How to Use WhatsApp for Your Business?

WhatsApp is Becoming More Important as a Communication Channel for Brands

WhatsApp is the most popular messenger app in the world with over 2 billion users. Numerous studies have shown that WhatsApp usage across the Middle East is very high among residents and citizens.

The most technology forward organizations are already differentiating their brands by using WhatsApp as a customer experience (CX) channel.

How Can You Use WhatsApp as a CX Channel for Your Business?

There are two WhatsApp products that you can use for your business:

  • WhatsApp Business App
  • WhatsApp Business Platform

WhatsApp Business App (sometimes called WhatsApp for Business) is a free app that is equivalent to the WhatsApp Messenger app you probably use for your personal conversations.

WhatsApp Business Platform (sometimes called WhatsApp Business API) is the enterprise solution offered by Meta (previously named Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp). This product allows you to use the WhatsApp API to provide more sophisticated CX solutions to your customers.

What is the Difference Between WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business Platform?

The table below summarizes the main differences between the two products.

 WhatsApp Business AppWhatsApp Business Platform
Target UserSmall business ownersLarger businesses (typically those that have full time customer support employees)
Primary GoalCommunicate with customers one-to-one via the appCommunicate with customers at scale
PricingFreeMore expensive and complicated
User AccessibilityOne user on one deviceMultiple users across unlimited devices
InterfaceApp and/or browserThird party software interface
IntegrationsNo integration with third party toolsAbility to integrate with third party tools/apps including CRMs, databases, chatbots, IVRs and other communications channels
Outbound MessagesCan send outbound messages with certain restrictions (e.g. only possible to send to 256 people at a time)Can send pre-approved outbound message templates

How Much Does It Cost to Use a WhatsApp Business Solution?

WhatsApp Business App pricing

If you opt for WhatsApp Business App, all you need to is download the free app, verify your business phone number and then set up your business profile.

WhatsApp Business Platform pricing

The pricing for WhatsApp Business Platform is more complicated. You will generally need to go through an official WhatsApp Business Solution Partner (BSP) to use Meta’s WhatsApp Business Platform.

The pricing from Meta to the official WhatsApp BSPs is very clear. Here’s how it works:

  • The WhatsApp API itself is free
  • Meta charges on a per conversation basis after the first 1,000 conversations every month (which are free)
  • A conversation is defined as all messages exchanged between your business and a customer in a 24-hour period from the first message initiated by either your business or the customer
  • Charges for conversations differ depending on whether they were user (customer) initiated or business-initiated and vary based on the user’s country code
  • The conversation charges by country that Meta offers BSPs can be found here
  • In the UAE, for example, the rate per conversation is $0.0316 for a business-initiated conversation and $0.0190 for a user-initiated conversation as of September 2022

Why is the Pricing from a WhatsApp Business Solution Partner (BSP) Different from Meta?

Since you will need to work through an official WhatsApp BSP to implement WhatsApp Business Platform, you may find that the BSP pricing does not match the pricing offered by Meta.

The reason is that BSPs add a margin on top of Meta’s pricing. Unfortunately, determining the margin is not always straightforward because BSPs can use different pricing mechanisms they offer to you, such as:

  • Monthly plan or fixed fee
  • Professional fees for set up
  • License fees per user
  • Charge per contact

Some BSPs will try to charge you for API access or the first 1,000 conversations per month even though these are free from Meta.

In addition to the confusing pricing, you should be mindful of what the BSP is actually offering. Some BSPs only offer the API and not software with which to use the API.

What Does Cupola Recommend for WhatsApp Implementation?

The good news is that there are 96 official WhatsApp Business Partners who provide the API as of September 2022. This is a significant increase from the year before. So there are many BSPs and the number of options is growing.

The increased choice means that you should look for BSPs who provide pricing transparency. You know how Meta charges the BSP, so you should understand what the BSP is charging back to you and whether this is competitive.

You should also ensure that all the features you are looking for are available from the BSP.

If the process and pricing seems confusing to you, we can always help guide you through all stages of your WhatsApp implementation.

Click below to contact us and find out how we can help.