Everything you need to know about the WhatsApp Cloud API

  • Marco Endrich
  • 3/21/2024
  • 6 min reading time
WhatsApp Cloud API: Alles, was Sie darüber wissen müssen

In May, Meta launched the WhatsApp Cloud API. Unlike the WhatsApp Business API introduced in 2018, the Cloud API is hosted by WhatsApp itself, rather than a few official partners, and is open to all businesses. In November 2023, the Cloud API will become the official standard and will gradually replace the on-premises API. From January 2024, WhatsApp will stop releasing updates to its legacy Business API and will shut it down completely in October 2025.

In this blog post, you will learn:

  • What the WhatsApp Cloud API is.
  • What the Cloud API costs.
  • How the Cloud API affects Business API users.
  • How the WhatsApp Cloud API differs from the previous solution.

What is the WhatsApp Cloud API?

Until the release of the Cloud API in 2022, most businesses didn't have direct access to the WhatsApp API. The WhatsApp Business API, which launched in 2018, was hosted by select partners rather than WhatsApp itself. Businesses either had to apply to host their own WhatsApp Business API, or gain access through an official partner.

The WhatsApp Cloud API allows any business to send and receive messages using the public, cloud-hosted version of the WhatsApp Business API.

The Cloud API is designed to make integration easier and faster for businesses. Specifically, it means that the WhatsApp API no longer needs to be implemented on a company's own servers in order to be used.

This expands WhatsApp's business model and makes the service even more attractive to businesses by allowing any company to connect their tools directly to the WhatsApp API.

💡 What is an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) connects different software applications by acting as a programming interface that facilitates the transfer of data between systems. This allows different applications to communicate with each other quickly and easily.

How much does the WhatsApp Cloud API cost?

Access to the WhatsApp Cloud API is free of charge. Businesses or developers simply need to set up a Meta Developer Account and create a Meta App, an application built on top of the API.

However, WhatsApp charges businesses for using the API to send messages. The cost is usage-based and depends on the number of conversations. WhatsApp divides each conversation into two groups and four categories. The price of each conversation depends on the category.

Business-initiated conversations: These are conversations where a business initiates contact with a user. These business-initiated conversations require a message template.

User-initiated conversations: These are conversations where a user sends a message to a company. If a business responds to that message within a 24-hour window, it's counted as a business-initiated conversation.

The table shows an example of UK prices in GBP (March 2024):

CategoryDescriptionTypePrice per conversation
UtilityConversation with important information about customer accounts, transactions, orders or other updates after purchase completion.Business-initiated£ 0.0287
AuthenticationConversation with one-time passwords or verification codes to access a customer account.Business-initiated0,0636 €
MarketingConversation with promotional offers or product announcements.Business-initiated£ 0.0259
ServiceConversation started by your customers.User-initiated£ 0.028
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For more information on pricing and the total cost of using WhatsApp Business, you may also be interested in 👉 WhatsApp Business Pricing.

How does the Cloud API affect WhatsApp Business users?

If you are already using WhatsApp Business through the Business API, you can continue to use the Business API until October 2025. If you are using the Business API through a service provider such as Superchat, you do not need to take any action at this time, but you will be notified if you need to take any action when your provider replaces the legacy API with the WhatsApp API.

If you have integrated the WhatsApp Business API from one of Meta's official business partners directly into your tools, you will need to switch your integrations to the WhatsApp Cloud API by October 2025, unless Meta decides to extend the deadline.

Are users of the WhatsApp Business app affected?

Users of the WhatsApp Business app do not need to take any action. WhatsApp is a standalone application that is not connected to WhatsApp Business. If you are considering switching to an API-based application to use the advanced features of WhatsApp Business, you may want to opt for the Cloud API directly to avoid a switch in the near future.

WhatsApp Business App, Cloud API or Superchat's unified inbox?

With the Cloud API, WhatsApp makes the business solution accessible to a wide range of companies. However, a major drawback of the WhatsApp Cloud API is that it lacks a user interface. Therefore, businesses will need to integrate the cloud API into their own systems.

WhatsApp Business API and more with Superchat

Superchat gives you full access to all the features of the WhatsApp Business API and Cloud API. Use the most popular messenger to improve your customer service or conduct targeted messenger marketing. With the Campaigns feature, you can easily send newsletters to your contacts and benefit from an open rate of over 90%.

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Marco Endrich
Marco Endrich
SEO & Content Marketing Manager, Superchat
Marco Endrich is a marketing manager at Superchat. He's specialized on SEO and content marketing.