WhatsApp Business vs WhatsApp Business API

June 17, 2019

chatbots

There are some distinct differences between the WhatsApp Business App versus the WhatsApp Business API. This article will help you determine which method is best for your business.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world. More than 1.5 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends, family, and now businesses too. The app, which is owned by Facebook, has created two distinct solutions for businesses wanting to use WhatsApp to communicate with their customers.

WhatsApp released the WhatsApp Business App at the beginning of 2018 and then in August 2018 the WhatsApp Business API was made available. But what is the difference between WhatsApp Business and the WhatsApp Business API?

What’s the difference between WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business

  • Suitable for local business owners
  • Suitable for small and medium-sized businesses
  • Canned/quick responses
  • Conversation labels
  • Set an away message
  • Business profile/hours
  • Use via dedicated App
  • No integration with other systems
  • No API access
  • One person can access

WhatsApp Business API

  • Suitable for enterprise businesses
  • Integrate with other systems
  • Access exclusively available through an official provider
  • Verified Business profile
  • Send bulk notifications
  • Use via your own CRM (no app)
  • Use automation
  • Multi-agent access

WhatsApp Business vs WhatsApp Business API

  1. Can WhatsApp be used for business?
  2. What’s the difference between WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API?
  3. Is WhatsApp Business or WhatsApp Business API best for my business?
  4. How do I create a WhatsApp business account?
  5. What is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider?
  6. What is the WhatsApp Business API?
  7. How can I verify my WhatsApp Business account?
  8. Why use the WhatsApp Business API?
  9. Is the WhatsApp Business API free?
  10. How do I get the WhatsApp Business API?

1) Can WhatsApp be used for business?

Businesses of all sizes use WhatsApp. Since its launch in 2009, WhatsApp has become the most preferred messenger app in the world, with more than 1.5 billion people using the app to communicate with family and friends. Now, thanks to WhatsApp Business and the WhatsApp Business API, companies can now communicate with customers on their preferred channel.

WhatsApp is an attractive solution for businesses due to its popularity with consumers. Conversational Marketing – the approach of encouraging one-to-one conversations with customers at scale – is becoming increasingly important for enterprise companies, leading to increased interest in utilizing WhatsApp for business use.

It’s important to understand the difference between WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API to know which is right for your business.

2) What’s the difference between WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API?

For those unsure of the difference between the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business API, we’ve outlined below the most important points you need to know.

WhatsApp Business App

The WhatsApp Business app allows small and medium-sized businesses to engage with their customers with a smartphone app.

For small business owners

  • Quick replies
  • Conversation labels
  • Set an away message
  • Business profile/hours
  • No integration with other systems
  • No API access
  • Single-agent access

Example use:

A local business owner wants to communicate with customers via WhatsApp and provide business details such as store hours in their profile. They wish to have the ability to organize and label messages and save replies they use frequently. Access is via mobile app or WhatsApp web only.

>> Get WhatsApp Business Now <<

WhatsApp Business API

The WhatsApp Business API provides solutions for enterprise businesses that have higher messaging volumes, allowing enterprises to scale using automation. The WhatsApp Business API also allows integrations with CRMs, analytics, and other elements of an enterprise’s software stack.

For enterprise businesses

  • Integrate with other systems
  • Access exclusively available through an official provider
  • Verified Business profile
  • Send bulk notifications
  • Use automation
  • Multi-agent access

Example use:

A company with multiple support agents or contact centers wants to be contacted by customers on WhatsApp in a scalable way, using the same resources that already exist for other channels such as phone and email, including managing responses through an external CRM.

With both the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business API, customer opt-in is imperative and communication must be initiated by customers.

3) Is WhatsApp Business or WhatsApp Business API best for my business?

If you’re a local business or a small and medium-sized business that deals with a volume of less than 1,000 unique customers contacting you monthly and you just need a way to label conversations, use quick replies and have a few basic responses; the WhatsApp Business App is appropriate for you.

With the WhatsApp Business App you can interact with customers easily using tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages. Features of the WhatsApp Business App include quick replies to save and reuse messages for faster responses, labels to organize contacts, as well as insights into messaging stats.

If you’re a large or enterprise business dealing with an excess of 5,000 unique customer interactions monthly and need to attend to those queries from your existing helpdesk, and perhaps integrate a more sophisticated automation solution involving decision trees, your AI instance or natural language processing in multiple languages, then the API is a better fit for you.

The WhatsApp Business API is a solution specifically built for enterprises as significant technical resources are necessary to connect to the API via their own front-end system or existing helpdesk. There is no app for the WhatsApp Business API, so large companies must access the raw data via the API, which requires expert technical solutions. The WhatsApp Business API also allows integration with CRM/helpdesk, analytics, and communication software to enable a team of human agents to manage tickets from WhatsApp.

The difference between the two solutions comes down to the size of the organization and the volume of WhatsApp messages you’re expecting to receive. If it’s a small number (less than 5k and certainly less than 1k monthly), the resources required to invest in the WhatsApp Business API are not going to be worth the time and money spent setting everything up.

The WhatsApp Business API is a solution for large, enterprise businesses which have the resources and demand for a scaled WhatsApp solution. For small and medium-sized businesses, the WhatsApp Business App is the perfect solution.

4) How do I create a WhatsApp business account?

WhatsApp business is the perfect solution for small and medium-sized businesses. Setting up a WhatsApp business account is straightforward! All you need to do is download the free WhatsApp Business App here.

  1. Download WhatsApp Business from the Apple or Google Play Store.
  2. Verify your business phone number; the one you wish to use to talk to customers.
  3. Restore your chat history, if you wish.
  4. Set your business name.
  5. Build your profile. Tap More options  > Settings > Business settings > Profile.

Before downloading the app, please be aware that you’ll have the option to migrate your chat history from your existing WhatsApp Messenger account, but you should make a manual backup before starting. Your chat history can’t be migrated back to WhatsApp Messenger if you decide to stop using WhatsApp Business.

You can use both WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Messenger, but each app must be linked to its own unique phone number. It’s not possible to have one phone number linked to both apps at the same time.

Get WhatsApp Business Now

5) What is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider?

Hubtype is one of less than 50 WhatsApp Business Solution Providers worldwide. As a solution provider, we help enterprise businesses to enter WhatsApp’s early access program, as well as creating automation to help scale the new messaging channel.

A Word Of Warning

There are many unauthorised companies falsely claiming to provide WhatsApp Business Solutions. Working with a company that isn’t one of the Solution Providers listed in Facebook’s official online directory of solution providers can lead to your business account being banned. Over 2 million unauthorised business accounts are banned by Facebook on a monthly basis, so it’s imperative that you work with a Solution Provider that appears in the official directory. Hubtype is an official solution provider.

Please note that if you use anything other than the official WhatsApp Business API or other official WhatsApp tools, WhatsApp reserves the right to limit or remove your access to WhatsApp as this violates their policies. Please do not use any non-WhatsApp authorized third-party tools to communicate on WhatsApp.

Learn more about Hubtype, an Official WhatsApp Solution Provider

6) What is the WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business API allows many of the features provided by the standard WhatsApp messenger application for Android and iOS. The main difference is that the application is deployed on a local server, which allows the enterprise company to send and receive messages programmatically and also integrates with CRM, AI, and analytics tools.

Most importantly, enterprise businesses can also build a chatbot using Hubtype’s framework to automate processes and responses to many frequently asked questions. Creating conversational messaging experiences at scale requires automation and results in high levels of customer engagement and satisfaction.

When a customer initiates contact with a company using WhatsApp, a 24-hour window opens that allows the company to communicate with the customer without any further charges. Once that 24-hour window has closed, notifications can be sent to customers on WhatsApp that have opted in, for a fee.

A guide to the technical implementation can be found on the Facebook Developer site, but some verified WhatsApp Business Solution Providers such as Hubtype will manage the implementation and verification processes.

7) How can I verify my WhatsApp Business account?

There are two types of verification processes, depending on the type of WhatsApp Business Account you have. The main difference between a Business Account and an Official Business Account is how you appear visually within a business profile, chats, and notifications. If a customer saves your business number in their address book, the name they save will always be displayed.

For businesses already using the WhatsApp Business API, their account is by default a Business Account. For Business Accounts, the Verified Name will only be shown in the contacts view and all other views will show only the phone number.

Remember that completing your Business Account profile with information, like your address, business description, email, website, and operating hours allows customers to view this information from your profile. Be prepared for users that may try to call this number and create a plan for how to handle incoming WhatsApp calls from customers.

Official Business Accounts have a green checkmark badge that appears beside the displayed name and in the contacts view in its profile. The verified business name is visible in the chat list, chat screens, chat groups, and contacts view, even without a user having to save the business to their address book.

An account that WhatsApp verifies as being owned by an authentic brand becomes an Official Business Account, however very few businesses achieve this status. When you start working with an official WhatsApp Solution Provider, like Hubtype, your Solution Provider can manage the entire process of verification with you as they have a direct relationship with WhatsApp.

8) Why use the WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business API has some serious advantages for enterprise businesses, including automation and integrations with an enterprise software stack. Up to 80% of inquiries can be automated, allowing you to manage more tickets with fewer resources and conversations can be easily handed over to a human representative whenever necessary.

This frees up your customer service representatives to focus on high-value or complex tickets. With the majority of FAQ and queries being automated, your customer service representatives can do what they do best; keeping your customers happy when they need a human touch.

With the WhatsApp Business API, you can also integrate your existing CRM, AI, and analytics tools, which means deploying a unified customer experience across all your messaging channels is effortless.

Learn more about Hubtype, an Official WhatsApp Solution Provider

9) Is the WhatsApp Business API free?

There is a cost for hosting a number on the WhatsApp API and the service is free for customers. Businesses can respond to customers for free within a 24-hour window, however, WhatsApp outside this 24-hour window is subject to a fee. Prices vary from country to country, but accurate quotations can be provided by contacting the Hubtype team.

10) How do I get the WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp is currently restricting the number of businesses on WhatsApp Business API by rolling out an early access program, in order to ensure a high-quality experience for businesses and users. Application for enterprise businesses for the early access program can be obtained through Hubtype and is subject complying with certain requirements. WhatsApp carries out a manual review of all brands and their use cases to ensure that they are in line with their requirements.

If you’re an enterprise business, contact Hubtype now and see if you’re a fit for the WhatsApp Business API early access program.

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