WhatsApp Cloud API launched: Here's what you need to know

updated on 04 July 2022

Facebook has announced that it is opening WhatsApp to all businesses across the world. This simply means that WhatsApp will be open for businesses to build & customize their experiences with the WhatsApp Cloud API.  

Till now, businesses relied on BSPs (Business Service Providers) to get access to WhatsApp Business API.

But, from now, businesses can get instant approval for WhatsApp Cloud API accounts, directly from Facebook for Free.

If you're using WhatsApp Business API, you must have tons of questions in your mind.

Here's all that you need to know!

At a Glance


What is WhatsApp Cloud API?

Image Above: Mark Zuckerburg announcing WhatsApp Cloud API
Image Above: Mark Zuckerburg announcing WhatsApp Cloud API


WhatsApp Cloud API is the cloud version of WhatsApp Business API, which allows businesses & developers to build on top of WhatsApp to customize their experiences and respond to customers quickly & easily. This means WhatsApp is now open for all Businesses who wish to build it for their own use cases. 

Earlier, only WhatsApp Partners & Business Service Providers (BSPs) had access to build on top of WhatsApp using WhatsApp APIs. 

Businesses took help from official WhatsApp BSP (Business Service Providers) to get approved for the WhatsApp API as Facebook didn't provide direct access to WhatsApp API. 

Now, Facebook has removed this restriction by allowing businesses to create & get their WhatsApp Cloud API accounts approved directly from Facebook. 

P.s. - It's really easy to create a WhatsApp Cloud API account & you can do it in 10 minutes. (process explained later on)

  With WhatsApp Cloud APIs, any business can:

  • Easily access the service,
  • Build on top of WhatsApp and
  • Engage with customers seamlessly

In just a few minutes, this (WhatsApp Cloud API) will allow businesses & developers to build on top of WhatsApp to customize their experiences & respond to customers quickly & easily. The best business experiences meet people where they are and that's WhatsApp, so I'm excited to open this to businesses everywhere."

Mark Zuckerburg, Instagram

Difference between On-premise & WhatsApp Cloud API

The major differentiating factors between on-premise WhatsApp Business API & WhatsApp Cloud API are:

1. Quicker access -  In on-premise WhatsApp Business API, BSPs provide access to the Business API which might take some time (However, for AiSensy users, it takes just 10 minutes to get WhatsApp Business API). 

For WhatsApp Cloud API, Facebook provides direct access to the Cloud API in minutes. 

2. No hosting charges - In on-premise WhatsApp Business API, BSPs undertook hosting charges for WhatsApp Business API.

For WhatsApp Cloud API, Facebook will bear all charges for hosting & providing access. 

3. Direct approval from Facebook - You'll get direct approval for WhatsApp Cloud API from  Facebook.

For on-premise Business API, BSPs provide access by becoming the intermediaries. 

4. No maintenance & upgrade costs - Facebook will bear the maintenance costs for WhatsApp Cloud API while for on-premise WhatsApp Business API, BSPs had to roll out manual updates.

But, aside from the above factors, there's not much difference between WhatsApp Business API & WhatsApp Cloud API. 

Now, let's have a look at all features you get with WhatsApp Cloud API.


WhatsApp Cloud API Features

Just like on-premise WhatsApp Business API, you'd need a platform like AiSensy to use Cloud WhatsApp API. Let's look at how you can use WhatsApp Cloud API with AiSensy:

1. WhatsApp Bulk Broadcasting to thousands of users in one go

2. Integrate 2000+ CRMs, Ecommerce platforms to automate notifications for events like order/ shipping/ payment confirmations & more. 

3. Provide Live Human Chat Support on multiple devices. 

4. Send Text, Image, Audio & Video based template messages

5. Add lists, Quick Replies & CTA Buttons to messages

6. Get Free Green Tick Verification for your Business

We'll soon be rolling out the feature where you can connect your approved WhatsApp Cloud API account with AiSensy.

These were the features of WhatsApp Cloud API with a platform like AiSensy. There are multiple benefits of the WhatsApp Cloud API. Have a look!


Benefits of WhatsApp Cloud API

The WhatsApp Cloud API offers:

  1. Lightning Fast approval for WhatsApp Business API directly from Facebook (in minutes) - Facebook will now provide direct access to the Business API to all businesses across the globe. Businesses only need to contact BSPs (Business Service Providers) for a platform to use WhatsApp Business API. 

  2. You pay nothing - Facebook promises that businesses can get approved for WhatsApp Business API without paying anything.

    But, Facebook doesn't provide any platform to use the WhatsApp Business API. You can use official WhatsApp Business API based platform AiSensy, to broadcast campaigns and solve for customer support under one platform.

  3. Get New Updates instantly - Get all new updates added to WhatsApp Business API, as now you have direct access to WhatsApp Business APIs via Cloud APIs

How to get started with WhatsApp Cloud API?

Anyone can get started with WhatsApp Cloud API for Free! Even those who don't have an approved Facebook Business Manager Account. All you need is an active Facebook Account & WhatsApp Account. 

Here's the process to get started with WhatsApp Cloud API:

1. Click here to redirect to Facebook Developers Page and click "My Apps". 

2. Click 'Create App' & choose 'Business' under App type as shown in image below. 

Select App-7rsf3

3. Add your Display Name and Business Email ID. Business Account details are optional. If you have an approved Facebook Business Manager account, you can add it. Otherwise, leave it as it is and click 'Create App'. 

Fill App Information & Create App-cunrx

4. Integrate WhatsApp with Facebook Business Account

Now, scroll down till you find WhatsApp and click 'Set up' to link your WhatsApp Account with your Facebook Business Account. 

Link to WhatsApp App-aktd4

5.  Create Business Account

On the next screen, click 'Continue' to create your Business Account. 

Create a Business Account-t8zxa

6. Add upto 5 Recipients' phone number

You'll be given a temporary access token that will expire in 23 hours.

You'll also get a test phone number from which you can send messages to up to 5 contacts.

Add the recipient's number along with their country code.

Once you do that, follow the next step to send a test WhatsApp Broadcast via WhatsApp Cloud API. 

Copy token and add your number and recipients-r40mw

6. Create or send a sample WhatsApp Template message

On the next screen, you'll have the option to either send a pre-approved test template message or create a new WhatsApp Message Template. You can do both. 

Send a pre-approved message template easily by clicking, "Send Message". 

If you want to create & send a new message template, click the marked area as shown in the image below. 

Choose a message category & add template parameters like {{1}}, {{2}} if your message has variables like 'Name', 'Amount' etc. 

After you create the message, Facebook will approve/reject the message based on whether you followed WhatsApp Template Message guidelines or not. 

Send sample Broadcast-bsvq1

7. Test Message Received

Here's how the message appears on the recipient's WhatsApp. 

Message received (2)-3fbgl

WhatsApp Cloud API Pricing

There's a big myth muddying the internet that WhatsApp Cloud API is free. Well, only getting access to WhatsApp Cloud API is free. Aside from that, you still need to pay for conversations as well as a platform of your choosing like AiSensy to use WhatsApp Cloud API. 

You need to pay for:

1. User-Initiated Conversations -  Whenever a business replies to a user's message within the 24-hour session window, that message initiates a user-initiated conversation (UIC). Pricing for UIC is Rs 0.35/ conversation in India. Check out countrywise pricing of UIC & BIC here

2. Business-Initiated Conversations - When a business initiates the conversation (after the 24-hour session window or as the first message) with a Template message, it's considered a business-initiated conversation. Pricing for BIC is Rs 0.55/ conversation in India. 

Know more about WhatsApp conversation-based pricing


What effect will WhatsApp Cloud API have on Businesses already using WhatsApp Business API?

 If you already have an approved WhatsApp Business API Account, then WhatsApp Cloud API changes nothing for you! Yes, you can switch to WhatsApp Cloud API, but that won't mean much if you already have an existing WhatsApp Business API Account. 

WhatsApp Cloud API is a means to make the WhatsApp Business API more easily accessible to businesses across the globe.

If you're already using WhatsApp Business API with a platform like AiSensy, it changes nothing!

You still get all the features listed in WhatsApp Business API under one single platform i.e. AiSensy.


How will WhatsApp Cloud API help new people who want to apply?

Well, if you're new to WhatsApp Business API & are looking to get your account approved, there's good news.

You can get your account approved within minutes with WhatsApp Cloud API for Free!

Earlier, to apply for WhatsApp Business API, you needed an approved Facebook Business Manager Account. Well, now you can apply & get approval for the WhatsApp API without the FB Business Manager Account approval.

But, you'd have limited access to the WhatsApp API without Facebook Business Verification so we recommend that you get your Facebook Business Manager verified alongside.


Will I get WhatsApp Cloud API for Free?

You can get access to WhatsApp Cloud API directly from Facebook. While you can get the WhatsApp Cloud API for free, you'd still need a platform to use it for communicating with your users. Well, you can do that easily with AiSensy.

Few WhatsApp partners like AiSensy already provide Free WhatsApp Business API.

With AiSensy, you can:

  1. Broadcast to 1,00,000+ users in one go
  2. Automate notifications for order, delivery, abandoned carts & more through Integrations.
  3. Automate Customer support by installing WhatsApp Chatbots
  4. Provide multi-human live chat support on numerous devices.

Quick-fire these features right now! Sign up with AiSensy & get WhatsApp Business API for free.


Limitations of WhatsApp Cloud API

The major limitation is that Facebook doesn't provide a platform to use WhatsApp Cloud API. You'd need to connect your Cloud API account with a platform like AiSensy to utilize its potential to the fullest.

Facebook providing a platform for WhatsApp Cloud API is just a myth. Check out 7 more myths about WhatsApp Cloud. 

There's another Limitation - You can't use the same WhatsApp number for on-premise WhatsApp Business API & cloud WhatsApp API.

Though, you can transfer your phone number from on-premise WhatsApp Business API to WhatsApp Cloud API. 

You can either use a phone number with an on-premise WhatsApp API or with the Cloud WhatsApp API.

Get started with WhatsApp Business API for Free

Final Words

WhatsApp Cloud API is here to make the WhatsApp Business API much more accessible to businesses across the globe.

Mark Zuckerburg's vision is to bring business communication to a platform where the users are most active. The WhatsApp Cloud API is the first step in achieving this!

Much more to come in the upcoming days. Stay tuned.

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