Last Updated on September 5, 2023
“ 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 to all 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.
Table of Content
- What is WhatsApp Cloud API?
- Differences between WhatsApp Cloud API and WhatsApp on premises API
- WhatsApp Cloud API features
- How does it work?
- How to get the WhatsApp Cloud API
- Pros of using WhatsApp Cloud API
- Cons of using WhatsApp Cloud API
- WhatsApp Cloud API pricing
- Parting words
So now, coming straight to the point.
What is WhatsApp Cloud API?
WhatsApp Business API suffered from a few setbacks, such as businesses needing to go through a Business Service Provider (BSP) to get WhatsApp API. Also, the application process was time consuming, and not a lot of businesses could afford the exorbitant charges that BSPs were quoting.
To counter this, WhatsApp introduced the WhatsApp cloud API, where the API is hosted on Meta-owned cloud servers instead of the servers provided by the BSP. This makes the WhatsApp Business Cloud API more cost effective and easier to access for smaller businesses.
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.
Differences between WhatsApp on premises API and WhatsApp Cloud API
|WhatsApp on Premises API||WhatsApp Cloud API|
|Accessed||Can be accessed only after registering with a Business Service Provider.||Can be accessed free from Facebook.|
|Hosting||If you are an individual business owner or a BSP, you need to host the API software on your own servers and in data centres.||Hosting is taken care of by Meta.|
|Costs||BSPs need to bear the cost of setting up and maintaining their servers. BSPs also need to pay per message sent per conversation.||Meta pays the hosting costs, and businesses only need to pay per message sent or conversation.|
|API Protocol||WhatsApp On premises uses REST API.||Uses Graph API|
|Maintenance||Business Service Providers need to perform software upgrades from time to time, as and when they are available.||Meta performs the API software upgrades and also makes new features and software updates readily available for the cloud API.|
|Server Location||Server location is based on the business.||Servers are located in North America.|
|Uptime||Cannot be specified since it depends on the BSPs infrastructure.||Meta has set a goal of 99.9% uptime.|
|Sticker Pack Management API||Supported||Not supported.|
|Single- tenant vs. Multi-tenant:||Single-tenant (single phone number per deployment).||Multi-tenant. Multiple phone numbers can be registered on CAPI.|
Differences between WhatsApp Cloud API and WhatsApp on premises AOI
Features of Whatsapp Cloud API
Some of the key features of WhatsApp Cloud API include:
- Free API Software upgrades
- End-to-End encryption
- No Hosting costs.
- Ability to schedule WhatsApp messages at scale.
- Upto 250 messages combined per second sending and receiving.
- Support for critical issues that are available 24/7.
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.
How to get the WhatsApp Cloud API
Step 1: Log in to the Facebook developer account
The first step to setting up is to visit developers.facebook.com and log in using your Facebook credentials.
You will then get an option to “Create App.” Click on it.
Step 2: Select the app type
In the next step, select “Business” as your 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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. You can now integrate your favorite chatbot with Whatsapp using Kommunicate and Whatsapp cloud API. As customers, you get the advantage of easy scalability. We will be providing this API in our Grow plan an integration. Kommunicate is a no-code chatbot builder that lets you build your WhatsApp chatbot in three simple steps.
- Build your chatbot using Kompose, our easy-to-use drag and drop chatbot builder powered by AI.
- Integrate chatbot with the WhatsApp bot API.
- Test your WhatsApp chatbot by sending messages to the number linked to your account.
Here is the quick video
Pros of using WhatsApp Cloud API
- 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. It essentially eliminates the middleman, and businesses across the globe will get direct access to the WhatsApp Business API.
- 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.
- 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 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.
WhatsApp Cloud API pricing
Although It is free to access, users are charged on the basis of conversations they have with a business. There are two categories of conversations in WhatsApp fall under. They are:
- User-initiated: A user-initiated conversation is one where a user messages a business and the business reverts back to the user within 24 hours.
- Business-initiated: Once a business messages a user 24 hours after a user-initiated message, the conversation is termed a business-initiated conversation.
Irrespective of a user-initiated conversation or a business-initiated conversation, WhatsApp provides the first 1000 conversations every month for free. Beyond this limit, users must add a credit card to their account to continue using WhatsApp service.
Even if a WhatsApp Business Account has multiple numbers attached to it, the free message limit of 1000 messages still holds, and this free limit is refreshed every month.
Also, WhatsApp will not charge the businesses when the users reach out to a business through the business’s Click- To-Action (CTA) button.
Here are some of the rates for “Cost per Conversation” in USD
|Market||Business- initiated Rate||User- initiated Rate|
|Argentina||$ 0.0526||$ 0.0316|
|Colombia||$ 0.0100||$ 0.0060|
|Egypt||$ 0.1073||$ 0.0644|
|Germany||$ 0.1365||$ 0.0819|
|India||$ 0.0066||$ 0.0040|
|United Arab Emirates||$ 0.0316||$ 0.0190|
|United Kingdom||$ 0.0647||$ 0.0388|
|North America||$ 0.0147||$ 0.0088|
For more details on pricing, refer to this page.
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 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.