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The Complete Guide To WhatsApp Business API

Deepak Yadav Deepak, Product Manager at CleverTap, with 5+ years' experience. Led technical accounts, managed global support, fueled growth at Fynd, Paintcollar. Passionate about user acquisition and product optimization.
The Complete Guide To WhatsApp Business API

In today’s intricate business landscape, companies leverage multiple communication channels, such as Email, SMS, WhatsApp, Mobile, Web, and more, as integral components of their communication strategy. Understanding the advantages and drawbacks of each channel is crucial, and hence businesses should experiment and discern the optimal channel mix for their unique needs.

Why WhatsApp Marketing Should Matter To B2C Brands

  • Wider Reach: WhatsApp boasts an expansive global presence, with over 2 billion daily users spanning 180 countries, including a staggering 500 million users in India alone. This unparalleled accessibility positions WhatsApp as a pivotal platform for brands looking to penetrate diverse markets.
  • Highly Engaged User Base: The platform not only attracts a vast user base but also maintains deep engagement. On average, users spend over 15 hours per month on WhatsApp, accessing the app more than 10 times daily. This remarkable engagement offers brands a unique opportunity to establish a constant presence in their customers’ daily lives.
  • Universal Adoption: Widely preferred by businesses, WhatsApp has become the platform of choice for over 50 million global brands, including 15 million in India, for marketing purposes. This widespread adoption underscores the platform’s efficacy in reaching and engaging diverse audiences.
  • High Click-Through Rates (CTR) with WhatsApp: Boasting open rates as high as 90%, WhatsApp outperforms traditional marketing channels, providing brands with a highly effective medium to reach their audience and ensure their messages are not only seen but also acted upon.
  • Preferred Communication Channel: WhatsApp is increasingly becoming the favoured channel for both personal and business communication. Gartner projects that, by 2022, 70% of customer interactions will involve tools like chatbots and messaging platforms. This highlights a significant shift toward more instant and conversational forms of customer engagement.
  • Engaging Messaging Formats: Leveraging WhatsApp’s diverse messaging formats, including multimedia messages, quick reply options, and call-to-action buttons, allows for creative and engaging interactions. These features empower brands to construct compelling narratives and calls-to-action, transforming conversations into interactive and impactful experiences.

Unlocking the Power of WhatsApp for Marketing: Exploring Three
Dynamic Solutions

WhatsApp, the widely popular messaging platform, offers three distinctive solutions tailored to meet diverse user needs, spanning from personal communication to business marketing. Let’s delve into each solution:

WhatsApp MessengerWhatsApp Business AppWhatsApp Business API
Audience
Individual users
  • Designed for small businesses
  • Suitable for individual owners and small-scale operations
Caters to larger companies handling a high volume of messages requiring automation and integration
PlatformAvailable on both the app and browserAvailable on both the app and browserAvailable on both the app and browser, but also accessible through solution providers like Infobip
Device and User LimitationsCan be used on a single device by a single userCan be used on only one device by one user limiting scalability for larger operationsSupports an unlimited number of users and devices, allowing extensive customer engagement
Messaging CapabilitiesPrimarily used for personal communication with text, audio, multimedia, location, and document sharing features
  • Allows text, audio, multimedia, location, and document sharing. 
  • Offers basic automation features such as greeting messages, away messages, and quick replies.
  • Offers advanced features like session messages and template messages (with prior approval)
  • Suitable for mass messaging with no contact limit
Features
  • Messaging
  • Profile
  • Status
  • Update
  • Business Profile
  • Product Catalog
  • Broadcast Messages: Limited to one message
  • Automated Messages: Limited
  • Group Chats: Can create and participate in
  • Voice/Video Calls
  • Business Profile
  • Product Catalog
  • Broadcast Messages
  • Unlimited Automated Messages (Including Chatbots)
  • Session Messages
  • Call-to-Action Buttons
IntegrationsNot SupportedThe Business Application offers basic automation features such as greeting messages, away messages, and quick replies.The Business API supports advanced automation and integration with existing business systems, such as CRM tools, and is often used in conjunction with chatbots for enhanced customer interaction.

The WhatsApp Business API serves as a backend system enabling businesses to efficiently handle and automate their interactions on the WhatsApp platform. Unlike a standalone application or user interface for personal devices, this API seamlessly integrates into existing messaging platforms or business systems and stands out as the ideal choice for medium to large businesses seeking robust solutions for expansive marketing initiatives and enhanced customer engagement.

In the upcoming sections, we will guide you through the WhatsApp Business API landscape, aiding you in the selection of the best-suited solution provider and shedding light on essential considerations to ensure a successful start to your journey with WhatsApp Business Messaging.

Choosing the Right WhatsApp Business Messaging Platform

Embarking on your journey with WhatsApp Business API is simple and uncomplicated, especially if your business aligns with Facebook’s commerce policy requirements. All you need to kickstart your WhatsApp journey is a mobile number for activation and a verified account on Facebook Business Manager. But to truly harness the power of WhatsApp Business API effectively, selecting the right Business Solution Provider (BSP) is a crucial first step. 

Defining your Business Needs

To effectively navigate the selection process for the WhatsApp Business API, it is essential to begin by defining your business needs. This involves considering factors such as your business size, goals, if you want to deploy an omnichannel strategy and any other specific business use cases, to determine the platform more suitable for your objectives.

Types of Business Solution Provider (BSPs)

The market offers a spectrum of solutions, ranging from point solutions to comprehensive, all-in-one platforms. Understanding the landscape is vital to integrating WhatsApp seamlessly into your business operations.

  • Point Solutions: It is designed to address specific aspects of the WhatsApp Business API, making them particularly well-suited for businesses with targeted needs or those in the process of gradually expanding their usage of the platform. Their inherent specialization allows for a cost-effective approach, especially when aiming for singular, precise functionalities within the scope of the WhatsApp Business API.
  • All-in-One Platforms: These comprehensive platforms provide end-to-end integration and advanced features, making them an ideal choice for businesses with intricate needs that demand extensive personalization and segmentation. Tailored to handle complexity, these platforms facilitate a contextual cross-channel customer experience, ensuring a seamless and cohesive interaction across various communication channels.

You can utilize the comparison table below to evaluate which solution aligns best with your needs.

Point SolutionsAll-in-One Platforms
SegmentationDependent on in-house capabilities or 3rd party toolsBuilt-in advanced segmentation capabilities
Experimentation and OptimizationBasic experimentation capabilities like A/B testingAdvanced experimentation and optimization capabilities powered by AI
PersonalizationDependent on in-house systems or 3rd party toolsAdvanced personalization like recommendations, real-time actions, past actions and preference, predicted actions and more
Omnichannel Strategy May require additional solutions for omnichannel campaignsBuilt-in support for omnichannel campaigns
FlexibilityLimited scalability, tailored functionalitiesScalable, adaptable to evolving business needs
Integration ScopeAdditional development efforts to integrate with other internal systems and go liveShorter time to go live with minimum/zero developments efforts
CostPotentially cost-effective in isolation. Additional integration, maintenance, and tooling costs add upHigher upfront costs, but with saving on additional tooling, integration, and maintenance costs

After exploring the different approaches to WhatsApp Business Messaging, it’s evident that each approach comes with unique benefits tailored to diverse business needs. Having identified the WhatsApp Business API solution tailored to your business needs, the next crucial step is understanding how to leverage its capabilities effectively. This entails delving into WhatsApp’s framework for enterprise messaging to unlock the full potential of WhatsApp Business API for seamless communication and engagement with your audience.

Getting Started With WhatsApp Business Messaging

The first step in your WhatsApp marketing journey is to secure user consent effectively. This not only prevents users from blocking or reporting messages but also ensures that they receive only the notifications they care about, creating a positive user experience. Hence, delving into the intricacies of subscription management becomes imperative.

WhatsApp Subscription Management

To understand the intricacies of consent management, you need to delve deeper into practices to obtain user consent, handle opt-ins and opt-outs, and ensure that your WhatsApp marketing practices align with regulations while resonating with your target audience. Understanding these nuances is vital for any business seeking to engage customers through WhatsApp while upholding high ethical and legal standards.

Why is Subscription Management Important in WhatsApp Marketing?

Subscription management ensures adherence to multiple key aspects of customer engagement and below are some of the key areas of impact:

  • Legal Compliance: Adhering to data protection laws and regulations is crucial. Proper subscription management ensures that businesses only send messages to users who have explicitly consented to receive them.
  • User Experience: Proper subscription management respects user preferences, enhancing their experience and relationship with the brand.
  • Targeted Communication: By managing subscriptions effectively, businesses can ensure they are communicating with an audience interested in their services or products, leading to higher engagement rates.

Best Practices for Managing WhatsApp Subscriptions

Effective subscription management in WhatsApp requires implementing  a few key practices to ensure optimal user engagement and compliance. Explore the following key strategies for effectively managing WhatsApp subscriptions:

  • Clear Opt-In Process: Ensure the opt-in process is transparent. Users should know what type of content they will receive and how frequently.
  • Easy Opt-Out Options: Provide users with an easy way to opt-out of communications, such as a simple command or a link to unsubscribe.
  • Segmentation: Segment your audience based on interests, behavior, or demographics to send relevant and personalized messages.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your subscription lists updated. Regularly remove users who have opted out and add new subscribers who have given consent.
  • Respect User Preferences: Honor the frequency and type of content preferences of your subscribers. Avoid overwhelming users with too many messages.

To learn more about subscription management, you can refer to CleverTap’s documentation here.

Just as managing subscriptions is key to ensuring that the right audience receives your messages, effective template management is vital for crafting messages with precision and creating impact. To begin, let’s try to understand the types of conversation categories on WhatsApp. 

Understanding Types Of Conversations In WhatsApp Business Messaging

In WhatsApp Business API, conversations are integral and broadly classified into below categories:

User-Initiated Conversations: These begin when a user contacts the brand, opening a 24-hour window for the brand to respond with free-form messages. Referred to as ‘service conversations’ by Meta, they allow brands to engage directly and personally with users.

Business-Initiated Conversations: Are conversations that are initiated from a business to a user outside the 24 hour customer service window. These can be initiated for the below purposes:

Marketing: Utilized for promotional content.
Utility: Used for sending crucial updates.
Authentication: Aimed at sending authentication details.

A key rule in WhatsApp messaging is that any brand-initiated conversation requires the use of approved message templates. However, in responding to a user’s message, brands have more flexibility and don’t need pre-approval.

Template Management in WhatsApp Business Messaging

Creating effective message templates is vital in WhatsApp marketing. Here are some best practices to ensure your templates are both effective and compliant:

  • Clarity and Conciseness: Prioritize clear, straightforward communication.
  • Personalization: Incorporate elements like the customer’s name or references to past interactions.
  • Compliance with WhatsApp Policies: Adhere to WhatsApp’s guidelines and commerce policies.
  • Interactive Elements: Use quick replies or call-to-action buttons to enhance engagement.
  • Testing and Optimization: Regularly test different templates to find the most effective ones.
  • Purposeful Messaging: Ensure each template serves a clear purpose and provides value.
  • Localization: Tailor messages to suit different regions and cultures for a global audience.
  • Regular Updates: Keep templates updated to remain relevant.
  • Feedback Loop: Encourage and utilize customer feedback to refine your messaging strategy.
  • Avoid Spammy Content: Stay away from overly promotional content and frequent messaging that could be perceived as spam.
  • Easy Opt-Out Options: Provide a straightforward way for users to opt-out.

For detailed guidance on creating and understanding WhatsApp message templates, refer to CleverTap’s documentation on template creation here and Meta’s template guidelines here

For B2C brands striving to deliver unparalleled conversational experiences, WhatsApp is a no-brainer. The prospect of delving into WhatsApp Marketing might seem intimidating, but fear not—CleverTap transforms this journey into a breeze. Whether through direct access or strategic partnerships, CleverTap ensures simplicity, providing exclusive features that amplify your marketing impact. 

Elevate Customer Engagement With WhatsApp

Last updated on January 30, 2024