WhatsApp Business API: What’s in the limited public preview?

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Facebook has finally decided to monetize WhatsApp.

Earlier this month, on August 1, Facebook rolled its long-in-development WhatsApp Business API for medium to large businesses. This is not to be confused with WhatsApp business application, which is only meant for small businesses.

The business API will let you communicate with your customers all over the world, in real time.

The API allows you to make a business profile on WhatsApp. You can include all the necessary information like address, business description, email address, phone numbers, and website.

The motive of the API is to bridge the gap between businesses and their customers. WhatsApp currently has an active user base of 1.2 billion members. The business API might become the goldmine for customer services and marketing. It is the most convenient place to provide services and support to your customers.

You can use the API to send notifications such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders, event tickets, tracking details etc.

For the initial release though, the API comes with some limitations.

Businesses cannot send messages to WhatsApp users until the users have initiated a contact, for example making an order or booking a ticket.

There is also a limit on outbound message rates. The tested maximum outbound message rate is 15 message/second.

The API not only allows you to connect directly to your customers but it also keeps an insight on the messages and response rates. You can access these message analytics in the dashboard.

The business API comes with some useful features:

  • Instance monitoring- You can export internal metrics in prometheus text format and use the obtained data to analyse the performance.
  • Message templates- You can create different message templates for different instances & situations. You can also set locales for different languages.
  • Verified name- Your business profile gets a verified name with which you can communicate with your customers. The verification badge ensures authenticity and establishes trust amongst the users.
  • Labels- The chat can get clumsy. Labels can help you sort your customers and chats. Create Labels and organize your chats accordingly.

Similar to the basic WhatsApp app, all the information between the business and the clients will remain end-to-end encrypted.

The API is currently in a limited public preview. You can submit your application here for consideration if you want to get the business API.