WhatsApp Boosts Revenue with Global Launch of Cloud API and Coming to Paid Tier for Business App – TechCrunch
WhatsApp continues its breakthrough in the business market with today’s news, it is launching the WhatsApp Cloud API to all businesses around the world. Introduced to beta testing last November, the new developer tool is a cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business API – WhatsApp’s first revenue-generating enterprise product – but hosted on the parent company’s infrastructure. Meta.
The company had developed its Business API platform over the past few years as one of the main ways the otherwise free messaging app would make money. Businesses pay WhatsApp per message, with rates that vary by region and number of messages sent. At the end of last year, tens of thousands of businesses were created on the non-cloud-based version of the Business API, including brands like Vodafone, Coppel, Sears Mexico, BMW, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Itau Brazil, iFood, Mandiri Bank and others. This on-premises version of the API is free.
The cloud-based version, however, aims to appeal to a small business market and reduces onboarding time from weeks to just minutes, the company said. It is also free.
Businesses integrate the API into their back-end systems, where WhatsApp communication is usually only part of their messaging and communication strategy. They may also wish to direct their communications to SMS, other messaging apps, email, etc. Typically, companies work with a solution provider like Zendeks or Twilio to facilitate these integrations. Providers during cloud API beta testing included Zendesk in the US, Take in Brazil, and MessageBird in the EU
Over Messaging Focused Meta Messaging “Conversations” Live Event Today, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the global public availability of the cloud-based platform, now called WhatsApp Cloud API.
“The best business experiences meet people where they are. Already more than a billion users log into a business account on our messaging services every week. They ask for help, find products and services, and buy anything from big-ticket items to everyday goods. And today, I’m thrilled to announce that we’re opening WhatsApp up to businesses of all sizes around the world with the WhatsApp Cloud API,” he said.
He said the company believes the new API will help businesses large and small connect with more people.
In addition to helping businesses and developers get set up faster than with the on-premises version, Meta says the Cloud API will help partners eliminate costly server expenses and help them provide customers with access quick to new features as soon as they arrive.
Some businesses may choose to forgo the API and use the dedicated WhatsApp Business app instead. Launched in 2018, the WhatsApp Business app is aimed at small businesses that want to establish an official presence on the WhatsApp service and connect with customers. It provides a set of features that would not be available to users of the free WhatsApp messaging app, such as support for automated quick replies, greetings, FAQs, away messages, statistics, etc
Today, Meta is also introducing powerful new features for its WhatsApp Business app that will be offered for a fee, such as the ability to manage chats on up to 10 devices. The company will also provide new customizable WhatsApp chat links that will help businesses attract customers through their online presence, including of course Meta’s other apps such as Facebook and Instagram.
These will be part of an upcoming Premium service for WhatsApp Business app users. Further details, including pricing, will be announced at a later date.