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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 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 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


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.

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.


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 three options to choose from:

  • WhatsApp Business API ( WhatsApp BSP) - no coding required, does not incur subscription fees
  • WhatsApp Cloud API - requires basic coding ability
  • Using a WhatsApp Partner - no coding required, incurs subscription fees

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


Recommended for:

Pricing Model

Billing Cycle

Pay per message markups WhatsApp BSP


Per conversation



Meta WhatsApp Cloud API

Tech savvy businesses

Per message



360dialog WhatsApp

Businesses that need a fast, no-code option

Per Month



Twilio WhatsApp

Businesses that already have a Twilio account

Per Message



MessageBird WhatsApp

Businesses that already have a MessageBird account

Message Bundle



Vonage WhatsApp

Businesses that already have a Vonage account

Active Users



WhatsApp Business API ( WhatsApp BSP)

For businesses who need a no-code option that’s quick to set up and has no per-message markup fees, WhatsApp Business API ( WhatsApp BSP) is the best choice.

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

360dialog WhatsApp

Twilio WhatsApp

MessageBird WhatsApp

Vonage WhatsApp

Unlike WhatsApp Business API ( WhatsApp BSP) and WhatsApp Cloud API, some of 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.

Starting 1st March 2023, Meta is extending the free conversation window from 24 hours to 72 hours for conversations where users message businesses using call-to-actions buttons on Ads that Click to WhatsApp. Learn more about the changes to free entry point conversations.

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


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


You can now receive stickers on the 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, 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.

Messaging Limits

WhatsApp Business Accounts have different limitations on the number of business-initiated messages that can be sent.

Unverified businesses are limited to 250 business-initiated conversations in a rolling 24-hour period.

Verified businesses with a business phone number that has an approved display name can initiate conversations with the following number of unique Contacts in a rolling 24-hour period:

  • 1K unique Contacts (Tier 1)
  • 10K unique Contacts (Tier 2)
  • 100K unique Contacts (Tier 3)
  • An unlimited number of unique Contacts (Tier 4)

Increasing your Message Limits

Increasing your messaging limit will upgrade you to a higher tier. To increase your messaging limits, you'll need to fulfill the following criteria:

  • your phone number status is Connected
  • your phone number quality rating is Medium or High and not Flagged
  • send 1/2 the number of messages of your current messaging limit within a 7-day period

If you meet all conditions, WhatsApp will increase your messaging limit by one tier in 24 hours. Learn more about messaging limits here.

WhatsApp API Tiers

Broadcast Capabilities

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.

How do I get my business name to be shown to my contacts on WhatsApp rather than my business number?

Standard WhatsApp Business API Accounts display the business number rather than the name. To display your business name to contacts even if they haven't added your business to their address book, you will need a WhatsApp Official Business Account.

Official Business Accounts have a green tick next to the business name, and usually only large, high-profile businesses will be given this status. Learn more about how to apply for an Official Business Account here.

What is WhatsApp Catalog and how can I use it?

WhatsApp Catalog is a feature that allows you to create a catalog of your products and share it with your customers. We have a feature request for this to be implemented in our platform. If you think this feature is valuable to you, you can upvote the feature request here.

Can a subsidiary company or an agency register WABA on behalf of another company?

Yes, they can. However, the Meta Business Account and business information used to register the WABA must belong to an entity that can be verified with the relevant legal documentation. You can learn more about Meta Business Verification here.

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