Similar to how emails defined communication in the 90s, the second decade of the 2000s has been defined by messaging apps, and there is one that has silently been growing to takeover as the leader in the messaging landscape. With over 1.5 billion users WhatsApp boasts the largest user base among all the chat apps.
WhatsApp is an entirely personal messaging app that is end-to-end encrypted and devoid of advertisements. Marketers have long been eying to get a piece of this cake and tap into the potential this channel holds. And Facebook owned WhatsApp has finally opened up to the world of businesses with the release of their limited access WhatsApp Business API.
Now, you’re wondering if this move is going to end up making WhatsApp lose its personal appeal like how it happened with email? Relax, The use cases for WhatsApp API are restricted. Blast marketing campaigns like how it was possible on email are not in the purview of the WhatsApp Business API, neither are promotional messages.
WhatsApp has made it clear that business who use the API can only send high value, relevant and transactional messages; and only if users have opted-in to receive these communications on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is the first B2C messaging channel that looks beyond automation. It focuses more on driving real-time, hassle-free, actionable business results and personalized customer-brand interactions.
Demystifying the WhatsApp Business API
Although WhatsApp has been around for a long time, the Business API is a fairly recent development. Thus, there is quite a bit of ambiguity surrounding the release and what it means for businesses.
So, we figured, what better way to understand the API than to address some of the popular questions surrounding the new WhatsApp Business API.
What is the WhatsApp Business API? How is it different from the WhatsApp we already know?
The WhatsApp Business API is a limited access API released by WhatsApp, inviting a select (initial) group of businesses to try out the API. Unlike the WhatsApp app and the WhatsApp Business app, this is an API.
To understand more about this, we need to understand the 3 existing entities of WhatsApp-
- WhatsApp Messenger
This is the app that all of us have installed on our mobile devices. The personal messaging app that is meant for individual use.
- WhatsApp Business App
This is a similar app to the WhatsApp Messenger, but this is meant for small businesses. The WhatsApp profile on this comes with a verified business profile that everyone can see.
- WhatsApp Business API
This is a docker container that businesses will need to integrate with their enterprise client. It’s far more complex than just downloading and installing the app on your phone. This docker will need to run in parallel with SQL databases and block storage. It is something that requires dev support.
What is the best way to get access to WhatsApp Business API?
The WhatsApp Business API is currently available in limited public preview. Which means that businesses will need to reach out directly to Facebook by signing up for the limited preview API. This is a deliberate attempt by Facebook to maintain high quality experience for users and businesses during the initial roll-out stage.
Facebook also has an extensive resource library on how you can get started with the WhatsApp Business API.
The WhatsApp Business API availability will continue to expand and might soon be available for public access, but for now, the only way to access this is to sign up for consideration on the Facebook platform.
How easy is it to get WhatsApp Business API up and running?
To put it plainly, it’s not as easy as installing the WhatsApp messenger on your phone and signing up with your phone number.
The API at its heart is a docker, and it will need to run in parallel with SQL databases and block storage; the docker itself contains an ever-changing API. Facebook has created a support doc on how businesses can go about this. The API client supports all the features of the WhatsApp messaging app, the only difference being that this client will run on the enterprise server. This is what will enable businesses to programmatically send and receive messages and integrate the API with their own enterprise solutions (CRMs, customer care, etc.)
As you can see, this involves a lot of heavy lifting from the IT and dev teams, therefore businesses would need to have their own in-house tech teams to tackle, integrate and maintain this ever-changing API client. This could turn out to be more than a bite-sized chunk for businesses that do not have a core dev team.
How can Insider help?
We at insider have been fiddling with the WhatsApp Business API to make it as simple as possible to connect your software onto their platform.
Essentially, there is a single line of Insider code that a business will need to copy and paste onto their website. From there on, Insider does all the heavy lifting for you. This will enable you to –
- Message users on their WhatsApp chat
Insider can take care of delivering automated messages to your users on WhatsApp following an on-site transaction. The messages can include boarding passes, flight tickets, purchase confirmation, order receipts, event tickets and more.
- Enable user opt-in on your website
With Insider you can easily place opt-in messages on your website for relevant messaging types such as purchase confirmation, boarding pass, event ticket and more that complies with WhatsApp policies.
- Track WhatsApp campaign performance
Keep track of key metrics for your WhatsApp campaigns like Opt-in, Sent, Delivered, Seen and Clicked, to analyze how users engage with your personalized messages.
Another benefit is that businesses will not have to keep up with the policy updates from WhatsApp and deploy the same on their API clients. Insider can take care of this for you so you can focus on creating mindful experiences for your users that will drive growth rather than breaking your head over IT & compliance requirements.
We’re really excited about this and we’re ready to do everything possible to help you get ready for WhatsApp Business API. Check out our product page for more info or download our eBook to get a headstart on understanding and using the WhatsApp Business API.
Get to know WhatsApp Business API + Insider.