Meta announced that it will open the WhatsApp Cloud API to all businesses during their event, Conversations, on May 19, 2022. This means WhatsApp Business API is now available to all businesses of all sizes. With this offering, even the small mom-and-pop shops can scale their customer communications and provide delightful customer experiences with WhatApp API.
What is WhatsApp Cloud API?
WhatsApp Cloud API allows businesses to send and receive messages using the cloud-hosted version of its WhatsApp Business API. With the new Cloud API hosted on Meta’s services, WhatsApp Business users can implement WhatsApp Business API without the cost of hosting on their ‘own servers’.
By offering free, secure and cloud-based hosting, businesses can scale their customer communication and reduce the go-live date from months to minutes. WhatsApp Cloud API allow businesses to build directly on top of their regular WhatsApp and provides options to customise their user experience and improve the response speed.
What features are available?
WhatsApp has strived to make customer-business communication a seamless experience. To the effect that they’ve constantly launched new features and tools to improve the communication between these two parties.
To continue working towards better communication, WhatsApp has opened its WhatsApp Business API to all businesses by hosting it on Meta’s cloud servers. Below are some of the features businesses can look forward to.
- Businesses and developers can build on top of their WhatsApp to cut down start-up time.
- WhatsApp Cloud API users can eliminate the hosting costs involved with WhatsApp Business API.
- Businesses can handle the influx of chats by managing them across devices (up to 10 for now).
- WhatsApp will provide customisable click-to-chat links to help businesses increase their online presence and attract new customers.
- Businesses get access to new features as and when they are made available.
What is the pricing for new features?
WhatsApp Cloud API provides a lot of new features to the WhatsApp Business users. Meta has made it clear that with the newly launched WhatsApp Cloud API, businesses don’t have to pay for the hosting charges that are usually there with WhatsApp Business API.
As for the pricing for other features, WhatsApp said that they plan to provide additional advanced features to WhatsApp Business app users. These features will be optional. That means users have the freedom to opt for it or not. If the user chooses to go for these features, there will be a fee associated with it as part of their new premium service. The pricing for the new services is yet to be announced.
Businesses opting for WhatsApp Cloud API will have to pay for the message sent or conversation, as per the rules. There are two types of conversations:
From February 1, 2022, WhatsApp changed its pricing rules to conversation-based pricing. Read more on WhatsApp pricing here.
What does it mean for WhatsApp Business users?
WhatsApp Business users have the option to continue with their WhatsApp Business app or opt for the WhatsApp Cloud API and host their services on Meta’s cloud servers for free. WhatsApp believes that over the years, few small businesses will grow and will require additional tools to support their users. In which case, they should have the option to continue with free service, i.e. WhatsApp Cloud API.
What’s the difference between WhatsApp On-premise and Cloud API?
Businesses looking to use the WhatsApp API have two hosting options going forward: On-Premises and Cloud API. Key differences between these two are listed in the below table.
|Sl. No.||Key Differences||On-Premise API||Cloud API|
|1||Hosting||Individual businesses and/or BSP’s own servers and data centres||Meta’s servers|
|2||Costs||1. Pay for setting up and maintaining servers. |
2. Conversation-based messaging charges as per the rules.
|1. No extra cost for setting up or maintaining servers. |
2. Conversation-based messaging charges as per the rules.
|3||API Protocol||Rest API||Graph API|
|4||Message Throughput(Per Second)||Send up to 70 text messages per second for single-connect.|
Send up to 250 text messages per second for multi-connect.
Sending media messages may reduce these numbers.
No limit on receiving messages.
|Up to 80 messages per second for sending and receiving combined for one business number and many consumer numbers. |
In the event of high system loads, a business may experience reduced message throughput.
Starting in July 2022, Cloud API will support up to 250 messages per second of combined sending and receiving (inclusive of text and media messages), by request.
|5||Single-tenant vs. Multi-tenant||Single-tenant (single phone number per deployment).||Not applicable. Multiple phone numbers can be registered on Cloud API.|
|6||Media Provider API||Supported||Deprecated. To upload media to the Cloud API, there are separate instructions.|
Learn the differences between WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API.
What are the limitations of WhatsApp’s Cloud API?
Businesses opt for WhatsApp API to enhance their user experience and connect with more users. However, WhatsApp is just one of the many channels where users connect with a business. With WhatsApp Cloud API, businesses will be able to automate their customer communication on just WhatsApp.
There are other communication channels that users prefer these days, such as Instagram, websites, and even voice (automated phone service). With WhatsApp Business API through BSPs such as Verloop.io, businesses can integrate all communication channels in one place and get a unified view of all customer queries.
Other than that, Verloop.io (WhatsApp’s partner in providing the WhatsApp Business API) provides other services that enhance a customer’s experience on the WhatsApp chatbot, which are not available through the WhatsApp Cloud API. These include
- AI-powered FAQ: Automate commonly asked questions with the power of Verloop.io’s conversational AI that is trained on 4 billion-plus queries with different intents and utterances.
- Agent Assist: Get access to features such as a unified customer profile view, canned responses, etc. which helps agents save time and be more efficient in resolving customer queries.
- Dashboard: Track your bot and agent performance in real-time with our dashboard and reports. See how users are engaging with your bot and get insights on how you can improve their performance.
- Outreach: Send proactive messages to your customers at scale. Engage and re-engage users with triggered based messages, notifications, alerts, updates, reminders, etc. all in one place.
Talk to our experts to see how you can get started with Verloop.io today.