With over 2 billion users, WhatsApp has completely changed the way we communicate with people every day. 

Meta provides an option for companies to leverage the platform for sales, marketing, and support purposes as well. And for this, they provide two categories of solutions, depending on the size and scale of the business:

  • WhatsApp Business App
  • WhatsApp Business Platform

While the former is free to use, the latter provides API and custom capabilities such as chatbots, multi-agent support, and more. WhatsApp Business APIs have an additional cost, and companies incur charges for user-initiated and business-initiated conversations. 

The pricing is scheduled to change from June 1, 2023, and in this article, we’ll take a look at WhatsApp Business API and its pricing, old and new. 

What is WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business API allows companies to send automated notifications, updates, and personalized messages, while providing customer support at scale. It helps small and medium-sized businesses improve their customer reach.

Companies can onboard multiple agents or configure bots to interact with customers. You can integrate WhatsApp with CRM or marketing automation solutions to streamline customer communications.

Customers can choose from these three API options: 

  • Cloud API uses cloud servers owned by Meta and helps avoid server costs
  • On-premise API requires you to have your own server
  • Management API lets companies manage settings and assets

Features of WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp API offers a few features that stand out in comparison to choosing the conventional business application, including:

  • CRM and other backend systems integration
  • Multi-agent support
  • Chatbot capabilities
  • Large-scale broadcasts 
  • Verified WhatsApp Business profile

How WhatsApp Business API works

Below is an overview of how WhatsApp Business API works.

  • WhatsApp Business profile. You need to have an existing WhatsApp Business profile to get started. With the Business Platform, you can have a “verified” badge next to your company name to credibility, enabling you to establish trust.
  • Scheduled replies. Create custom replies to save time while responding to redundant messages.
  • Set away messages. Let users know the hours your business will be available on WhatsApp with away messages.
  • Contact labels. Categorize and group your contacts using labels for easy access. 
  • Automated messaging. Create greeting messages to go out immediately when people reach out to you on WhatsApp.
  • Messaging metrics. Track how well your messages perform (sent, opened, delivery metrics) using statistics from WhatsApp. 
  • Deep messaging. Create more immersive conversation experiences with your customers. Use interactive buttons that users can click to go to a website or give a phone call.
  • Option messages. Provide multiple options for users to choose from for every message. It saves both parties time and prevents extensive use of a live agent to be present at all times. You can configure up to 3 options for every message. 
  • Live chatbots. Configure live chatbots for AI-enabled conversations. It helps customers get a quick resolution to their queries and saves time in assigning a live agent to conversations, unless required. 

WhatsApp Business API pricing: A detailed overview

WhatsApp Business API follows a conversation-based pricing model and is priced differently for user and company-initiated conversations. 

Here’s an overview of the two types of conversations: 

  • User-initiated conversations. User directly initiates a conversation with a company. If a company responds to the user within 24 hours, it’s counted as a user-initiated conversation. 
  • Business-initiated conversations. Business directly sends these messages to a user, without them initiating. 

Only entry-point conversations are free and not counted in the 24-hour messaging window. Companies and users can send and receive messages limitlessly, including template-based conversations, without additional charge. Every new session incurs a cost. Conversation costs vary and depend on the user’s geographical location.

Meta classifies conversations into two categories:

  • Tier conversations. The first 1,000 conversations monthly are free for all companies using a WhatsApp Business account. 
  • Entry-point conversations. User-initiated conversations through “Click-to-WhatsApp” ads don’t incur a charge as well. These last 72 hours and only users can initiate them. 

Under the existing pricing model, the cost per conversation is as follows:

  • North America: User-initiated conversations cost $0.0088, and business-initiated conversations cost $0.0147.
  • United Kingdom: User-initiated conversations cost $0.0388, and business-initiated conversations cost $0.0647.
  • India: User-initiated conversations cost $0.0040, and business-initiated conversations cost $0.0066. 
  • Germany: User-initiated conversations cost $0.0819, and business-initiated conversations cost $0.1365.

To learn more about the country-wise charges, you can head over to the official Meta documentation, and download the detailed country/region-wise document.  

WhatsApp Business API pricing change in June 2023

Under the new rules, companies will be billed per 24-hour conversation, with different rates for conversation categories. 

Business conversations will be split into three categories: utility, authentication, and marketing. On the other hand, user-initiated conversations will be called service conversations. 

Let’s take a look at each:

  • Utility: These are conversations started by companies for requests or updates regarding transactions or orders. 
  • Authentication: Authentication messages let companies authorize users with quick OTPs or even facilitate multi-factor login modes. It helps users easily verify their accounts or recover them if needed. 
  • Marketing: These messages involve marketing promotions, discounts, or offers that companies wish to convey to customers. 
  • Service: All conversations initiated by users are going to be bucketed into a common category, called “service conversations”. 

Charges are based on the conversation category. For example, if a utility conversation is going on, and a service conversation happens, the company will be billed for the latter. Multiple conversations of the same type don’t incur additional charges. 

In the new pricing model, the cost per conversation is as follows: 

  • North America: Marketing messages cost $0.0250, Utility messages cost $0.0150, Authentication messages cost $0.0135, and Service messages cost $0.0088.
  • United Kingdom: Marketing messages cost $0.0705, Utility messages cost $0.0398, Authentication messages cost $0.0358, and Service messages cost $0.0388.
  • India: Marketing messages cost $0.0099, Utility messages cost $0.0042, and Service messages cost $0.0040. The rate for Authentication messages is not yet finalized and is slated to be close to the Utility message rate. 
  • Germany: Marketing messages cost $0.1365, Utility messages cost $0.0853, Authentication messages cost $0.0768, and Service messages cost $0.0819.

To learn more about the country-wise charges, you can head to the official Meta documentation, and download the country/region-wise document.  

Is WhatsApp Business API the right solution for you?

The WhatsApp Business Platform comes with a horde of additional charges, conversation-based costs, and a limit to how many times you can message customers in a 24-hour window. Plus, it takes a lot of resources and time to set up. You need an API-independent solution that is easy to set up and use daily. 

Enter Cooby. Cooby is a simple, but powerful Chrome extension for WhatsApp Web that helps increase productivity and manage conversations better. It best for startups and SMEs who interact a lot with their customers on WhatsApp. It offers productivity-packed solution to achieve Inbox Zero, helping you have the maximum focus on critical customer chats.

Apart from Inbox Zero, and CRM integrations, users love Cooby for:

  • WhatsApp Reminders. Have an important conversation you want to get back, without losing sight of it? Cooby lets you set reminders to ensure they don’t slip when you must reply.
  • Notes: Take notes and attach them to the conversation of your choice. It lets you capture crucial information, have it in one place, and let others take over in your absence. 
  • Tabs: Group your conversation in multiple tabs, such as the default Unread, Closed, Needs Reply, or create your own. Companies receive hundreds of WhatsApp messages every day and grouping them is highly beneficial to avoid a cluttered inbox. 
  • Calendar: Need to set up a meeting with a prospect or customer? With Cooby, you don’t have to switch tabs. You can integrate Google Calendar and schedule meetings right from WhatsApp. 
  • Chat with non-contacts: No more saving phone numbers before being able to message them. Cooby lets you start a conversation regardless of whether the user is a contact or not. 

You can get started today, with a 7-day free trial

"Cooby created a massive impact on our business. Our teams became more efficient and effective in managing clients on WhatsApp."

Pascal Lammers
Head of Digitization, Mission Mittelstand GmbH

Acerca del autor

Sagar Joshi
Content Marketing Manager at Cooby

Sagar Joshi strongly believes that content marketing is a way of helping people. It motivates him to write well-researched content pieces on sales, marketing, and customer experience. In his free time, you can find him reading a book, learning a new language, or playing badminton.

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