A WhatsApp developer can support businesses with both straightforward and complex requirements, whether they need to write bespoke programming to facilitate entry point functions or build a simple API for a website interface. If you’re unfamiliar with APIs, they’re like the bridge that allows two programs to communicate and glue one set of code to another.
For business WhatsApp users, an API means they can offer direct WhatsApp customer services, such as delivery updates, live chats, automated order information, or on-demand support. Another option could be to develop your own communications app, but when it comes to how much it costs to develop an app like WhatsApp, the realistic budget is usually up to $50,000–so hiring an API developer is a far more affordable solution!
How to Integrate with WhatsApp Business Functions
WhatsApp announced in May 2022 that it was releasing free API services to try and encourage more businesses to use the app, but there are several ways to go about it. There are multiple variants, so much depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how you want to leverage WhatsApp to improve your customer experiences.
- WhatsApp for Businesses is best for smaller companies who can create a free profile. It’s limited but useful for sending quick responses or broadcasting announcements.
- WhatsApp API providers and developers provide customized support, which can adapt the app to provide financial services (such as accepting payments), customer care, or e-commerce applications.
- An API key is the third route, which integrates WhatsApp into your website, rather than running two concurrent messaging services, so you can access unlimited communication capacity.
If you’re interested in improving customer support, you’ll need a verified WhatsApp business account to start working with an API key.
What Services Does a WhatsApp API Developer Offer?
API developers can handle specific parts of the API registration process, design your integrated interface, or deal with the task from end to end–depending on whether you want to prioritize speed or budget. Businesses must create a Facebook Business Manager account and go through a verification system before they are authorized.
To become an authenticated WhatsApp API user, you need to apply for an authentication token and can register, customize and integrate the API settings in a few different ways. A professional API developer can steer you through the options but might use tools such as Docker Compose or create graphic user interfaces to access an API integration.
What Does the WhatsApp API Cost?
Once you have a live WhatsApp business API running on your website, you’ll need to monitor your usage. Business clients can reply to customers free of charge within twenty-four hours but are charged fixed fees after that.
Message prices depend on the notification volumes and vary depending on the location of the message recipient. In the U.S., the average API prices are as follows per message:
- Up to 250,000: $0.0085
- 250,000 to 750,000: $0.0083
- 750,000 to two million: $0.008
- Two to three million: $0.0073
There are also messaging limits to be aware of, with a maximum number of customers you can contact daily regardless of whether the chat is new or an ongoing conversation. New API users start as tier one customers and can contact 1,000 separate users within twenty-four hours. As they become more established, the maximums increase to 10,000 and up to 100,000 per day for tier three businesses.
One of the complications is that you cannot upgrade to the next tier if you have a low-quality score or haven’t passed a threshold average message volume within the previous week.
WhatsApp API Features
So, is it worth hiring an API developer to integrate the WhatsApp API into your business app or website? It depends on which features you will use and the available benefits.
Templates are a function where you can design reusable forms to send customer notifications, such as a welcome message or an order acknowledgment. Advanced features also include:
- Monitoring dashboards that send push notifications to help you track response speeds and performance
- Media management allows you to upload, delete, or back up different media files
- Webhooks to manage incoming messages and monitor message statuses for communications you’ve sent
The right API features, integration method, and account type will vary between businesses. If you’re determined to upgrade your messaging systems but aren’t sure which options are best for your company, we’d recommend speaking to an experienced API developer or WhatsApp specialist, such as those you’ll find on Guru, to point you in the right direction.