Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has introduced a cloud-based API service to give businesses a way to quickly adopt WhatsApp and use it as another way to communicate with customers.
“The best business experiences meet people where they are already. More than one billion users connect to the business account across our messaging services every week,” Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during the company’s Conversations conference.
“They’re reaching out for help to find products and services and to buy anything from big ticket items to everyday goods. And today … we are opening WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with WhatsApp Cloud API.”
Zuckerberg explained that, through the cloud-based platform, any business or developer will be able to build a custom dashboard on top of the WhatsApp software to “customise their experience and speed up their response time to customers”.
The dashboard will also give businesses a glimpse of their WhatsApp accounts, current account limits, recent product news, and access to four main account tools — insights, messages, templates, phone numbers, and product catalogue.
Using Cloud API is free for the first 1,000 messages per month, which can either be business- or user-initiated. Following this, businesses can opt to scale up and roll out more broadly through paid tiers, with charges based on how many conversations are had with customers per day. The cost ranges from a cent to nearly 20 cents, depending on if the conversations are business or user-initiated and in which market.
The company has been building out its business offering since 2017 when it began piloting a dedicated chat app for businesses. The launch of WhatsApp Business for Android followed about six months later.