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A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding WhatsApp Business API

Are you looking to build on your communication and stay connected with all your clients? 

The ultimate goal of WhatsApp Business APIs is to simplify communication between business and their large clientele. Invest in an omnichannel that allows customers to connect with your business as smoothly as they would with family. As of January 2023, WhatsApp’s reach and usage rank first among global messaging apps.   

Since APIs allow chat integration with third-party apps, you can provide a better customer experience. You can include shopping features and shipping notifications, send alerts and reminders and collect customer feedback with the mighty API dashboard. 

In this blog, we cover the following topics in detail to help your business thrive:

What Is WhatsApp Business API? 

Once you launch a WhatsApp Business Account for your company, WhatsApp Business API allows you to communicate with your customers using the platform. 

But what is the API all about?

The WhatsApp Business API offers advanced messaging features such as automation with message templates, chatbots, and multimedia messages. 

Such a platform allows medium- and large-scale companies to communicate efficiently. The API requires approval and partnership with a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider to ensure compliance.

Difference between WhatsApp Business App & WhatsApp API 

The WhatsApp business app is a standalone application that small business owners can download for free. This app is for business owners who can manage a second WhatsApp from a personal cell phone for one-on-one communication with customers. 

With the app, you can create a business profile with a business description, website link, and contact details. Use features like text, voice, and multimedia messaging. The app also provides simple metrics to track message performance and customer engagement.

On the contrary, large businesses can sign up for WhatsApp API to cater to a vast audience with advanced messaging options. With WhatsApp API, businesses can automate messages and acquire a verified tick. Companies must consult WhatsApp Business Provider Solutions to get started with WhatsApp Business API. 

Learn More : Best Whatsapp Business API Providers

Getting Started with WhatsApp Business API

Requirements for using the API

  • The first step to gaining access to WhatsApp Business API is applying for approval with a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP). You must fill out an application with relevant information about your business and the purpose of the API. 
  • Wait for approval from WhatsApp after reviewing the eligibility of your business. Therefore, partnering with a BSP helps you access the API and ensures adherence to WhatsApp’s policies and guidelines.
  • Obtain an eligible phone number not for personal use to link it with your API account. Setting up a WhatsApp Business account

Setting up a WhatsApp Business account

WhatsApp logo and business icons representing the process of setting up a WhatsApp Business account.

After partnering with WhatsApp Business API, you receive a base64-encoded certification upon approval.  The next step is the verification of phone numbers, business information, and ownership with WhatsApp. This is crucial to ensure the business is legitimate and authorized to use the API. 

Create a business profile with a description and logo of the business. This profile is visible to customers and helps identify your business on WhatsApp to maintain customer trust.

Businesses have to extend the opt-in feature to customers consenting to receive messages via a sign-up form or a message prompt. Opt-in ensures that customers receive messages they are interested in and reduces the likelihood of spam or unwanted messages.

Create message templates for customers in accordance with WhatsApp’s Business Guidelines. Set up the API’s technical aspects, including integrating with existing messaging platforms or CRM. 

How to access the API

Once you have successfully signed up for a WhatsApp Business API account, you have two options for accessing the API. 

 showing the process of accessing the API of Facebook Business Manager

The first option is setting up a Facebook Business Manager account via Meta to use and manage WhatsApp API. Use the Facebook Business Manager to link your account to a registered phone number for WhatsApp Business. Create a customized Business Profile for your WhatsApp account for customers to identify your business on WhatsApp. In short, this is a self-service option.

The second option is signing up for a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, which is intermediate. The business partner will complete the onboarding and registration for your company and simplify the coding required to operate the API dashboard. 

Features of WhatsApp Business API

Messaging options available

Besides the usual text-based messaging, which can be one-way or two-way, WhatsApp API offers businesses an interactive communication option.

  • List messages are sent to summarize information to your customers. 
  • Reply buttons can allow your customers to choose from a set of pre-defined options, such as:

Please select an option:

  1. Account Information
  2. Technical Support
  3. Billing Inquiry
  • Single-product and multi-product messages brief customers regarding new product launches or reply to product inquiries. This is one example:

Product Name: Wavetec Solutions

 Description: The ultimate digital solution for businesses

Price: $5

Image: <insert image URL>”

Message templates and how to use them

When a customer sends a message, a business can respond with any message within 24 hours. However, a business can only use pre-approved messaging templates when initiating conversations. 

With WhatsApp API, your business can send automated appointment reminders to customers and order confirmation messages, including items ordered, the total price, and the estimated delivery time through WhatsApp API. It is helpful in sending messages for payment reminders, alerts, outstanding balances, and shipping notifications.

The message template is coded to use variables, such as {{1}}, which are placeholders to replace with specific business details. This can be the customer’s name, contact information, and business name. Other specific information, such as customer name, quantity, price, and delivery date, can also be added.

A few examples of message templates that you can use are listed below: 

“Hello, [Patient Name]. 

This is a reminder for your upcoming appointment with [Doctor Name] at [Clinic Name] on [Date] at [Time]. Please arrive 10 minutes before your appointment time. If you have any questions, please call us at [Clinic Phone Number]. Thank you.”

“{1} – Thank you for your order!

{2} – Order details:

{3} – Item: {item_name}

{4} – Quantity: {quantity}

{5} – Price: {price}

{6} – Total: {total}

{7} – Your order will be delivered on {{delivery_date}}. We will send you a tracking number once the item is shipped.

{8}- If you have any questions or concerns, please reply to this message or contact us at {contact_number}.

Thank you for choosing us.”

Broadcast lists and their benefits

Unlike WhatsApp Business, where you can broadcast messages to customers with your number saved, WhatsApp API Broadcasting is a powerful tool for reaching out to unlimited users with personalized and targeted advertisements. Instead of sending individual customer messages, contact your users with promotional offers and new products or services.

Businesses use broadcast lists to invite customers to product launches, store openings, or sales events. For example, a makeup brand can send a message to its broadcast list inviting customers to a sale event. It is a great tool for businesses to use broadcast lists to request customer feedback about their products or services, ensuring customer engagement and loyalty. 

Automating messaging with chatbots

A WhatsApp chatbot is an AI-powered software designed to simulate the experience of having a conversation with a human. The chatbot works by dividing messages into user-initiated and business-initiated conversations. 

Chatbots are used specifically to provide customer service and support to resolve product inconsistencies or answer service inquiries. This tool is useful for sending non-promotional alerts to customers, like appointment reminders, scheduling WhatsApp appointments, or sending order updates. 

Integration with other business tools

One of the greatest benefits of using WhatsApp API is the ability to use it with other tools. We break down the three most integration tools that might benefit your business. Here’s how you can offer a complete experience to your customer:  

How to integrate the API with CRM systems

A Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) allows businesses to integrate WhatsApp, social media, and emails for omnichannel marketing, including WhatsApp marketing. To integrate WhatsApp Business API with your CRM system, you must first choose a CRM system that suits your business needs. The available CRM systems include Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, and others.

Integrate CRM and API using platforms like Zapier, API endpoints, or third-party connectors.

To proceed, you need API credentials, including the account SID, authentication token, and phone number. This allows you to configure the integration by following the instructions provided by your CRM system. The integration method requires setting up triggers, actions, or workflows that automate system data transfer. 

Test the integration to ensure customer data is transferred seamlessly between WhatsApp Business API and your CRM system. Regularly monitor the integration to troubleshoot any issues that may arise and ensure the integration is functioning properly.

Payment gateway integration

When a customer inquires about products and services, ensure that you translate the conversation into sale numbers. Provide your customers with complete WhatsApp service and integrate a payment system with the WhatsApp Business API. 

The WhatsApp Business API provider’s tools and resources can enable you to connect your payment system to the WhatsApp Business API and enable users to make payments through WhatsApp. Next, you need to design a payment flow that defines the steps and parties involved in the payment process. This includes initiating the payment, confirming the payment details, and completing the payment.

The payment gateway’s APIs and software development kits (SDKs) integrate the payment gateway with the WhatsApp Business API, where customers can enjoy a hassle-free purchase. Gateways allow customers to use credit or debit cards and generate invoices that are immediately sent to the customers. 

Using third-party tools to enhance the API’s functionality

WhatsApp API can be built into a powerful platform with third-party applications that enhance performance. Some of the most comprehensive tasks that third-party integration tools can carry out are group management, data publishing and subscribing, and user and identity management. You can introduce complicated tools to customers, such as gaming platforms, and collect data to perform real-time analytics.

What is WhatsApp Business API Pricing

WhatsApp Business API Platforms are charged per conversation, which includes all messages delivered in a 24-hour session. The conversation rates are variable, depending on the country of the user’s phone number, country calling code, and area code.

WhatsApp charges (for Conversations)

The payment of the conversation is based on the conversation being user-dependent or business-initiated. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

The first 1,000 conversations each month are free. These conversations can be either user or business-initiated. The quota of free messages is refreshed monthly, based on the timezone associated with the WhatsApp Business Account. 

As per the new policy that allows the introduction of WhatsApp ads, your customers can message your business using the CTA button on click to WhatsApp ads or Facebook Business Page. The conversations are then free for 24 to 72 hours. During this period, sending any message, free-form, or template for business-initiated conversations has no charge.

WhatsApp Business Partner charges

If you have chosen a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, the charges vary according to your chosen hosting method. This means that charges for WhatsApp On-premise API vs. WhatsApp Cloud API vary vastly.

BSPs offering WhatsApp Cloud API have minimal charges. Clients are only required to pay for WhatsApp Conversations. Costs for hosting and setting up WhatsApp API are waived by Meta for BSP servers. 

BSPs following WhatsApp On-premise API are relatively more expensive than Cloud API services as customers have to pay for hosting and API setup. In addition to the WhatsApp conversations, BSPs charge customers a markup on the conversation price.  

Use Case Scenarios of WhatsApp Business API

Puma uses Wavetec’s WhatsApp Queueing software

The Puma store in Egypt acquired a Wavetec Queue Management System to reduce waiting times and improve customer experience. This streamlined customer flow as they received a ticket and waited for a turn according to the estimated wait times provided via WhatsApp. Puma was able to improve staff productivity with this system that analyzed real-time analytics. 

Retail store LINK acquired Wavetec’s Whatsapp Queuing

Link Sportswear, the leading sportswear company, has implemented an innovative system to manage customer queues and reduce perceived wait times. The system includes a combination of WhatsApp Queuing, a digital signage system, a virtual queuing system, and a virtual queuing system allowing customers to join the queue remotely via QR codes through WhatsApp. Customers could move freely and receive updates on their queue status, reducing perceived wait times.

Reach unlimited users with broadcast promotional messages

Send mass promotional messages to unlimited users to increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience.

Automate notifications through integrations

Reduce manual workload and minimize chances of error by integrating third-party flows in the API dashboard.  

Provide live chat support on multiple devices

Live chat support can be offered to customers on multiple devices, allowing them to communicate with businesses through WhatsApp.

Integrate a WhatsApp chatbot for automated support and sales

A chatbot improves sales and customer service experience by providing solutions 24/7. 

Send messages with clickable buttons to boost conversions

Add clickable CTAs that prompt customers to act and increase website traffic. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Use Whatsapp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business API is created for medium and large industries looking to increase their operations on a larger scale. Businesses must apply for eligibility with WhatsApp and wait for approval to use the  API dashboard. 

Can Any Business Use the Whatsapp Business API, or Are There Eligibility Requirements?

As per the WhatsApp commerce policy, businesses can only use the WhatsApp Business API if they fulfill specific requirements. These include having an active and exclusive phone number, a Facebook Business Manager account, and a Whatsapp Business Provider partnership. 

What Are Broadcast Lists, and How Can They Benefit My Business?

Broadcast lists allow businesses to send the same message to multiple recipients simultaneously without creating a group chat. Since there is no restriction of 256 participants, mass marketing is easy. Customers receive messages as individual messages and can reply to you at their convenience. 

Do I Need to Follow Any Guidelines or Policies When Using the Whatsapp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business Policy requires businesses to keep the information updated, respect customers’ privacy prior to messaging, and ensure that they do not misrepresent the business community. Ensure you obtain opt-in permission to send future messages to customers. 

What Types of Message Formats Are Supported by the Whatsapp Business API?

Whatsapp Business API allows multiple content formats to be communicated. These include simple texts, images, videos, files and documents, audio messages, list messages, and locations. Exclusive features include interactive messages such as CTA buttons, quick replies, and quick replies. Send product catalogs and stickers to keep your customers engaged. 

What Should I Do if I Encounter Errors or Issues When Using the API?

Identify internal errors and use appropriate status codes to respond. A few examples are 400 Bad Request – client sent an invalid request, or 401 Unauthorized  – client failed to authenticate with the server. 


Are you ready to revolutionize your communication with WhatsApp Business API?

Use WhatsApp Business API to communicate freely with customers, automate workflows, and increase your staff’s efficiency with chatbots. You can improve business operations, add to the customer experience, increase engagement, and drive growth in their industry.

What are you waiting for?

Let’s get started with WhatsApp today!


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