WhatsApp Business API is a business version of WhatsApp. It allows businesses to customise their conversations with their users and build a better relationships with them.
Meta has now introduced the cloud version of WhatsApp Business API. Speaking at Meta's 'Conversations' event, Zuckerberg said "any business or developer can easily access our service, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and speed up their response time to customers by using our secure WhatsApp Cloud API hosted by Meta."
Read on to find out more about WhatsApp Business Cloud API and how it can benefit your business.
What Is WhatsApp Business Cloud API
First, let us understand what an API is. An API (Application Programming Interface) is not an app. It is an interface that allows two software to communicate with each other.
Consider this example:-
The remote to your TV is an API. It is an interface that takes your command and communicates it to the TV and the TV performs the action.
APIs are used by various websites all the time. Businesses use API when they want to integrate software into their online stores.
The on-premises version of WhatsApp Business API was aimed at medium to large business owners. It had a lot of benefits but it was too technical and didn’t have much to offer to the small business owners
This made Meta launch the cloud version of the API. According to Zuckerberg, they launched the cloud version of the API to expand the opportunities for all business owners, especially small business owners. The Cloud API is free to set up, comes with features such as payment through WhatsApp and supports up to 80 messages per second.
Benefits Of WhatsApp Business Cloud API
Some of the benefits of using the Cloud API are:-
- Fast Process Of Approval:- Unlike the WhatsApp Business API, approval through the Business Solution Providers is not required for the Cloud API. You will get direct access to the Cloud API without the long verification process.
- Quick Updates:- All the updates are provided by the Meta. Every new feature and security update will be available automatically on the Cloud API.
- Low Costs:- You can set up your Cloud API completely free. Meta will bear the hosting costs. You will only have to pay for the messages that you send and receive.
- Maintenance:- You don’t have to worry about maintenance. There is no need to do setup, maintenance, or scaling work. Meta will provide the hosting service and take care of the technical stuff.
- Messaging:- Businesses will be able to send and receive up to 80 messages per second through one business number and multiple consumer numbers. From July 2022, this number will increase and Businesses will be able to send and receive up to 250 messages per second through request.
Cons Of WhatsApp Business Cloud API
After looking at the merits, it is important to look at the cons of Cloud API as well. Some of these are:-
- User Change Notification:- Unlike with the on-premises API, the cloud version will not notify if the user has changed.
- Phone No. Support:- Only one phone number can be used for the On-Premises API and another for the Cloud API
How To Set Up WhatsApp Business Cloud API
With so many benefits, WhatsApp Business Cloud API is a great tool to decrease the communication gap with your customers. Let us look at the steps you have to take to set up the Cloud API:
Step 1: Register As A Facebook Developer
The first thing you have to do to set up your WhatsApp Business Cloud API is to register your account as a Facebook developer and verify it. To start the registration process, log in to your Facebook account and go to developers.facebook.com and click on “Get Started”.
Now agree with Facebook’s terms and policies by clicking on “Next”, verify your account by providing your number and email address, select your option and Voila! You have registered your account as a Facebook developer. Now you can use the App Dashboard to create your first app.
Step 2: Select An App Type
Now, you must select an app type carefully because you won’t be able to change it once the app has been created. Since you are setting up a business account, select the “business” option.
Step 3: Provide Your Basic Information
Now you must provide some basic information about your business such as the name of your app and an email address. If you have a Facebook Business Manager account, you can add it and then click on “Create App”. You don’t have to worry if you don’t have the Facebook Business Manager account as it is not required with the Cloud API. You can simply select “No Business Manager account selected” and click on “Create App.”
Step 4: Set up WhatsApp from the Dashboard
You have now successfully created your app which will be loaded in the App Dashboard. From there, go to the Whatsapp section and click on “Set up”.
Step 5: Accept The Terms And Conditions
The final step to set up your cloud API is to accept all the terms and conditions. To do so, click on the “Continue” option.
Step 6: Verify Your App Using A Test Message
Now you can test if you have done everything correctly. To do so, you can send a message on at most 5 numbers of your choice. You will be assigned a test number that you can use to send the text message.
Step 7: Enter The Verification Code
To finish the verification process, enter the verification code you have received from Facebook Business on your registered WhatsApp.
Step 8: Send A Test Message Over WhatsApp Cloud API
Now you can test if you have successfully integrated the customer number. To send the test message, you can either copy the command given by Facebook and paste it into the Terminal and press “Enter”. Or you can click your message template and send it to your number.
Should You Use Cloud API For Your Business?
Now that you know all the pros and cons of API, the most important question is whether you should use Cloud API for your business or not. Below we have a few reasons as to why and how the Cloud API can benefit your business.
- WhatsApp is one of the most commonly used messaging apps today. Over [2 billion people](https://www.statista.com/topics/2018/whatsapp/#:~:text=WhatsApp is a cross-platform,at 988 million global users.) are active on it every month. This is a great opportunity to reach out to such a huge crowd and expand your business.
- Interacting on WhatsApp with your customers will help you build a deep connection with your customers. About 68% of WhatsApp users agree that WhatsApp is the easiest method of connecting with a business.
- You can use WhatsApp to get real-time feedback for your products and services. Quick feedback will help you make improvements to your product and let customers feel important.
- If security is your concern, then rest assured because WhatsApp allows for secure connections. WhatsApp lets conversations are end-to-end encrypted which doesn’t let even WhatsApp read or decrypt the conversation.
- You can create a template and send promotional messages to over 1,00,000 users. Promotional messages such as holiday offer on Diwali will help you increase your sales by a huge margin.