What is WhatsApp Cloud API?
WhatsApp Cloud API is the cloud version of Facebook’s WhatsApp Business API that was released in 2019. This Cloud API is provided directly by Meta and is a simpler, more cost-effective way for businesses to use WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Cloud API is hosted on Meta-owned cloud servers that cut off the middleman i.e. Business Service Providers(BSPs) and allow businesses to directly register for WhatsApp Business API with Facebook.
How does it work?
Meta, like all cloud service providers, will serve as a hosting service. It will be responsible for maintenance, compute, storage, networking, and all other infrastructure-related expenditures that come with it.
Businesses will be able to send and receive up to 80 messages per second to a variety of client numbers using the Cloud API service and up to 500 messages per second on request. Multiple phone numbers will also be allowed to register with the Cloud API through this service.
If scaling is a concern, Cloud API automatically scales to handle your workload and refreshes its security updates automatically.
What has changed is how and how quickly your request to access the WhatsApp Business API is processed.
Difference between WhatsApp Cloud API and WhatsApp Business API?
Key Features of WhatsApp Cloud API
- Allows businesses and developers to build on top of their WhatsApp to cut down start-up time.
- Eliminates the middleman and the hosting costs involved with WhatsApp Business API.
- Provides free and direct access to new features and API software upgrades.
- Can send and receive up to 500 messages per second combined for both texts and media messages.
- Provides 24/7 support for critical issues till resolved.
Who can use it?
Unlike the on-premise WhatsApp Business API that is only available to medium to large scale businesses, WhatsApp Cloud API is also available to smaller businesses. Therefore all legitimate businesses can use it.
Pricing for WhatsApp Cloud API
Meta has announced that there will be no charges to access WhatsApp Cloud API.
However, sending messages using Cloud APIs will be charged on a conversational basis.
There are 2 types of messages that can be sent an approved WACA number:
- User-Initiated Conversation (UIC): These are conversations where the user sends the first message. Here, any reply that you send within the 24-hour window is free.
- Business Initiated Conversation (BIC): These are conversations where a business sends the first message to the user. Business Initiated Conversations require a pre-approved WhatsApp template.
- The first 1000 conversations of every month are free of charge . After that WhatsApp Cloud API will charge Rs.0.55 (55 paisa) per conversation session for business initiated conversations.
You can check the price charts for international numbers and learn more about Meta’s pricing policies here.
How to get WhatsApp Cloud API?
The following steps can be used to get access to WhatsApp Cloud API for Free –
1. Log on to https://developers.facebook.com/ and click on the “Create app” button.
2. Click on ‘Business’ from the ‘Select an app type’ and click ‘Next’
3. Type in a name for your app, contact email and select Facebook Business Account(optional). Click on ‘Create app’.
4. In the ‘Add products to your app’ menu, click on ‘Set up’ for WhatsApp.
5. Now create or select your Meta Business Account from the WhatsApp Business Platform API and click on ‘Continue’.
6. Copy and paste the temporary access token and keep it safely.
7. Select the phone number provided for testing and enter another phone number where you will receive the message from Meta via WhatsApp. This part is required to confirm that WhatsApp can send you messages from their servers. The message typed in the terminal says ‘Hello world’, but it can easily be edited in the template manager.
8. Click on ‘Send message’. You should receive a WhatsApp message confirming the delivered message, by the WhatsApp Cloud API team.
9. Head to Facebook template manager and find the previously added, default template there.
10. You can click on the ‘Create Message Template’ and create your own messages to send out to customers.
What is the process of sending messages?
- Head to the WACA dashboard. Create a template and submit for pre-approval by WhatsApp.
- Once the template is approved, you can use it to start a business-initiated conversation with any lead or customer.
Limitations of WhatsApp Cloud API
- Unlike WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business, WACA messages are not free and have conversation based charges.
- The biggest limitation of WhatsApp Cloud API is that Meta does not provide a platform for the business to use the Cloud API.
- To access WhatsApp Cloud API, you need to either develop a platform to benefit from WhatsApp’s features or partner with a BSP like Engati.
You can use Engati’s WhatsApp Solutions to make the most out of your WhatsApp Cloud API. Now deploy a WhatsApp Chatbot, send targeted messages and broadcasts to 1000+ customers, Automate your conversations to improve customer experience and be available 24/7.