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Comprehensive Guide to Meta’s WhatsApp Cloud API

Businesses of every size can now expand their WhatsApp conversations with the introduction of the WhatsApp Cloud API to global businesses. This article will delve into all aspects of the WhatsApp Cloud API, including its functionality and the distinctions between it and the WhatsApp Business API. Additionally, we will outline the advantages of the WhatsApp Cloud API and guide you on how to gain access.

Introducing WhatsApp Cloud API

WhatsApp Cloud API is the cloud-hosted rendition of the WhatsApp Business API, which is now housed on Meta’s cloud servers. Initially, Meta offered the On-premises API, which was hosted either on a Business Solutions Provider (BSP) server or a private server of a business.

However, it became apparent that applying for the On-premises API was time-consuming, with updates to the API taking considerable time to reach businesses. Moreover, for some businesses, the associated costs were prohibitive.

WhatsApp API hosting options

Meta has now introduced the meta WhatsApp Cloud API for SMBs. You might wonder, what is the meaning of WhatsApp Cloud API? It is essentially a cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business API. Although it shares many features with the latter, it is hosted on Meta’s servers instead of a Business Solutions Provider’s server. Because the primary distinction between the two lies in the hosting, Meta refers to the WhatsApp Business API as the On-premise API, distinguishing it from the meta WhatsApp Cloud API for SMBs.

Recognizing these challenges, Meta has opted to provide the WhatsApp Cloud API as a faster and more cost-effective method of obtaining the WhatsApp API. Now, let’s delve into the differences between the WhatsApp Cloud API and the On-premises API.

Differentiating WhatsApp Cloud API from WhatsApp On-premises API

The differences between the WhatsApp Cloud API and the WhatsApp On-premises API are primarily on the back-end and don’t directly impact end-users. However, they can have implications for businesses, particularly in terms of how quickly they can access the API and receive upgrades.

The WhatsApp Cloud API, being hosted by Meta, enables businesses and BSPs to obtain API access for free and benefit from more rapid software implementation and security upgrades.

The distinction between the Cloud WhatsApp API and WhatsApp On-premises API is mainly behind-the-scenes and doesn’t directly affect end users. Nevertheless, businesses considering the WhatsApp Cloud API should be aware of these distinctions. Refer to this article to grasp the differences between the WhatsApp Business Cloud API and WhatsApp On-premises API.

WhatsApp Cloud API vs On-premises API: More Information in the WhatsApp Cloud API Documentation

In the case of WhatsApp On-premises API, the onus of hosting and maintaining the API falls on BSPs. They are responsible for manually executing any upgrades, potentially resulting in delays in accessing the latest WhatsApp API enhancements.

Additionally, there’s a notable price disparity between the two APIs due to the various parties involved in the application process and hosting. We will delve further into the specifics below.

WhatsApp Cloud API Pricing

The pricing for WhatsApp Cloud API varies based on how you acquire access. If you obtain WhatsApp Cloud API through BSPs, there may be additional BSP-related expenses. However, because the API is hosted on Meta’s servers, their charges are generally lower compared to BSPs offering the On-premises API.

If you acquire WhatsApp Cloud API directly from Meta, you’ll only be responsible for WhatsApp conversation charges. WhatsApp’s pricing structure revolves around two categories: business-initiated conversations and user-initiated conversations or service conversations.

Service conversations encompass interactions initiated by customers. Businesses will incur user-initiated conversation fees when responding to messages within the 24-hour messaging window.

WhatsApp has launched the Cloud API for all businesses. It’s a more cost-effective option compared to the On-premises API. The image below illustrates the pricing for the WhatsApp Cloud API. Creating an account for WhatsApp Cloud API is free. By signing up, you only need to cover conversation-based pricing without additional per-message fees, which are instituted by some BSPs. There are two types of pricing for the Cloud API: user-initiated conversations and business-initiated conversations. Consult this article to learn how to sign up for WhatsApp Cloud API for free.

Meta WhatsApp API: WhatsApp Cloud API Pricing

Business-initiated conversations refer to interactions initiated by businesses outside the 24-hour messaging window. Businesses must utilize a message template to initiate a business-initiated conversation.

WhatsApp offers businesses 1,000 complimentary conversations per month, which can be either service or business-initiated conversations. It’s important to note that effective June 1, 2023, the 1,000 free conversations will be limited to service conversations. Now, let’s examine the features of WhatsApp Cloud API.

WhatsApp Cloud API Features

Similar to the On-premises API, you need to integrate WhatsApp Cloud API with a customer conversation management software such as Leadshouse in order to access its features.

This image showcases the features of Meta Cloud API for WhatsApp SMBs. Meta Cloud API for WhatsApp is exclusively an API and doesn’t possess its own interface. Therefore, it must be connected to a business messaging inbox like Leadshouse to leverage WhatsApp API Cloud features. Once linked, you can send broadcasts, interactive messages, obtain the green verification tick for your WhatsApp Business profile, and deploy advanced automation for marketing, sales, and support.

Meta Cloud API Features

Upon integration with Leadshouse, businesses gain the capability to dispatch broadcasts and interactive messages, apply for the WhatsApp green verification tick by authenticating their WhatsApp Business Account, and employ advanced automation for marketing, sales, and support.

Now that you have a grasp of what WhatsApp Cloud API is and how it operates, let’s explore its advantages.

Advantages of Acquiring WhatsApp Cloud API

WhatsApp Cloud API stands out for its stability and reliability compared to the On-premises API since Meta manages the API infrastructure and hosting. Additionally, businesses can expect swift API updates, including new features and security enhancements.

Instead of the protracted application process typically associated with obtaining On-premises API access from BSPs, businesses can swiftly secure Cloud API access either through BSPs or directly from Meta.

The benefits of WhatsApp Cloud API stem from the elimination of intermediaries (BSPs) and the direct acquisition of the API from Meta. With the introduction of the WhatsApp Cloud API for businesses worldwide, there are no setup fees, and businesses can directly access the Cloud API from Meta. In this blog, we’ll guide you on how to acquire WhatsApp Business API Cloud. Since Meta takes full responsibility for all infrastructure-related maintenance and updates, any changes made by Meta to the API will be instantly available to businesses. This encompasses feature updates, security updates, and more.

Benefits of Meta Cloud API

While Meta doesn’t impose any setup fees for the Cloud API, obtaining it through a BSP may entail additional costs. It’s crucial to select a BSP that doesn’t levy setup fees or markups on WhatsApp charges.

If you’re on the lookout for a BSP with these qualities, Leadshouse is an exceptional choice to consider. Let’s delve deeper into what Leadshouse brings to the table.

Why Opt for Leadshouse as Your BSP

Leadshouse serves as a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) and customer conversation management software. It enables you to integrate WhatsApp with an omnichannel inbox, effectively manage your WhatsApp Business accounts, and utilize WhatsApp with teams of users. Unlike many BSPs, Leadshouse offers complimentary access to WhatsApp Cloud API and refrains from imposing any markup on WhatsApp charges. This eliminates the need to obtain API access and messaging software from separate providers.

Advantages of Leadshouse as a BSP

Unlike many BSPs, Leadshouse provides free access to WhatsApp Cloud API and does not levy any markups on WhatsApp charges. Since it includes a messaging software, there’s no need to seek API access and messaging software from distinct sources.

Next, we’ll outline the two available avenues for obtaining the WhatsApp Cloud API.

Acquiring WhatsApp Cloud API

Businesses have two options for gaining access to WhatsApp Cloud API: Self-service or through a BSP like Leadshouse.

It’s worth noting that setting up WhatsApp Cloud API on your own demands technical expertise. It involves a meticulous process that can be daunting for businesses lacking sufficient technical resources but eager to engage with customers promptly.

Thankfully, Leadshouse streamlines the process, enabling you to obtain WhatsApp Cloud API access in just a few clicks. Let’s explore the process of obtaining WhatsApp Cloud API on your own using Meta for Developers and through Leadshouse.

Acquiring WhatsApp Cloud API: Self Service

To obtain WhatsApp Cloud API directly from Meta, you must configure it through your Facebook Developer Account. Follow the steps outlined below, or consult a WhatsApp Cloud API tutorial video.

1. Set up Your Facebook Developer Account

Sign up or log in to the Facebook for Developers account and click on Create App.

2. Select Business as your app type

Select Business as your app type.

3. Provide basic information about your business

If you don’t have a Business Manager account, you may leave it unselected. Click Create app. You will be directed to your Meta dashboard.

4. Scroll down until you see WhatsApp and click Set up

On your Meta dashboard, look for WhatsApp and click Set up.

5. Click Continue to accept WhatsApp Cloud API’s terms and conditions.

If you left your Business Manager account unselected in step 3, you may leave your Business Account unselected here and Facebook will automatically create a business account later.

6. Send a message with the test number generated by WhatsApp to your personal or business WhatsApp number to test if your integration is a success.

This step is optional. You can skip this and add your own phone number to your WhatsApp Cloud API Account.

Connect Your Phone Number

1. Click Add Phone Number to connect a phone number to your WhatsApp Cloud API account.

Connect a phone number to your WhatsApp Cloud API account.

2. Fill in your business information and click Next

Fill in your business information and click Next

3. Fill in your WhatsApp business profile information and click Next.

Fill in your WhatsApp business profile information and click Next

4. Add a phone number for your WhatsApp Cloud API

Add a phone number for your WhatsApp Cloud API

5. Verify the phone number you’ve added. A 6-digit verification code will be sent to the number. Enter the verification code once you receive it

Verify the phone number you’ve added

6. Look at the Send and receive messages section. The number you’ve added will be shown

The phone number connected to your WhatsApp Cloud API account

Your phone number is now linked to your WhatsApp Cloud API account! With WhatsApp Cloud API set up on your Facebook Developer Account, all that’s left to do is integrate it with a messaging inbox like Leadshouse for seamless message exchange.

Now that you’ve seen how to set up a WhatsApp Cloud API account in detail, let’s explore the simplified approach with Leadshouse.

WhatsApp Cloud API: Messaging Customers

Once you’ve connected WhatsApp Cloud API to Leadshouse, you will fall under the unverified business category, where a compliance check of your WhatsApp Business account will be automatically triggered and conducted in the background to ensure compliance with the WhatsApp Platform Policies. During this period businesses can:

  • Send business-initiated conversations (message template) to up to 250 unique contacts in a 24-hour rolling period.
  • Respond to unlimited conversations initiated by customers

If you have customers’ phone numbers and want to message them right away, you can import your contact lists to Leadshouse and send them message templates. Keep in mind that you must obtain user opt-ins before messaging them.

Meta WhatsApp API: WhatsApp Cloud API messaging limits

Once you’ve connected WhatsApp Cloud API to Leadshouse, you will be added to the Limited Access Tier where a compliance check against the WhatsApp Platform Policy will be auto-triggered and conducted in the background. In this tier, businesses can send business-initiated conversations (Template Messages) to up to 50 unique contacts in a 24-hour rolling period and respond to unlimited customer-initiated conversations.

To increase your messaging limits, you must verify your Facebook Business Manager. By doing so, you can send business-initiated messages to 1,000 unique contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.

Now that you know everything you need about WhatsApp Cloud API, you can start using your WhatsApp with a CRM integration or use WhatsApp for marketing, sales and support. Try Leadshouse WhatsApp Business API by visiting our website today!

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