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WhatsApp launches Global API, paid tier for WhatsApp Business coming soon

WhatsApp launches Global API, paid tier for WhatsApp Business coming soon

WhatsApp’s Cloud API is now available to all businesses worldwide

(Photo: WhatsApp) (Photo: WhatsApp)

Continuing its foray into the business market, WhatsApp has launched the WhatsApp Cloud API and it is now available to all businesses worldwide. The WhatsApp Cloud API developer tool, which was being beta tested in November last year, is a cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business API which is hosted by Meta’s infrastructure. 

WhatsApp Business API was the platform’s first revenue-generating enterprise product.  

WhatsApp has been working on its Business API platform for a few years now “as one of the key ways the otherwise free messaging app would make money”. So, how does this work? Businesses pay WhatsApp on a “per-message basis, with rates that vary based on the region and number of messages sent”. 

According to reports, as of last year, thousands of businesses were working with the WhatsApp Business API, the non-cloud version, including companies like Vodafone, BMW, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, etc. This non-cloud version of WhatsApp Business API is free to use. 

However, with the cloud-based version, WhatsApp is aiming to attract smaller businesses and is reducing the integration time from weeks to minutes, as the company pointed out, adding that this too was free. 

Businesses signing up will be integrating the API with their back-end systems where WhatsApp is usually one part of their communication and messaging strategy. Businesses might also extend this to include SMS, other messaging apps, emails and more as a part of their bigger communication plans. 

Under normal circumstances, businesses would have been working with solutions providers like Zendeks or Twilio for these integrations. WhatsApp has also been working with similar providers during the cloud API beta tests like Zendesk (US), Take (Brazil), and MessageBird (EU). 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the WhatsApp Cloud API platform during the Conversations event and said that is was now publicly available. 

“The best business experiences meet people where they are. Already more than 1 billion users connect with a business account across our messaging services every week. They’re reaching out for help, to find products and services, and to buy anything from big-ticket items to everyday goods. And today, I am excited to announce that we’re opening WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with WhatsApp Cloud API,” Zuckerberg said at the event and added that he believes that the new API is going to help both big and small businesses to connect with more people.

According to Meta, WhatsApp Cloud API can also help partners “eliminate costly server expenses and help them provide customers with quick access to new features as they arrive”.

Additionally, some businesses are also expected to ignore the API entirely and use WhatsApp’s dedicated Business app instead. WhatsApp’s Business app has some features that are not available on the normal version, like automated quick replies, greetings, away messages, statistics and others.

Meta is also adding new features to WhatsApp Business that will be available for a fee, for example, the ability to manage chats across 10 devices, customisable click-to-chat links, etc. All of this will be a part of a Premium service that is going to come to WhatsApp Business soon and details regarding the date of rollout and pricing are going to be announced later.

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