Table of Contents

WhatsApp Overview

JQ Lee Updated by JQ Lee

WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging and VOIP service owned by Meta. As of June 2022, WhatsApp has over 2.6 billion active users in over 180 countries and territories.

WhatsApp offers two types of accounts for businesses - WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp API. To connect respond.io to WhatsApp, you’ll need a WhatsApp API account. For businesses with more than five agents handling customers over WhatsApp, WhatsApp API has significant advantages.

While the Business App only allows one phone plus four additional connected devices using the same phone number, WhatsApp API allows teams to connect on as many devices as they need using a central inbox.

A WhatsApp API account connected to respond.io streamlines routing conversations to sales or support teams and enhances teams’ capacity to resolve tickets, close deals and more.

WhatsApp Logo

WhatsApp API Channels: Getting An Account

Requirements

WhatsApp Phone Number

To get a WhatsApp API Account, you will need a phone number that can receive voice calls or SMS and has not been registered with WhatsApp API before.

You can upgrade a WhatsApp Business App number to WhatsApp API, but you cannot downgrade it from WhatsApp API to WhatsApp Business App.

You cannot migrate your phone number to a different API account. Choose your account provider carefully if you want to keep your phone number.

WhatsApp Commerce Policy

Ensure that the nature of your business and the products that you sell comply with WhatsApp Commerce Policy.

WhatsApp Business Policy

It’s important to be aware of WhatsApp Business Policy and follow these messaging best practices to avoid getting flagged.

Limitations

WhatsApp Groups

Group Messages are not supported by WhatsApp Business API. Facebook has deprecated the development of this feature.

Voice Calls

WhatsApp calls are not supported by WhatsApp Business API.

Choosing a WhatsApp API Channel

There are two methods to connect to WhatsApp API:

  • WhatsApp Cloud API - requires basic coding ability
  • Using a WhatsApp Partner - no coding required, incurs subscription fees

Once your WhatsApp API account is set up, you may connect it to the respond.io platform and manage WhatsApp messages just like any other channel.

Here’s a comparison of the WhatsApp API Channels respond.io supports on the platform.

Provider

Recommended for:

Pricing Model

Billing Cycle

Pay per message markups

Meta WhatsApp Cloud API

Tech savvy businesses

Per Message

Monthly

No

360dialog WhatsApp

Businesses who need a fast, no-code option

Per Month

Monthly

No

Twilio WhatsApp

Businesses who already have a Twilio account

Per Message

Monthly

Yes

MessageBird WhatsApp

Businesses who already have a MessageBird account

Message Bundle

Annually

Yes

Vonage WhatsApp

Businesses who already have a Vonage account

Active Users

Enterprise

Yes

Meta WhatsApp Cloud API

We recommend this for businesses that have basic coding capabilities as this is the fastest and most affordable method. It follows the standard WhatsApp pricing model with no subscription fees or per-message markup costs that 3rd-party providers charge. To create and use a WhatsApp Cloud API account, you'll first need to create your own Facebook App.

360dialog WhatsApp API

For businesses who need a no-code option that’s quick to set up and has no per-message markup fees, 360dialog is the best choice. It’s the most affordable WhatsApp provider, only charging a monthly fee in addition to the standard WhatsApp costs.

Get started with 360dialog WhatsApp here.

Respond.io also supports the following providers if you have an account with them and wish to keep your phone number.

Twilio WhatsApp

MessageBird WhatsApp

Vonage WhatsApp

Unlike WhatsApp Cloud API and 360dialog, these providers charge per-message markup fees in addition to subscription fees and the standard WhatsApp charges.

Starting Conversations Over WhatsApp

Businesses are not searchable on WhatsApp, so it’s not possible for customers find and message you that way. However, there are several ways to start having conversations over WhatsApp.

Contact Import

Businesses are required to use Template Messages to send the first message. You can import contacts from your CRM or other contact lists and send them a WhatsApp Template message.

Learn how to import contacts here.

To generate a chat link on WhatsApp, go to Growth Widgets > QR Code > Create Widget > select your WhatsApp API channel from the dropdown.

Fill in the pre-filled text if desired. The pre-filled text is used to easily guide the conversation with the Contact; a message will be automatically sent to you when they click the link or scan the code.

screenshot of where to get a QR code from Growth Widgets

Download the QR code or copy the chat link.

Learn more about using chat links and QR codes here.

Click-to-Chat Ads

Click-to-chat ads are done through Facebook advertising. Clicking on the ad on Facebook or Instagram will take the user directly to a business’s WhatsApp account. You will need to use a chat link to set up these ads.

Understanding Messaging on WhatsApp

Messages on WhatsApp are separated into user-initiated and business-initiated messages and are charged according to WhatsApp Conversation-Based pricing.

WhatsApp API providers may impose additional message limits and charges for business-initiated messages.

After a business receives a user-initiated message, a 24-hour messaging window begins. Within this time period, you are allowed to reply to customers with any supported content. Messages sent after 24 hours are considered business initiated.

Supported Content for User-initiated Messages

Text

This includes standard text messages that can be formatted with italics, bold and strikethrough and includes emojis.

Stickers

Stickers are not supported on the respond.io platform.

Media Messages

These include files, images and videos. Limitations on file size vary depending on the WhatsApp partner. See the file sizes each partner supports here.

WhatsApp Interactive Message
Due to the partner's limitations, WhatsApp Interactive Message is not supported by Twilio.

In respond.io, WhatsApp Interactive Message is used when sending a multiple choice question from a Workflow or broadcast or quick replies using Dialogflow.

When the question or message has fewer or equal to 3 options, WhatsApp Quick Replies will be used to display the options.

WhatsApp Quick Replies Button

Otherwise, WhatsApp List Messages will be used to display the options not exceeding the maximum limit of 10.

WhatsApp List Messages Button
WhatsApp List Messages Expanded List Sample

Supported Content for Business-initiated Messages (Template Messages)

Business-initiated messages are limited to pre-approved Template Messages.

Template messages must fall under one of the three supported categories: Marketing, One-time passwords or Transactional.

They can include the following:

Message Template

This includes standard text messages that can be formatted with italics, bold and strikethrough and includes emojis.

Media Message Template

These include files, images and videos. Limitations on file size vary depending on the WhatsApp partner. See the file sizes each partner supports here.

Interactive Message Template

These are formatted as buttons when setting up the template. These include Quick Replies, used to respond to a multiple choice question, and Call-to-Action, to direct customers to your website or to call you.

Media Message Templates and Interactive Message Templates are not supported for Twilio and MessageBird WhatsApp.

Message Tiers

WhatsApp Business Accounts have different limitations on the number of business-initiated messages that can be sent. The lowest tier is the unverified tier, which means that a business has not been verified by Meta. The unverified tier is limited to 50 business-initiated messages in a rolling 24-hour period.

Once a business is verified, it is upgraded to Tier 1. Tiers are upgraded or downgraded based on activity and reputation.

Upgrading to a Higher Tier

Be aware of WhatsApp content restrictions and avoid sending your Contacts irrelevant or spammy messages. Frequently being blocked by contacts could cause your phone number to be flagged.

Businesses whose phone number's status is not Flagged can upgrade to the next Tier by sending two times the number of messages of the current limit within a 7-day period.

timeline of how to upgrade WhatsApp tier

Broadcast Capabilities

Tip: Learn more about how to send a broadcast here.

Due to the 24-hour messaging window, only approved Template Messages are allowed for broadcasts.

The number of messages businesses are allowed to send are limited according to message tier.

FAQ and Troubleshooting

Why was my WhatsApp display name rejected?

To get your display name approved, a best practice is to use the name of your brand or business. You should also ensure that your display name follows these guidelines by Meta.

Having trouble with the channel? Contact us here!

IS THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL?

We love to hear from you!

WhatsApp Cloud API Quick Start

Can't find what you're looking for?

Talk to an expert here!

Contact Us
Powered by HelpDocs (opens in a new tab)

Powered by HelpDocs (opens in a new tab)