WhatsApp Business API - Everything You Need To Know
WhatsApp the uncontested leader of the messaging app category. With over 1.5 billion people using WhatsApp messaging app every day in 180 countries, it is a smart business decision to leverage the app for customer engagement. You have to be where your customers are.
But even if you have in your plans to use WhatsApp to help in customer engagement but still not able to proceed as you are still confused about how to advance or have other questions in mind regarding WhatsApp Business API. This blog is the right place to start!
What is WhatsApp Business API?
In August 2018, Facebook launched WhatsApp Business API for medium and large enterprises. Why did Facebook decide to launch WhatsApp for Business? Because around 2017-18 All around Africa, Latin America & South East Asia, small businesses started skipping email altogether and instead started using their personal WhatsApp accounts as their primary method of communicating with customers. These businesses aren't WhatsApp-first, they're WhatsApp-only.
WhatsApp Business gives businesses the opportunity to interact with their customers in a private, secure environment, allowing businesses to interact with their customers in a more informal and friendlier way. WhatsApp Business API is an application program interface. Being an API, there is no front end interface provided and no app. The idea is businesses take the WhatsApp API endpoint and integrate it into their business software and be able to interact with their customers seamlessly.
The main 3 use cases for WhatsApp Business API is:
To be able to respond to customers within 24 hours
To create a business branded presence on WhatsApp
Create a Chatbot for sending out automated notifications/FAQs
Getting Started with WhatsApp Business API
Let us start by defining a few WhatsApp jargon like WhatsApp Business App, WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp API Provider, etc..
WhatsApp Business App:
WhatsApp Business is a free download application designed for small business owners. You can create a catalog to showcase products and services and connect easily with your customers with automation, sorting, and instant-messaging tools.
WhatsApp Business API
If the number of chats is getting overwhelming, it is time for a paid service- WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp Business API will help small and medium-sized businesses communicate with customers around the world so that they can connect with WhatsApp in a simple, secure, and reliable way. To get WhatsApp Business API, you can contact any of the WhatsApp Business API providers like Yellow Messenger. Yellow Messenger is also a WhatsApp partner.
WhatsApp API Provider
To help you achieve your business aims, there are many official WhatsApp business API providers, who will help you out with API as well as the verification process. It takes 3-4 weeks for verification and an active WhatsApp Business API. Yellow Messenger is the official WhatsApp Business API provider as well as WhatsApp partner.
WhatsApp Business API Key
To establish your business presence on the WhatsApp environment, you need an API key. Integration of the WhatsApp API in website or software helps you to get almost unlimited access to customer care or other messaging services.
WhatsApp Business API Profile
The WhatsApp Business profile allows businesses to establish a presence on WhatsApp using WhatsApp Business API. Unlike other messaging apps, the profile will not be searchable in WhatsApp itself so it is up to the business to promote their presence. The WhatsApp Business profile includes a cover photo, description, address, email, website, and business hours for your WhatsApp Business account.
Official WhatsApp business account
These accounts appear with a WhatsApp verified green tick next to their name. A business account on WhatsApp can either be listed as an "Official business account" or a regular "Business account". A business can't request or pay to turn a "Business account" into an "Official business account".
As of now, only certain business accounts are listed as "Official business accounts". Listing a business as an "Official business account" is based on a variety of factors, such as whether the brand is notable or not. There is no official process for this process, but if you want to get it done, you can contact your WhatsApp Partner to help get you started.
Contact Opt-In & Verification
Before you start sending messages on WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp needs users to give active consent. Enterprise can take user opt-in on their website during account creation for their customers, or paper form, or SMS or on Phone Calls (IVR, etc). Once a customer opts-in, you can import them to a CRM. WhatsApp Business API has a function that allows you to verify that the customer's phone number is a valid WhatsApp account before you send a message.
Sending a message to your WhatsApp contact requires an approved messaging template. WhatsApp charges per template message, with prices varying depending on the region you send these messages from and to. So what is a WhatsApp template message exactly? Template messages are strings of text, with placeholders, pre-approved by WhatsApp. Pre-approval ensures that sales-related or bulk marketing messages cannot be sent easily after 24 hours. WhatsApp Business API has 15 messages per second template messaging rate limit as an additional safeguard from sending out promotional content, so don’t think for a second that you can get away with sending promotional content on WhatsApp Business.
Applying for a WhatsApp Business API Account
To apply for a WhatsApp Business API account you need a WhatsApp Business Account, verified by WhatsApp. Let me tell you how you can apply for WhatsApp Business account and get verified from WhatsApp:
WhatsApp Business Account
A WhatsApp business account in WhatsApp Manager lets your business use the WhatsApp Business API to communicate directly with your customers. Your customers can use a WhatsApp thread to make purchases, ask about orders, or find information.
For getting the Business API, can be broken down into 3 steps:
Choose a WhatsApp Partner
Give Company Information
Activate your number
Getting the WhatsApp app is easy but the verification process might be confusing for some of us, let me break down the steps for you. The first 3 steps are for creating an account:
Sign up for Facebook Business Manager by logging into Facebook Business Manager and clicking on Business Settings
Opt for WhatsApp account in the Accounts section.
Fill in your details like Name, Time Zone, Currency you deal in, payment method, P.O number, Website URL, Industry, Use case, Operating region, Country of company headquarters, Facebook Business Manager ID, the number for verification.
Confirm your business details
You will be presented with a verification code on your business number
Enter the verification code and voila you are done
You will need to verify your legal business name by providing certain documents.
Documents accepted for WhatsApp Business Account
Business license and permits from local authorities, state or central government or federal government.
Certificate of formation or incorporation
Business Tax or VAT registration certificate
EIN confirmation letter from the IRS (US Only)
Official tax notices from the IRS (US Only)
Business Bank Account Statements
Business credit report from one of the reporting agencies
Documents not acceptable for WhatsApp Business Account
Utility bill, like phone or electricity bill (not acceptable for the legal name; acceptable for address or phone number)
Self-filled applications for the company
Tax Returns filed by you or your company
Personal bank statements
Other documents like company flyers, letterheads, etc.
Business Address and Phone Number Verification for WhatsApp Business Account
Documents Accepted for Business Address and Phone Verification
Utility Bill like phone or electricity bill
Business licenses and permits from any level of government
Certificate of business formation or incorporation
Business tax or VAT registration certification
EIN confirmation letter from IRS (US Only)
Federal tax returns to the IRS by the company (US Only)
Business Bank Account Statements
Business credit report from one of the credit reporting agencies
Documents not acceptable for Business Address and phone verification
Self-filled application for the company
Other documents like company flyers, letterheads, etc.
Activating Phone Number for WhatsApp Business Account
Once your documents are approved, it is time to add a phone number for your account. Choose the number you want carefully as you won't be able to change it later. For existing numbers, your WhatsApp Partner may be able to port the number for you. For new numbers, some WhatsApp Partners like Yellow Messenger will be able to sell you a number.
As Yellow Messenger is an authorized partner for WhatsApp Business accounts, Schedule demo with WhatsApp automation experts to get started with WhatsApp.