Meta announced the launch of WhatsApp Cloud API through which businesses all over the world can communicate with customers. They can also customize their WhatsApp experience based on the needs of the business.
Until now, businesses depended on BSPs (Business Service Providers) to get access to WhatsApp Business API. For a small business, going through a BSP was turning out to be time-consuming and resource-consuming.
With Meta’s WhatsApp Cloud API, a business can completely skip BSPs and get a WhatsApp Cloud API to account directly from Facebook for free. It proves to be a very economical and resourceful tool for engagement and conversations.
How WhatsApp Cloud API Pricing Works
Getting a WhatsApp Cloud API account is free of cost. There is no cost to be borne for hosting the API either. The only pricing a business has to pay is for communication.
Earlier, if a business went through a BSP, the business would have to pay a fee for every extra additional message. That is not the case anymore. The pricing for communication is based on the number of conversations per 24 hours and not on the number of notifications or messages delivered.
Under the new Conversation-based pricing, there are 2 different categories.
1. User-initiated Conversations - As the name suggests, these are conversations that start on the user’s/customer’s side. Such messages are usually customer-care related or inquiries. A business is charged only when it replies and takes the conversation forward within 24 hours. The 24-hour session window starts when a business replies to the query of a customer. The business can respond in this 24-hour session window with any free-form message (without any approval required). If the business fails to respond within this 24-hour session window, the business will have to start the conversation with a pre-approved template message. It will also no longer be priced as a use-initiated conversation.
2. Business-Initiated Conversations - As the name suggests, these are conversations that a business starts outside the aforementioned 24-hour window. These are usually post-purchase notifications. The messages cannot be free-form. Businesses can only use a pre-approved template to start a conversation.
Regardless of whether the conversation is user-initiated or business-initiated, it is measured in 24-hour windows. The start of a conversation is considered when the first message is sent, either from the user or the business. There is no price or restriction on the number of messages exchanged between the user and the business. It could be 3 or 30, the price remains the same.
Once the conversation begins, there is also no restriction to the type of messages, i.e. free-form and template.
The charge for pricing does depend, however, on the user’s/customer’s country code.
Difference between WhatsApp Cloud API and Business API
The functions and the ultimate goal of both WhatsApp Cloud API and Business API are the same. However, the features and the process is what makes both of them unique.
ACCESS: WhatsApp Business API is partnered with Ba usiness server partner (BSP). Anyone who wants to make a WhatsApp business API account or needs to implement any action from the account has to gain access from BSP and only after BSP’s allow one can execute it.
Unlike WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp Cloud API has no intermediary platforms and can easily and directly gain access from the Meta server.
PRICING: Another significant difference between them is that through Business API, one has to pay for the services of the BSP, for every Business initiated message and all replies to customers after a 24-hour window. WhatsApp Cloud API charges only for the conversations after the first 1000 messages every month.
In WhatsApp Business API, BSPs have to manually maintain and update the server, which is often time-consuming. While on the other hand, WhatsApp cloud API is maintained by the Meta server freely and updates are done automatically.
CHARGE: Charges for every conversation vary depending on the location of the Business and the customer. Also, charges for business-initiated and user-initiated WhatsApp and WhatsApp Cloud API are different. Below is the cost of conversation for WhatsApp cloud API.
APPROVAL: WhatsApp Cloud API provides access to open an account within 10 minutes whereas registering and approval from WhatsApp Business API Busines because of intermediary server BSP.
CAPACITY: WhatsApp cloud API has a higher capacity compared to WhatsApp business API. Through WhatsApp cloud API one can send and receive 250 messages per second. The message could be a text or media. But from WhatsApp business API one can send and receive 70 messages per second.
INTEGRATION: WhatsApp Cloud API enables integration with third third-participations such as CRM or analytics which helps in analyzing data and finding useful information or insights required for business. Unfortunately, this feature is not available in WhatsApp business API.
Free Tier Conversation
WhatsApp has announced a new pricing plan for its cloud API that will be based on the number of conversations. This means that users will not have to pay for each API message, but instead, they will be charged based on the number of conversations that they have with their customers.
WhatsApp Cloud API is cost-effective, and this feature proves it. As mentioned earlier, WhatsApp Cloud API does not have any intermediary platforms. Therefore, one does not need to pay any charges like for BSP in WhatsApp business API.
WhatsApp cloud API follows a conversation-based pricing strategy, and this is one of the best benefits for businesses, i.e, any business with an account of WhatsApp Cloud API has to pay for only conversations with users or customers. With this amazing feature, WhatsApp cloud API lets businesses have the first 1000 messages for free every month. Hence, one has to pay for a conversation only after one exhausts those free 1000 messages. Each WhatsApp business account will receive 1000 free messages that can be either business-initiated or user-initiated. If one WhatsApp business account has multiple phone numbers, then each of the numbers will get 1000 free messages. This way your business can build experiences your customers will love before having to pay to create effective relationships with customers.
The free tier is refreshed monthly based on the timezone associated with the WhatsApp business account. For example, if I registered my WhatsApp business account on the 25th of October then on the 25th of November, I will receive 1000 free messages. Similarly, the next cycle starts on the 25th of December, and the same cycle repeats. Businesses should not be paying too much for WhatsApp, and this is a good thing.
This is a good development for businesses that are on tight budgets, as well as for businesses looking to send lower-cost marketing messages and build a relationship with customers. Building relationships with customers is important for a business for customer retention.
Free Entry Points Conversations
Another amazing yet cost-effective feature of WhatsApp Cloud API is free entry points conversation. These conversations are user-initiated through advertisements and Facebook pages.
Advertisements are the most effective marketing strategy for customer acquisition and retention as they act as an entry point to start a conversation with customers. Whenever a customer sees an interesting or eye-catching advertisement, they text the business number for the details and from here on, the business can build relationships with the customer by regularly updating them with information such as deals, offers, sales, any upgrades regarding business, and many more.
Every advertisement has call-to-action buttons. These are the buttons that redirect the customer to do something specific such as open the website and much more. When a business adds a call to action button to WhatsApp it will help them to build customer relationships and understand them. WhatsApp cloud API allows business accounts to have one free conversation with the customer that comes through call-to-action buttons. Every conversation after the first conversation is charged based on conversation per price.
If a WhatsApp business account has multiple phone numbers associated with it, then every number can have one free conversation through call-to-action buttons from advertisements and Facebook pages, and the conversation after the first conversation will be charged based on conversation per price.
Only the first conversation through advertisement is free, but not the advertisement itself. For advertising your business product or service, a separate pricing policy is to be followed.
This applies to call-on-action buttons from Facebook pages as well. This means any conversation redirected through a Facebook page will also be free of cost and all the conversations after the first one will be charged based on conversation per price.
From now on, make sure to add call-to-action buttons on your advertisement to grow your business and avail this great feature on WhatsApp cloud API.
Conversation-Based Pricing For Support Teams
If a company wants to deliver a great experience to its customers, the Support Team needs to be able, efficient, and prompt. The response time and the level of support need to be of really good quality. WhatsApp Cloud API lets the Support Team be on its best foot at all times.
When a customer makes an inquiry, the support team needs to send out an immediate reply. Since they do not need to initiate conversations, the support team can make the utmost use of user-initiated conversations and resolve any queries or issues within the 24-hour window.
There may be issues that take more than 24 hours to resolve. In such cases, there will be an additional charge based on business-initiated conversations.
For example, let’s say a customer initiates a conversation and sends a message enquiring about the price and availability of a certain product. The 24-hour window starts the moment a member of the support team responds to the query. Once the response is given, the query is answered, and the conversation ends. This will be counted as 1 conversation. The number of messages exchanged does not count.
If a response was not given to the customer’s query, then the conversation has not been started, and the business will not be charged.
Note: The business will also be charged if there is an auto-reply from the business to an incoming spam message.
Conversation-based Pricing for Marketing Teams
Marketing is at the core of any business as it is responsible for bringing in new customers, retaining existing ones, and increasing sales. No business can survive without sales. The marketing team should also have precise knowledge about their customers and understand the customer's psychology to execute the right strategies and plans.
The marketing team can use WhatsApp Cloud API to send promotional messages to introduce a collection, advertise an upcoming sale, or simply send nudges that urge a customer to make a purchase. When th1e marketing team is sending messages, they should use a pre-approved message template. The template can be text-based, media-based, or even interactive. The turnaround time for getting a template approved is 2-3 days, so it is essential for the marketing team to get the templates approved a few days in advance. The templates also cannot be changed or updated once they are approved, so it is essential to take time and carefully craft the message. Personalized templates have a higher chance of getting approved.
Every message sent by the marketing team is a business-initiated conversation. It is expensive, but there is no additional cost for the messages that follow the first business-initiated message. If a business sends two messages in a 24-hour window, then it will be charged as one conversation.
Note: If a business spams, the account can be blocked by WhatsApp.
Region-based WhatsApp API Pricing
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The Cheapest WhatsApp API Pricing: Zithara
Meta has provided many cool features through WhatsApp Cloud API, but the only restriction is they did not provide any platform to access its features. But don’t worry, we are there for you to fill out the gap.
Zithara is a platform that can help you Build customer Engagement, E-commerce & Loyalty on WhatsApp.
We will help you Build and Automate your Entire Store on WhatsApp with a guarantee of over 80% open rate for your marketing outbounds and sell like never before.
The only Engagement Platform you will ever need is Zithara.
You can Enjoy powerful customer-facing technologies, like WhatsApp automation, to deliver a customer experience never seen before in the history of post-purchase engagement.
This is why your business should partner with Zithara to get the best out of WhatsApp Cloud API.
1. Our Open Rate is one of the best:
Zithara’s AI-Powered WhatsApp outbounds have a proven open rate upwards of 80%.
2. Safe & Secure:
We pay special attention to your security and ensure that your data is encrypted and secured, so it won't fall into the wrong hands.
3. Automated Flow:
The Whole Platform runs on an AI Powered Automation Engine requiring almost no human involvement making the process cost-effective, faster, and easier.
4. E-Commerce Engine:
Build an entire store with automated product catalogues order placement, and payment collection.
5. Automate out human inefficiencies:
We remove the burden of repetitive and redundant tasks from your staff, so they can focus on achieving your brand’s core objectives.
6. Consistent Engagement:
Stay in touch with your customers 24×7. Use WhatsApp Chat Automation to engage your customers when you’re unavailable. Chatbots can help you in giving instant replies to customers and save you time.
We can help you reduce response time by automating support messages by triggering appropriate AI-enabled auto replies for faster resolution and higher customer satisfaction.
Leverage automation and technology to grow without having to grow staff and save money. Gift your business the scalable infrastructure it needs to boost your bottom line and reach your objective faster.
So, if you are looking to use WhatsApp Cloud API directly with powerful WhatsApp marketing and consumer support features all in one platform, then Zithara is just what you need.
Transforming Conversations for Brands
Conversational marketing is important to engage with customers and personalize their experiences to gain valuable insights while providing value to customers.
Conversational marketing increases a customer’s satisfaction with the business. Businesses can make optimal use of conversational marketing to improve user satisfaction by delivering a consistent experience at each digital touchpoint. This can be easily achieved through WhatsApp Cloud API.
By having a WhatsApp Cloud UPI, the business can increase effective consumer engagement, confidence, and loyalty. It does so by allowing users to interact directly and on demand with your brand.
WhatsApp Cloud API can also get the best out of the marketing and support by allowing them to be efficient and prompt.
Such conversations, whether user-initiated or business-initiated, can be a game-changer for the brand as it puts the customer first. By talking to customers on such a human level, businesses can connect to customers like never before. These WhatsApp conversations can also give key insights into customer behaviour that a business can leverage to take its operations to new heights.
Want to know about API Pricing in India? Click here!
1. Is WhatsApp Cloud API free?
ANS: YES! Businesses will get instant approval WhatsApp cloud API for free. Pricing is based on conversations made.
2. How much does WhatsApp Cloud API cost?
ANS: The cost of WhatsApp cloud API depends on whether the conversation is user-initiated or business-initiated, and the user's country.
3. What is Cloud API on WhatsApp?
ANS: It is a version of Business API where you do not have to bear the cost of hosting your own servers.