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Whatsapp is undeniably the most used app of all times. For businesses it was an inaccessible opportunity owing to the ad-free promise the app had made – until now. The newly launched Whatsapp Business API could very well change the landscape of marketing in the UAE as a business messaging channel. As of now, it is in limited public preview and so one needs to first understand how it works, how it can be relevant to a business, and how it can be turned into a fruitful advertising platform.
The Whatsapp API for Business is now allotted to very few companies. In the UAE alone, there are just a handful of businesses that have been granted access. To get access, businesses have to submit their brand for consideration on https://www.facebook.com/business/m/whatsapp/business-api
After access is granted, a Business Profile has to be created. Then a unique entry for your business with relevant information visible to customers that are communicating with you will be created by WhatsApp. This will allow people to easily identify your business by its category and find details such as location, website, working hours etc. The business profile will allow two-way communication with customers. It will also give message templates needed for sending notifications to users.
Now, a user must first agree to receive messages in WhatsApp by opting into them via a third-party channel. It could be any communication channel your business uses – website, app, email, SMS, location etc.
Apart from this, there are various manual checks that have been implemented to ensure that any message sent by the business is spam-proof and relevant.
WhatsApplets replace all forms of communication being conducted over SMS, with added features such as rich media, attachments, integration with third-party systems and more.
There are a range of internal uses to be explored by businesses for internal usage, as Whatsapp also enables access to group chats. According to the complete API reference, one can do the following:
From what it looks like, Whatsapp API for Business promises to deliver a spam free environment for people interacting with businesses. It lets customers choose what type of promotional info they want to receive. It would be really interesting to see how businesses in big cities like Dubai are going to use it to tap in on the popularity of the messaging platform.
To know how Whatsapp API for Business can prove useful for companies in the UAE, head to Part 2 of this article – 7 benefits of using Whatsapp API for Business. If you have already read Part 2, head to Part 3 – The Implementation.
Whatsapp API for business has been clearly designed to help customers get only the information they are seeking and that too with their consent. So how does a platform that gives customers the power to choose what they see, benefit businesses? Here’s a list of what could work in favour of companies seeking to reach out to their audience through Whatsapp.
With all these benefits, the platform clearly opens up a sea of opportunities for brands. However, with no HTML extensions, complex features such as billing and user sign-in are not possible. The lack of UI components will also prove as limitations for product listings and call-to-actions. Further, the cost of sending a Whatsapp message template is higher than that of an SMS.
However, the platform is still in its nascent stage and in the days to come, one can (hopefully) expect more changes and additions while still keeping its spam-free promise intact. The fact that Whatsapp is the most popular app out there is reason enough to overlook any limitations the platform currently has.
What are your thoughts on using the platform to reach out to more potential customers? Let us know in the comments.
If you are a Dubai, UAE company looking to make the most of Whatsapp API for Business, and want to know how to get on to the platform for on-boarding and implementation, read Part 3.
Now that we know what Whatsapp API for Business is and the benefits businesses can reap from it, let us take a look at how one can get on to the platform and smoothly transition to business and technical implementation.
Here is an overview of the end-to-end process.
Setting up WhatsApp Manager within Business Manager and managing WhatsApp paid notifications
Read on to know more about how to get started. The following guide is a must read before performing an installation.
Whatsapp Business API Guide
Getting Started — Quick outline of how to get started and next steps
Network Requirements — Network requirements necessary for the WhatsApp Business API client to connect to WhatsApp servers
Phone Number — Verify and register your business’s phone number
Display Name — Display your business’s name when talking to your customers
Volumes — Securely store WhatsApp data while using Docker
HTTPS Setup — Set up and use HTTPS endpoints
MySQL – Environment variables Coreapp and Webapp can use to connect to the MySQL database
Users endpoint — Create, manage, and use access tokens and user accounts for added security
Backup and Restore Settings — How to backup and restore your WhatsApp Business API client
Deploying WhatsApp on AWS — Create an Amazon Web Services cloud to run the WhatsApp Business API client
Rate Limits — WhatsApp Business API endpoint rate limits scenarios
Understanding How to Get Opt-in for WhatsApp — How to present your users with opt-in for messaging
WhatsApp Web Business Tool — Using the graphic user interface to access some of the WhatsApp Business API client’s settings and features
Postman Collection — Import our WAE Developer Collection into Postman to quickly test the WhatsApp Business API
Tips and Tricks — WhatsApp Business API Client tips and tricks
Message Templates are message formats for common reusable messages a business may want to send. Businesses must use Message Templates for sending notifications to customers.
This allows a business to send just the template identifier along with the appropriate parameters instead of the full message content.
Follow the below links to learn more about message templates: