Facebook has launched a new WhatsApp Business application programming interface designed to help businesses communicate with consumers via the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging app. Along with the new WhatsApp Business API, Facebook advertisers will soon have access to ads on Facebook that click to WhatsApp, automatically opening a pre-filled WhatsApp chat between the user and business.
WhatsApp Business API
The WhatsApp Business API will allow businesses to send end-to-end encrypted messages to people who start a chat with the company via the app and to message people who have requested information. Businesses will be able to customize notifications that can be sent with “relevant, non-promotional” content (e.g., shipping confirmations, appointment reminders or event tickets).
“When someone messages your business, you can also use the WhatsApp Business API to respond to questions or comments for free within 24 hours,” writes Facebook on its Business blog.
A WhatsApp spokesperson sent the following explanation to help clarify the charges for messages sent via the Business API:
WhatsApp will charge businesses to send messages such as a boarding pass or delivery confirmation. When a customer reaches out to a business with a question such as how do they book their travel or when their order will be delivered, the business will be able to respond for free within 24 hours. If/when the customer responds, that restarts a 24-hour cycle. WhatsApp will charge for messages sent by the business outside of the 24-hour window.
According to the spokesperson, there is a fixed rate per country for messages delivered via WhatsApp and these prices vary significantly per country: “In general, the range for these messages [is] roughly half of $0.01 to $0.09 per message delivered.”
An announcement on the WhatsApp blog covering the new API says that users will be able to block any business and have full control over the messages they receive. It also reported WhatsApp is currently working with a select number of companies that specialize in managing customer communications to bring the API to more businesses over a period of time. Facebook’s announcement reported more than 90 large businesses have had access to the WhatsApp Business API for months now, including Uber, Singapore Airlines and the Indonesian e-commerce company, Sales Stock.
This is something that we will be keeping an eye on due to the popularity of these two platforms. We are yet to perform any testing on this but it certainly is another way of reaching out to clients. Thanks for reading.