Have you been considering using WhatsApp API for your company but are unsure of what it is or how it operates? This comprehensive tutorial to WhatsApp Business API provides all the information you need. We'll go over what WhatsApp API is, as well as the recommended practices for setting up a WhatsApp API account, managing contacts, and sending messages via WhatsApp API.
The Fundamentals of WhatsApp API
For medium-sized to large businesses who want to use WhatsApp with numerous users, there is a WhatsApp API. Compared to WhatsApp Business App, it is more difficult. For instance, the WhatsApp API has to be incorporated into a commercial program because it lacks an app or front-end interface.
WhatsApp Cloud API, which can be purchased directly from Meta, and WhatsApp On-premises API, also known as WhatsApp Business API or WhatsApp API, which can be purchased through third-party services known as Business Solution Providers, are the two API choices that businesses can use.
Providers of business solutions using WhatsApp for Business
Businesses must submit an application through Business Solution Providers to gain access to the WhatsApp Business API (BSPs). Depending on your BSP, your experience with the WhatsApp API may be very different. There are two categories of WhatsApp BSPs: SMS providers and others, to make things simpler.
SMS service providers like Twilio and Vonage connect WhatsApp API with their own proprietary API. WhatsApp for Business API. Business Solution Providers. As a result, adding or updating any new WhatsApp features requires extra time and effort from their end.
BSPs that do not identify themselves as SMS providers probably employ proxy APIs that resemble WhatsApp's technical setup. As a result, they may quickly and easily enable new WhatsApp Business API capabilities.
Let's now examine the various setups for hosting a WhatsApp API account.
Options for Hosting the WhatsApp API
The BSP's own servers were the only place where the WhatsApp API could previously be hosted. Businesses will be able to utilize the WhatsApp Cloud API starting in May 2022 and host their APIs directly through Meta.
Methods for hosting the WhatsApp for Business API
Businesses who use Cloud API will have access to the newest features and API changes. On the other hand, users of On-Premises APIs won't be able to utilize new WhatsApp API features until their BSPs manually update the API software.
While Meta advises companies to purchase the WhatsApp API directly from them, some companies would rather work with a BSP for services like WhatsApp API setup assistance, green tick applications, individualized support for problems involving the WhatsApp API, and more.
Let's now examine the cost of the WhatsApp Business API.
Pricing for WhatsApp API
In summary, in order to obtain a WhatsApp Business API account, you must register with a BSP. BSPs act as the intermediaries, paying WhatsApp to connect to their API so they may offer the service to customers. Businesses are charged for these fees by BSPs, who may mark them up to increase their profits.
Pricing for WhatsApp API
The notification-based pricing model charges businesses on a per-message basis, according to many BSPs. However, WhatsApp will convert to a conversation-based pricing model, where businesses are paid per conversation, effective February 1, 2022. Now examine each element that makes up a WhatsApp API account more closely.
Components of WhatsApp Business API
The WhatsApp Business Profile and phone number are just two of the components of the WhatsApp API that are described in this section.
Business Profile on WhatsApp for Business
More details about your company are available to customers with a WhatsApp API Business Profile. By upgrading their website, address, email, cover photo, and description, businesses can maximize their business profiles.
WhatsApp API Business Profile
The WhatsApp API Business profile won't be searchable within the app, unlike other messaging services. Let's talk about the operation of a WhatsApp API phone number in the next part.
WhatsApp Business API: Mobile Number
You must link a phone number to your WhatsApp API account.
You can either purchase a new phone number or port an existing one, depending on your BSP. Keep in mind that the phone number associated with the WhatsApp API must be capable of receiving calls or SMS.
We advise using a phone number that isn't already associated with another App account.
It is possible to migrate a phone number from the App to the API, however doing so is not advised because you risk losing the account information connected to the phone number.
API WhatsApp: Phone Number
A WABA, which is controlled by Facebook Business Manager, houses a phone number. You can manage additional Facebook assets in Facebook Business Manager. Depending on the phone number tier, each Facebook Business Manager can have up to 20 WABA numbers.
Messaging and Phone Number Tiers Limits
Your WhatsApp API account's messaging cap, or the maximum number of Contacts you can message, is based on the phone number tier. A WABA has five layers that a phone number can access, including:
- Unreliable Trial Tier: Have up to two numbers and send messages to 50 different Contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.
- Tier 1: In a rolling 24-hour period, send messages to 1,000 different contacts and have up to 20 numbers.
- Tier 2: Communicate with 10K distinct Contacts over the course of a 24-hour period.
- Tier 3: Send messages to 100K different contacts in a rolling 24-hour period as part
- Tier 4: In a rolling 24-hour period, send messages to an infinite number of different Contacts.
The communications restrictions only apply to business-initiated messages known as Message Templates, which we shall go into more detail about later. Businesses that register their phone numbers will either start at the Unverified Trial Tier or Tier 1 depending on the BSP.
Phone Number Tiers and Messaging Limits for WhatsApp
You must authenticate your Facebook Business Account in order to go from the Unverified Trial Tier to the following tier. Businesses in Tiers 1, 2, and 3 will be moved up to the next tier when they hit their current tier's messaging cap.
Meta will alter the way messaging limits are automatically increased or decreased as of September 2022. Initially affecting companies in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, the rules will eventually apply to all companies.
How to increase the WhatsApp message limit for phone numbers starting in September 2022 using the API
Before, companies had to send twice as much as allowed by their message tier in a week in order to advance to the next tier. From September on, they merely have to send half of their messaging tier's allotment in seven days to move up to the next tier.
Additionally, companies that have a strong quality rating and a non-Flagged status will automatically upgrade to the next tier after 24 hours after hitting the messaging limit.
Phone number quality rating using WhatsApp API
Customer satisfaction with the conversation quality of your business is indicated by the phone number quality rating and status. These important insights are available in the Facebook Business Manager.
Several variables combine to form the quality rating. Customers' blocks, the frequency of outgoing messages like notifications or promotional messages, and reaction time are all included in this. There are three levels of quality:
- High (green)
- Medium (yellow)
- Low (red)
Phone number quality rating using WhatsApp API
Sending only top-notch messages that are pertinent to your Contacts can help you maintain a high quality rating and prevent having your phone number blacklisted. Your phone number's quality rating will drop from High to Medium or Low if it is blocked.
Your phone number's status may change if the quality rating changes. There are a total of five statuses:
- Pending: Before the Commerce Policy review is finished, the situation
- Offline: When companies fail the Commerce policy check or discontinue using the WhatsApp API,
- The following status occurs: The initial condition
- Flagged: When the quality rating reaches Low. In 7 days, if it becomes Medium or High, the status will change back to Connected. If it doesn't, WhatsApp will change your status back to Connected while limiting the number of messages you can send.
- Restricted: This is the status when companies have used up all of their communications allotment and have a low quality rating.
WhatsApp API statuses for phone numbers
You can sign up to be notified when your phone number's status changes from Connected to Flagged and vice versa, as well as when the message tier for your number is increased or decreased.
Let's find out how to obtain a WhatsApp API account now that you are familiar with the various WhatsApp API components.
How to Create a WhatsApp API Account
You can sign up for a WhatsApp Business API account using either the AhaChat SignUp or the Classic Sign Up approach.
Making a WhatsApp API Account
A time-consuming Facebook Business verification process is a part of the Classic Signup process. On the other hand, AhaChat SignUp enables you to create a WhatsApp API account in less than ten minutes without requiring Facebook Business authentication, providing you immediate access to begin testing WhatsApp API.
Businesses have the option to validate their WhatsApp API account in addition to their Facebook Business Account. Keep in mind that even if your account is not confirmed, all WhatsApp Business API capabilities are accessible and ready for usage.
A WhatsApp API Account's Verification
A verified WhatsApp API account gives your company more legitimacy and makes it easier for customers to recognize you thanks to the profile's prominent business name. Using your chosen BSPs or directly through Facebook Business Manager, you can seek WhatsApp API verification.
Verification of a WhatsApp API Account
You must meet WhatsApp's standards in order to get your API account validated. Included in this are adhering to WhatsApp's Commerce & Business Policies and operating a reputable company. Typically, WhatsApp will only verify recognizable companies like Nike and Coca-Cola.
Once you have your WhatsApp API account, you may send and receive messages by integrating it with a WhatsApp CRM like AhaChat.com. Continue reading to discover how to send a message using WhatsApp API.
Messaging using the WhatsApp Business API
Session Messages and Message Templates are the two message kinds that are supported by the WhatsApp API, and we'll go through them both in this section.
Types of messages that the WhatsApp API can send
WhatsApp Business API: Messaging in Sessions
Businesses using the WhatsApp API are not permitted to send messages whenever they wish. WhatsApp applies a messaging restriction known as Session Messaging in order to stop spam and make sure companies AhaChat to incoming messages swiftly.
API Session Messaging for WhatsApp
You have a 24-hour window in which to AhaChat to contacts' messages when using Session Messaging. You are not able to send Session Messages after the 24-hour period has passed. Before sending a Session Message, as long as it complies with WhatsApp Business Policy and WhatsApp Commerce Policy, there is no need for any prior clearance.
Let's discuss the many kinds of Interactive Session Messages now that you are familiar with how Session Messaging functions.
Session Messaging with WhatsApp API: Messages for Interactive Sessions
You can send Interactive Session Messages with WhatsApp API in addition to the standard text Session Messages. Interactive Session Messages give customers a more convenient method to find and choose what they want from your company thanks to their user-friendly layout.
Types of Interactive Session Messages: A WhatsApp API Message
The four different varieties of interactive session messages are: List messages, reply buttons, single product and multi-product messages are all included in this. Sending a catalog to customers works really well with single- and multi-product messages.
WhatsApp has implemented a new strategy to add a human agent pathway within a chat in order to better enhance the general customer experience with businesses.
Human Escalation Pathway in WhatsApp API Session Messaging
Customers despise conversing with chatbots, especially if they have a problem that requires a human agent to solve. Finally acknowledging this problem, WhatsApp has mandated the use of a human escalation mechanism.
Human agent handoff, phone number, email, web support form, and in-store visit prompts are a few approved escalation techniques. Please be aware that this need is not met via indirect methods like social media, a help center website, or a link to an app.
Human escalation path on WhatsApp
Your phone number's quality rating could drop to Low (red) without a human escalation pathway, and its status could change to Flagged. The alert will be sent to your registered email address and via an update from your Facebook Business Manager.
In the event that problem is not fixed in 7 days, WhatsApp will lower your message allowance. Businesses that send fewer than 1,000 notifications per week won't see a difference right away. You must first fix this problem in order to raise the messaging cap in the future.
That concludes our discussion of session messaging. Let's investigate Template Messaging next.
Business WhatsApp API: Template Messaging
Businesses are only permitted to AhaChat with Whatsapp Message Template after 24 hours have passed since the contact's last incoming message. Pre-approved messages known as message templates are used to reopen the 24-hour messaging window or begin a new conversation.
Messaging Template for WhatsApp API
The WhatsApp API enables multimedia and interactive message templates in addition to the regular message templates. The latter allows you to connect call-to-action or rapid reply buttons, while the former supports photos, videos, and PDF documents.
Types of WhatsApp Message Templates: Sending Messages via the WhatsApp API
The BSP's Console or AhaChat.com are the two primary ways to construct a WhatsApp message template. Always keep in mind that WhatsApp may reject submitted Message Templates for a variety of reasons. Check out these recommendations to increase the likelihood that your work will be accepted.
Businesses could not previously communicate non-transactional content through Message Templates.
Non-transactional Message Templates, however, are now available globally on WhatsApp as of September 2021.
Nevertheless, you must be careful not to send Message Templates too frequently lest recipients mark them as spam. Your Template's status and quality rating may be impacted by this.
Quality Rating and Status for Message Templates in WhatsApp API Messaging
The Message Template quality rating, which should not be confused with the phone number quality rating, displays how well your consumers have reacted to Message Templates over the course of the previous 24 hours. In the Facebook Business Manager, you may check the status and quality rating of your Template.
Quality rating of Message Template
Message Template evaluation score There are three quality states for template quality rating:
- High (Green)
- Medium (yellow)
- Low (red)
Status of Message Template
The status of a message template may change if its quality rating declines. For Message Templates, there are five statuses:
- Pending: When a company initially uploads a template that hasn't been approved
- Approved: Once the Message Template has been accepted
- Rejected: After a message template rejection
- Flagged: When the quality rating hits the Low state.
- Disabled: A Message Template's status changes to Disabled when it reaches the Flagged status and its quality rating does not rise within 7 days. A Disabled Message Template can neither be sent nor edited.
You will be notified via email if your Template status changes to Flagged or Disabled. Make sure you only deliver Message Templates to customers who have opted in to avoid having your Message Template disabled.
WhatsApp API Messaging Template: Opt-ins
Before beginning a discussion with Message Templates, WhatsApp needs businesses to get consumer opt-ins in order to preserve the caliber of the customer experience.
One can collect opt-ins both on and outside of WhatsApp. Consider interactive voice response (IVR), online forms, adverts, links, and QR codes on WhatsApp, as well as conversations in WhatsApp threads (customer-initiated messages).
Message sent via WhatsApp API: Template Messaging Opt-In
Contacts must first understand the benefits of opting in before they will do so. It's best to request opt-ins at the appropriate time and location. Get their consent to get new updates, for instance, when they create an account on your platform. Let's speak about managing contacts now that you understand how opt-in functions.
WhatsApp API Template Messaging: Contact Management
We'll talk about the various facets of contact management on WhatsApp API in this part. This includes maintaining contacts' identities with User Identity Notifications and confirming and importing contacts to a WhatsApp CRM.
Importing and Verifying Contacts
You must ensure that your contacts have a working WhatsApp number before importing them.
Verifying contacts is crucial since sending messages to phony WhatsApp numbers will damage your reputation.
Here are some things to be wary of: Users of the WhatsApp API will be banned if they verify too many phone numbers without contacting them. This will probably keep spammers off the platform.
Verifying and importing contacts from WhatsApp
The WhatsApp API does not store contacts. You can import your contacts to a WhatsApp CRM after having verified them. Contact imports are not well explained in the WhatsApp documentation, but we have shown you how to do it in this article.
The phone number of a contact may occasionally change. Businesses who choose not to receive User Identity Notifications would not be informed of the change in number ownership.
Customer Identity Alerts
Business communications with the correct Contact are guaranteed by user identity notifications. Businesses that choose to receive these notifications will be informed when messages arrive from a number that has been registered under a new user.
Identity notifications for users
Businesses are unable to message these numbers until they accept the re-registration. This prevents sensitive information from being leaked over WhatsApp to both businesses and customers. Additionally, User Identity Notifications shield companies from being reported as spam in case they message a non-opt-in user.
You've reached the finish line! You now possess all the knowledge you require regarding WhatsApp Business API, so get ready to put it to use and advance your company.