and the security updates are also available automatically on the Cloud API.

What has changed is the way your request to access WhatsApp Business API is processed and how fast it is to actually get it.

We will now take you through how to set up the WhatsApp Cloud API  so that you can get a first-hand view of how to get up and running with WhatsApp.

Setting up the WhatsApp Cloud API

Step 1: Log in to the Facebook developer account

The first step to setting up the WhatsApp Cloud API is to visit and log in using your Facebook credentials.

You will then get an option to “Create App.” Click on it.

 Log in to the Facebook developer account

Step 2: Select the app type

In the next step, select “Business” as your app type.

Select the app type

Step 3: Provide basic information

In this next step, you will have to provide basic information about your business. At this juncture, we would like to say that with the introduction of WhatsApp Cloud API, you no longer need a verified Facebook Business Manager account to get up and running, although we still recommend you to get a Facebook Business Manager account verified on the side.

For now, you can select “No Business Manager account selected” and click “Create App.”

Meta for developers

Step 4: Set up WhatsApp from the Dashboard

You would now have successfully logged into your Meta dashboard. From here, scroll down to the WhatsApp section and click “Set up.”

Set up Whatsapp from the dashboard

Step 5: Accept WhatsApp Business Platform API conditions

The next screen shows you a list of the Terms and Conditions you must accept before using the WhatsApp Cloud API. Hit the “Continue” button, and you are good to go.

Accept WhatsApp Business Platform API conditions

Step 6: Send a test message to a WhatsApp-enabled number

We now come to our final screen. Here you are given a unique Phone number ID and a unique WhatsApp Business Account ID. The “From” number is a Test number that is assigned to you. The “To” number is the number you wish to send your first WhatsApp text to.

Send a test message to a WhatsApp-enabled number.

Step 7: Enter the verification code you received

You will receive a verification code on your mobile phone from Facebook Business. Enter this number into the boxes provided to finish the verification.

enable verification code

 Step 8: Send your first message over WhatsApp Cloud API

It is now time for you to test if your integration of the customer number is a success. Select the message that you have just verified from the drop-down box and hit “Send Message.”

first message over whatsapp cloud API

Voila. You have just sent your first test message from your unique business number to your verified WhatsApp number over the WhatsApp Cloud API.

The message will look something like this.

whatsapp message

Now that you have access to the WhatsApp cloud API, to use it effectively, you need to add an interface. With Kommunicate, you can integrate seamlessly with WhatsApp and be one step closer to the customer. Kommunicate is a no-code chatbot builder that lets you build your WhatsApp chatbot in three simple steps.

  1. Build your chatbot using Kompose, our easy-to-use drag and drop chatbot builder powered by AI.
  2. Integrate chatbot with the WhatsApp bot API.
  3. Test your WhatsApp chatbot by sending messages to the number linked to your account.

Create your chatbot right now! Sign up with Kommunicate & get WhatsApp Business API for free.

Pros of using WhatsApp Cloud API

  1. Faster approval process: Earlier, businesses had to rely on Business Solution Providers and wait for the team to approve their business before getting access to the WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp Cloud API essentially eliminates the middleman, and businesses across the globe will get direct access to the WhatsApp Business API.
  2. Instant Updates: As mentioned above, you get direct access to the WhatsApp Business API, which means the updates added to the Business API are also instantly available to you, including the security updates.
  3. Reduced costs: Business Solution Providers charge a fixed amount for your business to get the WhatsApp Business API.  Meta has announced that the WhatsApp Cloud API setup charges are now totally free. This means businesses of all sizes can now access the WhatsApp Business API without paying a single dime.

Cons of using WhatsApp Cloud API

Although the pros far outweigh the cons in the case of WhatsApp Cloud API, there are a few minor hurdles that the developers at Meta are working hard to rectify. One of them is that you can use a phone number either with an on-premise WhatsApp Business API or with a WhatsApp cloud API, but not both.

Parting words

In simple terms, if you are a small business owner who is now considering using the WhatsApp Business API, then the timing could not have been better.

You get access to WhatsApp Cloud API in a matter of minutes, something which businesses struggled for weeks, sometimes months, in the past.

Also, you don’t need to approach a Business Solution Provider who will charge you an additional fee to give you access to the API. We still recommend getting the Facebook Verification done, though, because otherwise, you can’t explore all the exciting possibilities of WhatsApp Cloud API.

We hope we were able to answer your questions related to WhatsApp Cloud API. For more awesome content around chatbots and technology, keep watching this space.

At Kommunicate, we are envisioning a world-beating customer support solution to empower the new era of customer support. We would love to have you onboard to have a first-hand experience of Kommunicate. You can signup here and start delighting your customers right away.

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