What is WhatsApp Cloud API: All You Need to Know (2023)?

Sourabh Upreti
Sourabh Upreti
June 9, 2023

Ever felt overwhelmed by the never-ending stream of customer queries flooding your business? Or frustrated by the lack of automation in handling them? 

Well, you're not alone!

Many businesses struggle with the same issues. 

One of the best ways to tackle these problems is to use a chatbot or an automation tool. While there are many such solutions available in the market today, WhatsApp Cloud API stands out as one of the most popular options, especially for Shopify store owners.

But what's the use of WhatsApp Cloud API? And why should you consider using it for your Shopify business?

In this blog post, we'll share everything you need to know about this powerful tool.

Let's dive in!

What is WhatsApp Cloud API?

WhatsApp Cloud API is a service that allows businesses and developers to integrate with the WhatsApp platform. You can build customized experiences and send and receive messages, notifications, and other content. 

Think of it as a bridge between WhatsApp and other services, making communicating and interacting with customers or users easier. The best part is that you can get direct approval for the WhatsApp Cloud API from Facebook, making the whole process quick and straightforward.

As a Shopify owner, you can use it to create chatbots, provide customer support, or even send out marketing campaigns directly through WhatsApp. It is super convenient since so many people use this app! Plus, it's designed to be secure and reliable, so you don't have to worry about privacy concerns.

Key Features of WhatsApp Cloud API

The WhatsApp Cloud API offers several key features that enhance business communication and engagement. Here are some of the notable ones:

1. Automated responses

With AI-powered chatbots, you can automate responses to common queries, like "Where's my order?" or "What's the meaning of life?". 

While your chatbot might not have existential answers, it can undoubtedly provide timely assistance to customers, giving your support team time to tackle more complex issues and ponder life's mysteries.

Moreover, with WhatsApp's Cloud API, you can personalize your chatbot by adding custom responses and keywords. 

This way, your customers can ask questions about specific products and services, which will help reduce the amount of time support agents spend on common queries and to handle customers like this: 

Won't your customers be delighted to receive answers to their questions within seconds?😉

2. Scheduling messages

One of the lesser-known but handy features of the WhatsApp Cloud API is the ability to schedule messages in advance. It's like having a time machine for your business communication, allowing you to send perfectly-timed messages without breaking a sweat or bending the space-time continuum.

With scheduled messages, you can ensure that essential notifications, reminders, and promotions reach your customers at the most opportune moments. 

No more worrying about forgetting to send a message or scrambling to type one out at the last minute – just set it and forget it!

Should we call this freedom?

For example, imagine running a flash sale starting at 6 PM sharp. You can schedule a message to your customers a few minutes before the sale begins, reminding them of the incredible deals awaiting them. This way, you can focus on managing the sale while your scheduled message works its magic, grabbing your customers' attention right on time.

3. Analytics and insights

How do you know whether your messages are getting opened or clicked? By opening every single message you sent and checking the blue tick?

That would be a nightmare. This is where analytics and insights are so critical.

The API provides access to invaluable data and metrics, allowing you to analyze user behavior, response rates, and message effectiveness. 

You can channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and deduce the best strategies for engaging with your customers.

4. Template messages

You can craft pre-approved message templates for common interactions like confirming a customer's order or reminding them of an upcoming appointment. 

It's like having a well-rehearsed script for your business communication, ensuring that you always sound professional and put-together, even when you're typing in your pajamas.

Even better, you can add CTA buttons to your messages that push them to take action with a click.

For example, you create a template message for order confirmations. Every time a customer places an order, they receive the same consistent and polished message, giving them confidence in your business. You can also add a CTA to cross-sell similar products to them.

5. End-to-end encryption

WhatsApp Cloud API uses the same end-to-end encryption as the regular WhatsApp app, ensuring that your customers' data is as secure as a secret diary with a tiny lock. Your customers can rest assured that their private information is protected.

6. Seamless integration

Easily integrate the WhatsApp Cloud API with your existing CRM, marketing, or customer support tools. It's like bringing home a new pet that gets along perfectly with your other fur babies, creating harmony in your communication ecosystem.

For example, you integrate the API with your CRM, allowing you to send personalized offers and promotions to your customers via WhatsApp based on their purchase history and preferences.

Benefits of WhatsApp Cloud API

With the WhatsApp Cloud API, you can get access to a variety of benefits. Here are some of the most important benefits of WhatsApp Cloud API:

1. Improved customer engagement

The API enables you to interact with your customers on a platform they already know and love. 

As the API allows you to add CTA buttons to every message, you can interact with your customers more personally. 

Your customers will feel more engaged with your brand, and you can drive greater sales by offering them relevant offers and promotions.

From the chatbot to the product recommendations, WhatsApp API has made it easy for you to build a personalized customer engagement strategy.

2. Save time and resources

With automated responses, template messages, and scheduled messages, you can streamline your communication processes and save valuable time. Your support team will thank you, and your bottom line will too!

Moreover, with the help of automation and auto campaigns, you can get more sales and conversions for your business. 

You can also save time by automating the tedious process of sending your customer follow-up messages, birthday wishes, or promotional messages.

3. Simplified approval process

Gone are the days of navigating a maze of approvals and paperwork. With direct approval from Facebook, integrating the WhatsApp Cloud API is streamlined and hassle-free.

4. Boost sales and conversions

Engaging with customers through personalized marketing campaigns and timely support will create a positive shopping experience, leading to increased sales and repeat business. 

Yes, literally more sales!

And the best thing is that you can upsell or cross-sell to your audience on autopilot mode. It all boils down to higher conversion rates and higher sales.

Steps to Get Access to WhatsApp Cloud API

Here’s the step-by-step process that you need to follow to get your WhatsApp Cloud API:

1. Have a Facebook Business account

If you don't have one yet, you'll need to create one. You can do this by going to the Facebook Business page and following their registration process. It's pretty straightforward, and you'll need to provide some basic information about your business.

2. Apply for WhatsApp Business API access

Once you've got your Facebook Business account set up, you'll need to apply for access to the WhatsApp Business API. This is done through the Facebook Business Manager. Keep in mind that WhatsApp requires you to have an active phone number for your business, and approval isn't instantaneous.

3. Set up the WhatsApp Business API client

After you've been approved for API access, you'll need to set up the API client. This can be done on your own servers or using a hosting service. You'll need to follow the instructions provided by WhatsApp for this step, which involves setting up a Docker container.

4. Link your phone number

Now, you'll have to link your business phone number with the API client. You'll be provided with a QR code to scan using the phone number you want to link with your business account.

5. Test Your API Setup

Once you've got everything linked up, you can test the API setup by sending a few messages. You can do this using the API's test functionality, which lets you send messages without affecting your actual customers.

6. Start using the API

Now that you've got everything set up, you're ready to start using the API! Remember, you'll need to follow WhatsApp's rules and guidelines when sending messages to ensure that you stay in compliance with their policies.

Simple Way to Get WhatsApp Cloud API Access

Here's a much more straightforward method to get access to the WhatsApp Cloud API, through a third-party service like BiteSpeed:

  1. Submit a request form: The first step in this process is to fill out a request form. This form will typically ask for some basic details about your business like its name, your contact information, and the phone number you'd like to use for WhatsApp.
  2. BiteSpeed applies on your behalf: Once you've filled out the form, BiteSpeed takes over the process for you. They will apply for access to the WhatsApp Cloud API on your behalf using the information you provided. This saves you from dealing with the application process yourself.
  3. Await approval: The next step is simply to wait. BiteSpeed will reach out to you once they hear back about the application.
  4. Get started: If your application is approved, BiteSpeed will help you get started with using the WhatsApp Cloud API. You'll be able to start connecting with your customers on WhatsApp right away!

This method with BiteSpeed is a great alternative if you'd rather not deal with the application process yourself. It's a lot simpler and less time-consuming. Enjoy your new connectivity with your customers!

How to Get WhatsApp Cloud API for FREE

While you can obtain the WhatsApp Cloud API for free, you'll still need a platform to utilize it for communicating with your users. Look no further, BiteSpeed has you covered.

As one of the few WhatsApp partners, BiteSpeed provides free WhatsApp Cloud API access.

With BiteSpeed, you can:

  • Send mass messages to unlimited users at once
  • Automate notifications for orders, deliveries, abandoned carts, and more through seamless integrations
  • Streamline customer support by deploying WhatsApp Chatbots
  • Offer multi-agent live chat support across multiple devices

Get started with BiteSpeed now and start benefiting from the power of WhatsApp Cloud API. We’ll show you how to create a business account and get started with BiteSpeed in no time.

What is WhatsApp Cloud API Pricing?

Understanding WhatsApp Cloud API pricing is crucial if you plan to use the WhatsApp Business API for your business. Let's explore the various aspects of WhatsApp Cloud API pricing in more detail.

1. Hosting types and BSP (Business Solution Provider) fees

A business solution provider (BSP) is a company that helps businesses like yours access and use the WhatsApp Business API. BSPs play a vital role in WhatsApp API pricing, offering different hosting types and charging fees accordingly.

WhatsApp Cloud API is hosted on Meta's cloud servers, resulting in lower costs for both BSPs and end users like you. When you obtain WhatsApp Cloud API access through WhatsApp BSPs or directly from Meta, you enjoy reduced server-related expenses compared to the on-premises API.

While BSP fees are generally lower with WhatsApp Cloud API, they can still vary depending on the provider. Therefore, it's a good idea to compare different BSPs to find the best fit for your business needs and budget.

2. WhatsApp conversation charges

The pricing for WhatsApp Cloud API includes conversation charges based on a 24-hour customer service window. Let's take a closer look at the two main categories:

  • User-initiated conversations (Service Conversations): You'll be charged when you reply to a user within the 24-hour customer service window. These charges depend on the user's country code and can vary from one region to another. Check the rates for the countries you'll be interacting with to get a clear understanding of the costs involved.

  • Business-initiated conversations: These conversations rely on pre-approved message templates and fall into three categories: marketing, utility, or authentication. Charges differ depending on the template category, and like service conversations, these rates also vary by the user's country code.

Check the price breakdown for different countries here.

3. Free conversations and incentives

WhatsApp Cloud API pricing offers some attractive free services and incentives for your business:

  • Each WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) receives 1,000 free conversations per month. If you have multiple numbers linked to your WABA account, 1,000 free conversations are shared between all your numbers.

  • There are no charges for conversations initiated via click-to-WhatsApp ads or Facebook Page call-to-action buttons. Additionally, you get a 72-hour customer service window for these interactions, during which all messages sent, including WhatsApp template messages, are free.

4. Messaging software costs

Beyond BSP fees and conversation charges, you need to integrate the WhatsApp API with messaging software to send and receive messages. The cost of this software varies depending on factors like features, the number of users, and the provider. Researching different messaging software options and choosing one that meets your business requirements and budget is essential.

5. Additional costs and considerations

When evaluating the total cost of using the WhatsApp Cloud API, it's essential to consider any additional expenses, such as:

  • Setup fees: Some BSPs may charge a one-time setup fee to help you get started with the WhatsApp Business API.
  • Per message markup: Some BSPs impose a markup on top of WhatsApp's conversation-based pricing, which can increase the overall cost.

With the Cloud API's reduced server-related expenses, you can expect a more affordable pricing structure compared to the on-premises API option. Make sure to assess all costs and options to make an informed decision for your business.

Difference Between WhatsApp Business Cloud API and the Original WhatsApp Business Account

You might wonder how the WhatsApp Business Cloud API differs from the original WhatsApp Business Account. While both allow you to send messages through WhatsApp, there are a few key differences:

The WhatsApp Business Cloud API is designed for medium-to-large businesses like yours that need to handle a high volume of messages and customer interactions. Integrating the API with your own systems, such as CRM or helpdesk tools, allows you to manage customer communication more efficiently.

The Cloud API is scalable, allowing you to handle many messages without any issues. Plus, it supports automation through chatbots and lets you send various types of messages, like notifications and promotional content, using pre-approved templates.

On the other hand, the original WhatsApp Business Account is more suitable for small businesses or individual entrepreneurs. It's a standalone app with basic business features, such as creating a business profile, quick replies, and message statistics.

It's a simple and easy way to get started with WhatsApp for business purposes without needing any advanced integrations or complex setups. However, managing a high volume of customer interactions might not be enough.

Here's a comparison table to help you decide which version is right for your business:

In a nutshell, the WhatsApp Business Cloud API is best for medium-to-large businesses that need advanced features and scalability, while the original WhatsApp Business Account is ideal for small businesses or individual entrepreneurs that require a simpler solution for managing their customer communications on WhatsApp.

Limitations of WhatsApp Cloud API

Though the WhatsApp Business Cloud API is an excellent tool for managing your customer conversations on WhatsApp, it does have some limitations. Some of the most common limitations to help you decide if this is the right solution for your business are:

1. Cost

The WhatsApp Business App is free, but the Cloud API does come with some costs. You'll need to consider things like BSP fees, conversation charges, and messaging software costs. That can be a bit tough on small businesses with tight budgets.

2. Integration complexity

To get the most out of the WhatsApp Cloud API, you'll have to integrate it with messaging software or build your custom solution. That can be a bit tricky if you don't have the technical expertise or resources.

3. Template restrictions

Here's the thing, when you send business-initiated conversations, you'll have to use pre-approved message templates. This can limit how creative or spontaneous you can be when chatting with customers. And getting new templates approved? That might take a while.

4. 24-hour customer service window

WhatsApp Cloud API has this 24-hour window for customer service, which means you're charged for user-initiated conversations only when you reply within this timeframe. This could make it hard to respond to all customer inquiries in time and potentially lead to missed opportunities.

5. Country-specific pricing

The conversation charges can vary depending on where your customers are based. If you're operating in multiple countries, this can make it a bit challenging to predict and manage costs.

6. Dependence on BSPs

You'll need to get WhatsApp Cloud API access through a WhatsApp BSP or directly from Meta, and the quality of service and support can vary. So, make sure you choose a reliable BSP like BiteSpeed for a smooth experience.

Wrapping Up

That's it, folks! WhatsApp Cloud API can be a game-changer for businesses looking to enhance their customer communication and support. However, weighing the costs, benefits, and limitations is essential to determine if it's the right fit for your business – just like choosing the perfect toppings for your pizza.

If you're looking for the best API solution, look no further than BiteSpeed. We will apply for the API on your behalf and take care of the green tick verification, ensuring your business has that added layer of credibility. 

With BiteSpeed, you can focus on what matters most – growing your business and engaging with your customers – while they handle all the technical aspects of the API.

Remember, it's not just about adopting the latest technology; it's about finding the tools to help you grow and thrive. Schedule a demo and see how efficiently you can drive conversion like a boss.

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