With the launch of the WhatsApp Business Solution, companies are eager to get on board with this simple and incredibly efficient communication platform. And why not? With over 2 billion active users and an estimated 100 billion messages sent every day, the reasons are pretty clear.
What isn’t clear though, is the matter of WhatsApp Business pricing.
Is it worth adding this channel to your existing CRM or marketing systems? How are other companies using it? How is the pricing determined?
Important questions, indeed.
Before we dive in though, it’s important to note that there are two options available here: the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business API. These offer different functionalities and pricing so you’ll need to know what is best for your business before jumping on board.
WhatsApp Business App
The WhatsApp Business App is ideal for smaller businesses where there is a single point of contact between customers and the business. This option is available on a single device for one user. WhatsApp Business is free to download and is a brilliant communication channel for connecting personally with your audience.
The WhatsApp Business API
The moment you require the functionality of WhatsApp on a second or third device, and you need to include other team members in the conversation, you will be channelled to the WhatsApp Business API option.
This becomes a paid tool but opens the door to some incredible benefits.
- A verified WhatsApp Business account cements communication between your brand and your customers by offering a secure, intimate, and immediate platform.
- Your customers are already using WhatsApp anyway, which means you are connecting with them where they are.
- WhatsApp opens up global communication with zero effort on your part.
- Apart from using automated and templated messages, your team has the opportunity to engage on a one-on-one basis with your customers. Many of todaý’s digital users prefer to chat or message as opposed to picking up the phone.
- Secure communication is a big deal, and WhatsApp has that in spades. Two-factor authentication along with several other security features keeps both parties safe.
Setting up a WhatsApp Business API
Not all businesses will qualify for the WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp has put in place several checks and balances to ensure that this system is used to the best effect, and within the parameters that it has set out.
The very first step in setting up your account lies within Facebook. As we know, Facebook and WhatsApp enjoy close ties and they rely on each other to offer the services that you need for this awesome communication channel to work.
If you’re right at the beginning of your journey then you can catch up with us with one of our recent articles on creating a Facebook Business page. Once you’re ready to go, then you’ll need to get in touch with a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider to get you on the path to success.
What is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider?
A WhatsApp Business Solution Provider is a middleman between all the companies that want to get on board with the WhatsApp Business Solution, and the limited number of moderators and account managers that WhatsApp must manage this phenomenal amount of activity.
The purpose of WhatsApp Business Solution Providers is threefold:
- When Facebook bought out WhatsApp, they offered the assurance that this platform would never be used for advertising. Having spent a breathtaking $19 billion on this acquisition, it stands to reason that they would need to monetise it somehow. WhatsApp Business API was the solution, but one that needed to be closely managed.
- WhatsApp uses its solution providers to do a lot of the leg work for them. The time and effort required for vetting companies that want to use the API, as well as the support needed for untrained users are now channelled through these partners.
- With well over 2 billion users, WhatsApp is the perfect platform for spammers. However, if this happens then users will simply abandon the app and find something else - and there’s no shortage of messaging apps out there waiting to scoop up the disenchanted. Therefore, a controlled entry into the system with a level of accountability is a sensible decision.
Choosing a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider requires that you do a little homework. Once you’ve been set up on the API, you will be working through the partner’s platform and not directly on WhatsApp. So before making your decision, chat with your preferred partner to ensure that they can do what you need them to do.
WhatsApp Business Platform Pricing
Before diving into pricing models, it's important to know how WhatsApp Business operates.
There are two types of messages allowed on WhatsApp Business: Session Messages initiated by your customers and Template Messages initiated by the business.
A messaging session starts when your customer sends a message to your business, allowing you to reply to messages within a 24-hour Customer Care Window. This window extends when customers keep interacting. Within the session, you can personalise and/or automate your customer service.
Once the Session Messaging window closes, you will be able to send (WhatsApp pre-approved) Message Templates (such as notifications) to reach out to customers that present an active opt-in. This also means that you can initiate a conversation with those Message Templates.
This setup allows you to create a rich conversational experience that customers want. You are able to have a conversation when your customers want it, increasing your chances of conversions.
Pricing Model until 1st of February, 2022
Up until February 1st, the WhatsApp Business pricing model was based on the number of Message Templates sent outside of the above-mentioned 24-hour Customer Care Window. So, every time you sent a Templated Message (to initiate a conversation), WhatsApp was invoicing a fee for it.
This means that if your customer initiated messaging with you, WhatsApp did not charge for those messages (including Templated Messages) up to 24 hours following the last message that that customer sent to you. Any additional message you sent to that customer beyond the Customer Care Window had to be a Templated Message, for which you were charged.
But this is now changing to a conversation-based fee.
New Pricing Model from 1st of February, 2022
From February 1st, WhatsApp is introducing a new pricing model that is conversation-based. This means a fee will be charged per conversation, rather than per (Templated) message sent. The new fees depend on who initiates the conversation: the business or the customer.
So what exactly is considered a 'conversation' in the new pricing model? And how does it work?
24-Hour Conversation Fee
WhatsApp defines a conversation as a fixed 24-hour session that includes all messages delivered to your customer. You will be charged once per each 24-hour conversation, without additional charges for any additional messages from you or your customer.
The 24-hour conversation window begins when:
- You send a (Templated) message and the message is delivered to your customer, regardless of whether your customer replies or not. This is a "business-initiated" conversation.
- Your customer sends you a message that is delivered to you, and you reply with a message that is also delivered back to your customer. This is a "user-initiated" conversation.
Do you keep the conversation going after this 24-hour window session? Then a new 24-hour conversation window will be counted and charged. Consecutive conversations will be charged as user-initiated whenever the business is still sending messages within the rolling 24-hour customer service window. Once the customer service window closes, the business would need to use a template message to continue conversations with the customer and would be charged for a business-initiated conversation.
Please note that the 24-hour conversation session only starts when a message is delivered. Non-delivered messages will not count as the start of a conversation and you will not be charged for them.
The cost of the 24-hour conversation varies by country or region. You can check WhatsApp's pricing overview to see what rates will be used for your business.
The new conversation-based pricing model even comes with some nice benefits! Read the blog to discover them all.
WhatsApp Business Platform Pricing Models with CM.com
Again, your business and how you plan to use WhatsApp Business Platform will dictate your costs. Our Conversational Channel Pricing Bundles will not change. Currently, there are four main pricing models available. These are:
- Monthly Active Users
- Conversations Bundles
- Messages Bundles
- Pay as you go - which is also based on the three bundles above.
Some Solution Providers charge implementation fees and some prefer to cover their costs in other ways. Just be sure that you’re comparing like for like when you’re doing your research.
So, you know that the WhatsApp Business Solution is going to work for you, but you’re not sure how? Take a moment to scan through some case studies to see how other businesses are making use of this clever tool or download the WhatsApp Business API Guide for a detailed look into the WhatsApp Business Solution.
We know that WhatsApp Business is fast becoming a differentiator in business and it stands to reason that we want to stay ahead of the curve. You will need a WhatsApp Solution Provider to work alongside you and ensure that your business is gaining the most out of this fascinating channel.
Therefore, we encourage you to chat with us and ask all those nagging questions to best understand the complex subject of WhatsApp Business API pricing.