What is WhatsApp Business API: The Complete Guide (2022)

updated on 04 October 2022

Overview

Do you want to connect with hundreds & thousands of users on WhatsApp instantly to drive 3x more sales & conversions from Day 1

WhatsApp Business API is the best means for you to seamlessly connect with global audiences at scale officially on a platform where they are most active - WhatsApp.

So, what is the WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business API is a programmable API, launched by Facebook in 2018 allowing businesses to Broadcast & receive Unlimited messages to a Global audience & drive better customer experiences on WhatsApp. 

WhatsApp Business API Benefits
WhatsApp Business API Benefits

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about WhatsApp Business  API including - 

Does your Business need WhatsApp Business API?


Do you really need to take your Business' Marketing & customer support on WhatsApp?

Definitely!

Why? Well, you should be marketing on WhatsApp because:

1. WhatsApp has 2.2 Billion Monthly Active users

2. WhatsApp Notifications have a 98% Message Open rate 

3. 45-60% Click-through Rate/ Engagement Rate

4. An average user opens WhatsApp 23 times each day. 

5. It's the perfect place to provide Personalized Customer Experiences.

To give you a perspective, Emails only have a 21% open rate & 2-5% Click-throughs. 

WhatsApp Vs Email Open Rate
WhatsApp Vs Email Open Rate

If you want to make the most out of WhatsApp Marketing for your Business, WhatsApp Business API is the best means to achieve that!

By connecting your WhatsApp Business API account with an official WhatsApp Marketing platform like AiSensy, you can:

1. Broadcast promotional messages to Unlimited users on WhatsApp (to opted-in users).

2. Automate Notifications on WhatsApp with Integrations

3. Get Verified Green Tick on WhatsApp to boost Business Authenticity

4. Provide Live Human Chat Support on Unlimited devices

5. Integrate WhatsApp Chatbots for automating support & sales

6. Send Retargeting Broadcast Campaigns

And much more...

But, why should you take the hassle to get WhatsApp API & pay for messages when you can do it all for Free with the WhatsApp Business App? 

Well, here's why!

Difference between WhatsApp Business App & WhatsApp API



WhatsApp Business App is a Free to use application that suits individuals and small businesses, allowing them to create a WhatsApp Business Account & connect with customers & drive sales. 

But, the major problem here is that you can't use WhatsApp Business App to engage with an audience at a large scale because of multiple downsides including:

1. WhatsApp Broadcast Limit of 256 users

2. Only users who've added you to their contacts will receive the Broadcast.

3. There's no option to track  analytics

4. You can't integrate WhatsApp Chatbot to automate customer support.

5. You can't send messages with Clickable Buttons or Quick Replies

To counter these limitations, you can use WhatsApp Business API for multiple users.

Here's how WhatsApp API compares to the WhatsApp Business App:

WhatsApp Business API Vs WhatsApp Business App
WhatsApp Business API Vs WhatsApp Business App

WhatsApp Business API is more powerful than WhatsApp Business APP as it allows you to:

Read: In-depth comparison between WhatsApp Business App Vs WhatsApp API

How do you send Messages on WhatsApp using WhatsApp Business API?


If a user initiates a conversation, the business can respond with any message for the next 24 hours from the user's latest message.

But, if a business wants to initiate a conversation by sending a WhatsApp Broadcast or notification, it needs to get the messages approved from WhatsApp.

WhatsApp verifies the message that you want to send to users, ensuring that it's free of errors and is in compliance with WhatsApp Commerce Policies

These messages, that you need to get approved from WhatsApp are known as WhatsApp Template Messages.

Template messages are sent by businesses to:

  • Initiate a conversation,
  • Send transactional messages (payment, orders, delivery alerts etc).
  • Send discount vouchers & promotional offers on WhatsApp

So, how do you create WhatsApp template messages?

You can create & approve Template Messages easily from AiSensy Dashboard.

WhatsApp Template Messages-ajof8

Read - Step-by-step guide on how to create a WhatsApp Template Message

Normally, WhatsApp Template messages take 15 minutes to 3 hours to get approved in AiSensy App by Facebook.

Once the template messages get approved, you can send them to your audience through a WhatsApp Broadcast.

Read: 30 WhatsApp Template Messages to get started

Who can apply for WhatsApp Business API?


There are 2 pre-requisites you must fulfil to apply for WhatsApp Business API:

  1.  A Business Website & Business Email

    A Business Website/ Business email ID is a must to get access to the WhatsApp API.

    Make sure your website footer includes your official Business name. 

  2.  A Fresh Phone Number

You need an active phone number that isn't currently registered with any of the WhatsApp accounts.

You can use an old phone number too but you'll have to permanently delete the WhatsApp App/Account active on it. Here's how to delete your WhatsApp Business App/ Account.

Once you get approved for WhatsApp API, you'll be able to send messages to 50 people in one go.

To increase the Broadcast Limit & use all WhatsApp API features, you must get your Facebook Business Manager verified

Read: How to get Facebook Business Manager Verified

How to apply for WhatsApp Business API?


There are 2 ways to apply for WhatsApp Business API:

1. Directly from Meta

Meta now provides businesses direct to the WhatsApp APIs with WhatsApp Cloud API.

WhatsApp Cloud API is the cloud version of WhatsApp Business API, which allows businesses & developers to build on top of WhatsApp, customize their experiences and respond to customers quickly & easily. 

But, there are a few major downsides of WhatsApp Cloud API including:

1. Meta doesn't provide a platform to use WhatsApp Cloud API

2. Meta isn't allowing Indian Businesses to pay for WhatsApp Conversations. 

3. Limited support provided by Meta (only via email)

Read: What is WhatsApp Cloud API: Everything you need to know

Read: WhatsApp Conversation based pricing explained

2. From a WhatsApp Business Partner 

WhatsApp Business Partners are intermediates that help you get quick access to WhatsApp Business API

Earlier, Meta didn't provide direct access to WhatsApp API. So, businesses took help from WhatsApp partners like AiSensy to get access to & as well as get a platform to use WhatsApp API.

Benefits of choosing a WhatsApp Partner for WhatsApp Business API


While Meta has opened WhatsApp to businesses with WhatsApp Cloud API, they don't exactly provide a platform to use WhatsApp Cloud API. Also, Meta isn't allowing Indian Businesses to make payments for WhatsApp Conversation Credits. 

By taking help from WhatsApp Partners like AiSensy to get WhatsApp API, you'll get:

  1. Fast & Free Access to WhatsApp Business API 
    You can apply for WhatsApp Business API for Free with AiSensy. It takes 10 - 24 hours to get your WhatsApp API account approved. 

  2. Complete Onboarding & Support
    Another significant benefit of choosing a WhatsApp Business partner is that they provide you with complete onboarding & support if you get stuck at any point. 

  3. Platform to use WhatsApp API
    WhatsApp Partners provide you with a no-code platform with robust features & easy to grasp UI to make the most out of WhatsApp Business API. 

What is the WhatsApp Business API Pricing?


There are 2 types of charges for WhatsApp Business API:

1. WhatsApp charges (for Conversations)

WhatsApp charges for each conversation businesses have with their users on WhatsApp in a 24-hour duration. A Conversation means when a business messages a user (thus initiating the Conversation) or replies in response to a user's message.

There are 2 types of Conversations -

User-Initiated Conversations (UIC)

User-initiated Conversation
User-initiated Conversation

Whenever a business replies to a user within the 24-hour customer service window, that message initiates a user-initiated conversation. For Indian recipients, UIC costs ₹0.35

Business Initiated Conversations (BIC)

Business-initiated Conversation
Business-initiated Conversation

A conversation that initiates from a business sending a user a message outside the 24-hour customer service window. Messages that initiate a business-initiated conversation will require a template. For Indian recipients, BIC costs ₹0.35User Initiated, which cost 0.35p/ conversation & Business-initiated Conversation, which cost 0.55p/ conversation.

Read: WhatsApp Conversation-based pricing explained

2. WhatsApp Business Partner charges

This is a variable cost. Each WhatsApp partner charges differently for providing a platform to make the most out of WhatsApp Business API.

If you go ahead with AiSensy as your WhatsApp Business partner, you’d need to pay a monthly cost of Rs 999 for 2000 Active Users. This means if you communicate with 2000 Active Users in a month, you’d be paying Rs 999 + 18% GST.  

There are many more flexible plans that will surely fit your business needs no matter the number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs) you connect with.

Check out: AiSensy Platform Pricing

Use Case Scenarios of WhatsApp Business API


You can't do anything by only having access to WhatsApp Business API.

You need to integrate your WhatsApp Business API account with a platform like AiSensy to use it for your Business' Marketing & Customer support. 

AiSensy is an official WhatsApp Marketing Platform built using WhatsApp Business APIs, helping businesses scale their sales with WhatsApp Marketing. 

Here are some important WhatsApp API Use Cases you can implement with AiSensy:

1. Broadcast Promotional Messages to Unlimited users 

Since October 2021, WhatsApp has allowed businesses to send promotional messages on WhatsApp.

You can send messages like discount offers, promotions on festivals, product launch messages, season-end-sale & much more to boost their sales & conversions. 

You can send these messages only to users who've opted-in for receiving WhatsApp notifications from your business. 

Read: 14 WhatsApp Promotional Message examples

Image above - WhatsApp Promotional Messages
Image above - WhatsApp Promotional Messages

2. Automate Notifications via Integrations

You can automate Notifications for Orders, Delivery, Payments, Abandoned Cart Reminders & more on WhatsApp.

With Automated Notifications enabled, the business can send automated notifications on WhatsApp for every order.  

AiSensy Platform allows users to connect with 3rd party apps like Hubspot, Shopify, WooCommerce, Razorpay & more to facilitate this.

3. Provide Live Human Chat Support on Multiple Devices

WhatsApp Business API allows businesses to manage customer support, boost conversions & business growth on WhatsApp. With the Business API, businesses can provide Live Chat support on Unlimited Devices using the same Phone Number. 

4. Integrate WhatsApp Chatbot to automate support & sales

A WhatsApp Chatbot is a Chatbot that functions on WhatsApp, answering customer queries, completing sales & collecting user attributes on WhatsApp.

It works just like a customer support agent delivering a human-like experience.

5. Send Messages with Clickable Buttons to boost conversions 

WhatsApp Business API allows you to send messages with clickable CTA & Quick Reply Buttons to make your messages highly actionable. 

Sending these buttons make your messages more engaging & interactive, like this👇

Image above - Automated WhatsApp Notification with Clickable CTA Buttons
Image above - Automated WhatsApp Notification with Clickable CTA Buttons

6. Send Messages with Rich Media to enhance Personalization

Using WhatsApp API, you can send personalized messages to hundreds & thousands of users in one go.

WhatsApp allows you to send messages across multiple fun formats with rich media including Images, Videos, PDFs, GIFs & much more. 

7. Send Payment Reminders, Links & Updates

WhatsApp Business API allows you to send Payment & Subscription reminders, payment links, and Event updates to drive users to your payment portals and events instantly!

You can automate Razorpay payment links on WhatsApp using AiSensy to collect 3x more payments, faster. 

We've covered more amazing Usage Scenarios of WhatsApp Business API. Check them out by clicking the below link. 

Read : 12 Amazing WhatsApp API Use Cases

WhatsApp Business API Usage Scenarios for different Teams

There are multiple Use Cases of WhatsApp Business API for different departments across your Business. Different teams can use WhatsApp API for multiple purposes. Here's how:

1. Sales & Marketing Team - WhatsApp Marketing is a boon for your Sales & Marketing team as you can Broadcast promotional messages to Unlimited users & boost your sales & conversions. 

2. Support Team - WhatsApp is the best platform to provide live one-to-one customer support. WhatsApp Business API allows your support team to provide Live Chat support & answer customer queries instantly across multiple devices. 

3. In-house Communication - If you're an enterprise, maintaining a proper communication channel is important. WhatsApp Business API allows you to Broadcast important updates, and announcements & more easily across the team. 

WhatsApp Business API FAQs

No, WhatsApp API isn't free. You need to pay WhatsApp Conversation charges for Business & User Initiated Conversations (varies country-wise) as well as platform charges for using a WhatsApp Business API-based platform like AiSensy.

AiSensy's WhatsApp Business API pricing starts at Rs 999/ month for 2000 contacts. Meanwhile, WhatsApp Conversation charges for each User-initiated Conversation are Rs 0.35 & for each Business initiated Conversation are Rs 0.55.

To get WhatsApp Business API, you need to connect with a WhatsApp Partner like AiSensy. With AiSensy, you can create a Free WhatsApp Business API Account & try it in a 14-Day Free Trial.

No, you can’t! The number which is active on WhatsApp Business API can’t be registered on WhatsApp Apps. Also, if a number is already registered on WhatsApp Apps, you must delete that WhatsApp Account to register for WhatsApp Business API.

You can automate WhatsApp messages to your customers like welcome messages, order/ payment confirmations, abandoned cart notifications, application drop-off notifications & more by connecting your CRM/ Business Software with AiSensy.

Yes, you can access WhatsApp Business API on as many devices as you want using AiSensy. Unlike WhatsApp Business, WhatsApp Business API can be used on multiple devices. You can log in to AiSensy on the go using a Mobile device, PC & tabs.

While WhatsApp Business is tailored for small businesses & individual owners, WhatsApp API is built for medium to large businesses with large message volumes.  But, if you want to: Use WhatsApp on multiple devices,Send WhatsApp broadcasts to over 1,00,000 users in one go,Automate WhatsApp Chatbot,and Send clickable buttons with messages, Then choose WhatsApp Business API.

Yes, you can access WhatsApp Business API on as many devices as you want using AiSensy. Unlike WhatsApp Business, WhatsApp Business API can be used on multiple devices. You can log in to AiSensy on the go using a Mobile device, PC & tabs.

Yes, you can integrate WhatsApp Chatbots with a WhatsApp API-based platform like AiSensy. The process is really easy & you can do it yourself by reading the Chatbot Tutorial posted on our website. If not, you can ask their team to create it for you!

Now Before you leave

Here's a summary of all that you read in this blog:

  • WhatsApp Marketing is 5x more effective than emails & SMS with 98% message open rate & 45-60% click-through rates.

  • WhatsApp Business API is the best means to make the most out of WhatsApp Marketing for your Business. 

  • While WhatsApp Business App is suited for small businesses, WhatsApp API meets the needs of SMBs, Startups & Enterprises.

  • To get WhatsApp Business API, you need a Business Website & a Fresh Phone Number not registered on any WhatsApp Apps.

  • You can get access to the WhatsApp APIs via 2 means: WhatsApp Cloud API & WhatsApp Business API

  • WhatsApp Cloud API currently doesn't allow Indian Businesses to pay for Conversations. That's why it's recommended to get access to the APIs with a WhatsApp Business Partner like AiSensy. 

  • Whatsapp API allows you to Broadcast messages to Unlimited Users, automate notifications, integrate Chatbots, provide Live Chat on Multiple devices & much more. 

If you read till here, you’re obviously serious about using WhatsApp Business API to boost your business revenues.

WhatsApp Marketing with WhatsApp API has an amazing future! Businesses aiming to provide robust customer support & enable high-converting campaigns can use AiSensy to notch up their marketing & customer support game on WhatsApp

Read more