WhatsApp Business API or App: What’s the best for your brand?
Facebook-owned Messenger platform, WhatsApp provides two solutions to businesses to engage with their customers effectively. One is WhatsApp Business API and another is WhatsApp Business App.
For every business that wants to leverage the full potential of the WhatsApp Business, it’s very important to understand how API and App work.
The capabilities and features across these two differ significantly in terms of:
● Initial setup & management
● Service automation & integrations
● Rules & regulations
All this might seem confusing for you whether you are looking to use WhatsApp Business solution for sales, customer service, or marketing.
Today, I’m gonna tell you the differences between the two services to enable you to make the right decision for your brand.
What is the difference between WhatsApp Business API and App?
WhatsApp Business messaging App Features:
● Use via dedicated App
● Suitable only for small & local businesses
● Canned/quick replies
● Add conversation labels
● Business can set an away message
● Dedicated business profile/hours
● No integration with other systems like Chatbot, CRM
● One person can use at a time
Example use: A local grocery business communicates with its customers via WhatsApp business App. It provides details such as items, store opening hours in their profile.
They can organize and label WhatsApp messages and save replies they use frequently. The App can be downloaded for Android and iOS or can be used via the WhatsApp web.
What is the WhatsApp Business API?
Launched in 2018, the WhatsApp API allows many of the features provided by the standard WhatsApp messenger application for Android and iOS.
An API (Application Programming Interface) is a code that enables applications to access data and interact with external components. To simplify, an API sends a user response to a server and sends the server’s response back to a user.
The API is deployed on a company’s local server, which allows the enterprise company to send and receive messages programmatically and also integrates with CRM, Chatbot, and other analytics tools.
Using the Whatsapp API enterprise businesses can deploy a chatbot on their WhatsApp business account to automate customer support and text messages to many frequently asked questions.
Building conversational messaging experiences such as an AI Chatbot at scale requires automation and coding and results in high levels of customer engagement and satisfaction.
Session Message: When a customer initiates contact with a business using WhatsApp, a 24-hour window opens that allows the company to communicate with the customer.
Message Templates: Once that 24-hour window has closed, only reminders and service notifications can be sent to customers on WhatsApp that have opted in.
Depending upon the pricing plans, BSPs charge a small amount fee for the messages.
WhatsApp Business API Features:
● It is suitable for enterprise businesses
● Integrations such as CRM, analytical tools
● Access exclusively available through a BSP or ISV
● Green Tick, verified business profile
● Messages Broadcast, send bulk notifications
● No app or interface, use via your CRM
● Use automation such as a chatbot
● Multi-agent access for customer support
Example use: A clothing brand with multiple support agents contacts its customers on WhatsApp to send payment slips, reminders, and cart items through its CRM.
With the WhatsApp API, customers’ opt-in is imperative and the conversation must be initiated by customers by sending a message.
What are the advantages of the WhatsApp Business App?
1. Security: We’ll see outlining one of the factors that distinguished Whatsapp and led to its rapid rise to the top of the messaging world: encryption security.
Every text message, document, or picture sent on Whatsapp is end-to-end encrypted.
2. User Interface: The WA Business App is very easy to set up and use. It is available in the app stores. Its user interface and operations are so smooth and simple.
1. Only one business account: The account can only be active on one device at a time. Which limits the customer reach of larger companies.
2. Spam and Promotional Messages: Whatsapp Business app lets businesses send out lots more messages directly to customers. Whatsapp does not control promotional messages on WhatsApp Business App.
3. No Integrations: You can not integrate WhatsApp Business App into your CRM. Automation services like chatbot and template message broadcast can not be used.
What are the advantages of WhatsApp Business API?
Specially designed for growing businesses and brands, the WhatsApp Business API has a lot to offer. Some of its benefits include:
● A common dashboard with a chat inbox and CRM
● Multiple users login to the dashboard at once
● Permitting Shopify and chatbot like third-party integrations
● API sender, sending programmatic responses to customers’ queries
● Get an official business account via a green checkmark
● KPIs tracking and analytics
With this much to offer, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses around the world are turning to WhatsApp Business API to manage their communications with their customers.
1. No Promotions: The WhatsApp API lets businesses respond to messages from users freely for up to 24 hours, but after that, each message sent has to be approved by whatsapp itself – Hence No Promotions.
2. Since it is an API, there is no front-end interface provided and no WhatsApp official app is available. The idea is the companies take the WhatsApp API endpoint and integrate it into their business software or CRM. You have to use it via your own CRM or some third-party solutions.
What’s perfect for your brand?
This is often described as a simple question to answer, but definitely, it’s not.
Some experts out there simply recommend that if you’re a small 1-5 person business, use the app. For any more people in your brand, use the WhatsApp API.
But making a decision seems far more complex than that.
Let me help you to figure out what’s perfect for your business.
You should use the WhatsApp Business App if-
● You have around 200-400 persons to engage with.
● WhatsApp Business is your passive income channel where only a few customers message you with their inquiries or appointments.
● Only 2-3 people can completely manage your customer support on WhatsApp.
● The time spent on conversations is not a critical factor in your business.
● Simultaneous multiple customer support is not critical to your business.
● You don’t use any online software or service and your business will not be impacted if you don’t sync the customer data with your current tools.
● You don’t have enough money to invest in the channel.
You must go for the WhatsApp Business API if-
● You are a large business and have more than 1,000 customers who you want to engage on WhatsApp.
● You are finding a solution to use WhatsApp for sending status notifications and updates to customers.
● You want to use WhatsApp as a channel to acquire new customers, to improve your customer support, or offer personalized shopping.
● You require more than 2 people to manage your expected large volume of conversations.
● Agent’s time spent on each conversation and response time are critical to your business and you’d need third party automation tools to improve your overall team efficiency.
● You have a budget and can afford at least $100 / month investment into growth and marketing channels.
● You have/need 2 or more members in your team as a backup to manage an increase in inbox messages.
● You have a tech and product team to build desired things over APIs and regularly manage your internal tools for WhatsApp Business API.
● You require a WhatsApp conversational commerce and automation platform like WATI to help you get started quickly.
If you need any further assistance with making the right decision, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll instantly help you identify if you’re ready to step up to the API.
What is WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp provides two solutions to businesses in order to help them communicate with their customers. Local businesses can use WhatsApp Business App and for SMEs and large companies Facebook provides WhatsApp Business API.
What is the cost of WhatsApp Business?
If you are using WhatsApp Business App, you don't have to pay any fee as its available on app stores for free. WhatsApp charges money for using WhatsApp Business API to send messages to customers.
How much does the WhatsApp API cost?
The pricing of WhatsApp Business API varies from country to country. At $0.003 per message for 50,0000 session messages and $0.005 per additional message. WhatsApp only charges for outgoing messages but BSPs and ISVs can charge businesses for incoming messages too.
What is a session message?
When a customer initiates contact with a business using WhatsApp, a 24-hour window opens that allows the company to communicate with the customer.
What is a message template?
Once that 24-hour window has closed, only reminders and service notifications can be sent to customers on WhatsApp that have opted in.
Depending upon the pricing plans, BSPs charge a small amount fee for the messages.