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 million 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 system? How are other companies using it? How is the pricing determined?
These are important questions.
Before diving in, it’s crucial 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 which 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 channeled 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 full. Two-factor authentication along with several other security features keep 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.
First your company must create 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:
- Facebook bought out WhatsApp and spent a breathtaking $19 billion on this acquisition - which meant they would need to monetize it somehow. WhatsApp Business API was the solution, but one that needed to be closely managed.
- WhatsApp uses their 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 channeled 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.
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 API Pricing
WhatsApp Business API pricing is determined by the Solution Provider that you choose. There is a lot to understand as to the various pricing options and how they are structured, and we recommend that once you have an overview of the system, you chat with us for more information.
WhatsApp charges your Solution Provider for the messages sent. They have a fixed pricing structure in place currently.
It’s worth pointing out at this stage that there are two types of messages for WhatsApp Business.
- A session message is a response to a customer communication on WhatsApp within 24 hours of receipt. Responses to these customer-generated messages are free to partners provided they fall within the 24-hour window.
- By contrast, template messages are initiated by the business to customers who have opted into receiving communications from that company. Or, they are responding to a session message after the 24-hour window. These always carry a fee.
WhatsApp has placed stringent controls on the format of templated messages and these need to be approved before they are sent out. From simple checks such as grammar and spelling to the URLs you choose to send, it’s well worth abiding by the rules. Should a user block you after receiving a message then your Template Message quality score will drop and your account will be flagged.
API Pricing Models
Again, your business and how you plan to use WhatsApp Business API will dictate your costs. Currently, there are three main pricing models available. These are:
- Price per message
- Message bundles
- Price per monthly active user (MAU)
We at CM.com have chosen to the MAU pricing model which we feel is viable for most businesses.
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, what's next? You will need to settle on which WhatsApp Solution Provider you want to work alongside you and ensure that your business is gaining the most out of this channel.