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The Definitive WhatsApp Business API Guide (2023)

Wondering how to use WhatsApp in your company? After reading this guide you will know everything about the WhatsApp Business API, it's benefits and how to get started.

  • Christina Wendt
  • 7/27/2023
  • 9 min Lesezeit
WhatsApp API - Advantages, Functions & News

WhatsApp is the most popular messenger worldwide. In the past years, the messenger has evolved and is used for more than private conversations. Meta has realized the massive potential WhatsApp brings to the table when it comes to the communication between companies and consumers.

This guide will answer the following questions:

  • What is the WhatsApp API?
  • What is the difference between the WhatsApp Business App and the API?
  • How to use WhatsApp in compliance with GDPR?
  • What are the benefits of using WhatsApp for customer communication?
  • and many more...

WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. Within a very short time, the app became one of the most popular short messaging services and was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014.

Several billion people use messengers like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Telegram every day. WhatsApp is the top dog among messengers, globally and in Germany. According to a study by Statista, more than 2 billion people worldwide and over 60 million Germans use WhatsApp every day. Every day, more than 100 million messages are sent via WhatsApp in Germany.

WhatsApp Business App vs. WhatsApp API

Currently, WhatsApp offers two solutions for business use: the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business API.

WhatsApp Business App

The WhatsApp Business App offers companies the possibility to use the messenger for communication purposes. WhatsApp Business can be seen as an extension of the normal app and is free to use.

The WhatsApp Business App is primarily aimed at small and local businesses. ‍With a WhatsApp Business account, text modules can be created for recurring questions or automated messages can be sent.

However, not all data security requirements are met, as WhatsApp accesses the address book and collects metadata, among other things.

Apart from that, the use is limited to a maximum of 4 other devices. In addition, WhatsApp Business cannot be used simultaneously with a private account on a smartphone. This is only possible if the phone has a dual-SIM feature or one of the numbers is a digital SIM.

Note: A normal WhatsApp account should not be used for customer communication.

The normal WhatsApp application is intended for private communication only. Just like the WhatsApp Business App, this version of the messenger does not meet the data protection requirements for commercial use.

WhatsApp Business API

The WhatsApp Business API or WhatsApp API was released in 2018 and enables companies to use the messenger in a DSGVO-compliant manner. Unlike WhatsApp Business, the API is not free of charge.

The use of the WhatsApp API is possible via a provider, must be verified via WhatsApp or Facebook and can only be used after confirmation.

Since May 2022, there is also the WhatsApp Cloud API. The WhatsApp Cloud API offers companies direct access to the WhatsApp API and is intended to simplify integration for companies.

This means that companies will be able to integrate WhatsApp themselves into their back-end systems in the future. While the API is accessible to every company, a certain technical know-how and engineering resources are required for the implementation.

💡 What is an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a programming interface that facilitates data transfer between systems. Via an API, different applications can communicate with each other in a fast and easy way.

Once activated, the WhatsApp business account is accessible via the respective third-party provider, for instance Superchat. This allows multiple users to access WhatsApp from different devices.

WhatsApp BusinessWhatsApp API
Best forSmall BusinessesAll Businesses
AvailabilityDownload for iOS & AndroidOnly via API provider
ImplementationAutonomousVia API provider
CostsFor freeDepending on provider
GDPR-compliant
For multiple users
WhatsApp Marketing
This might be interesting for you 📣

More about WhatsApp Business 👉 What is a WhatsApp Business Account?

What does the WhatsApp Business API cost?

The WhatsApp Business app can currently be used free of charge and is primarily suitable for individual users who want to use the messenger for business purposes.

The WhatsApp API, on the other hand, is not free of charge. It's important to note that Meta is setting the prices for messaging via WhatsApp and costs also differ among available messaging solutions.

Meta's last price adjustment was in June 2023. Meta introduced four new categories for the pricing: Marketing, Administration, Authentication, and Service. Prices for the individual categories range from €0.06 to €0.11 per conversation. All users of the WhatsApp Business API are affected by these changes.

To make it short: Meta charges per started WhatsApp conversation and the cost depends on whether it is a business-initiated or user-initiated conversation.

CategoryDescriptionTypePrice per started Conversation
AdministrationConversation providing essential information about customer accounts, transactions, orders, or other post-purchase updates.Business-initiated0,0707 €
AuthenticationConversation using one-time passwords or verification codes to access a customer account.Business-initiated0,0636 €
MarketingConversation featuring promotional offers or product announcements.Business-initiated0,1131 €
ServiceConversation started by your customers.User-initiated0,0679 €
Good to know 💡

Business-initiated conversations and user-initiated conversations are given a time window of 24 hours. Within this time frame you can send predefined WhatsApp templates or individual replies. There are no additional costs for messages within this time window.

Is the WhatsApp Business API in compliance with the GDPR?

Although the WhatsApp Business App was designed for small businesses, it is not compliant with the GDPR regulations due to various aspects. Only the WhatsApp Business API can be used by businesses in a GDPR-compliant manner.

Why is WhatsApp is facing criticism?

In order to protect people's privacy, the General Data Protection Regulation has been implemented in 2018. This agreement applies to all EU member states and regulates how personal data is handled.

WhatsApp collects a lot of personal data. This includes the profile name, phone number or location. In addition, the messenger app has access to metadata of individual messages. With this metadata, it is possible to track who sent a message to whom and when.

Apart from that, WhatsApp can access users' address books, store automatic backups unencrypted, and theoretically pass on data to the parent company Facebook.

The WhatsApp Business App is not fully compliant with the GDPR

As a business owner, you are responsible for both the collection and treatment of personal customer data. Although communication via WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, this does not make it completely secure.

Since WhatsApp Business still accesses metadata and contact lists, its use is problematic from a data protection perspective.

The WhatsApp API is the secure option

Despite criticism, many people continue to use WhatsApp. This makes WhatsApp an attractive communication channel for businesses. If you want to use WhatsApp compliant with the GDPR in your company, the WhatsApp API is the only solution.

Via the API, the issue of data protection is up to you and your WhatsApp API provider. The messenger can be used for communication with customers in a legally safe manner via a data processing agreement (DPA) and by implementing a number of other data protection measures.

We all use WhatsApp every day. That's why it makes sense to use WhatsApp for customer communication as well. The WhatsApp Business API is the best and most secure way to communicate with customers in compliance with the GDPR.

Profilbild Yilmaz Köknar
Yilmaz Köknar, CEO & Co-Founder Superchat

How to set up a WhatsApp Business Account

Accounts that are used via WhatsApp Business or the WhatsApp Business API are called business accounts. But how do you actually get a WhatsApp Business Account?

  • In order to use the WhatsApp Business API, the WhatsApp company profile must be verified via the Facebook Business Manager.
  • A phone number must be registered in the WhatsApp customer service channel. Here you can enter both a mobile number or a landline number.

As a Superchat customer, you will automatically receive a WhatsApp Business Account. The Superchat team will assist you with implementation and verification.

The WhatsApp newsletter... what is it?

Until December 2019, businesses could send bulk messages without any problems. Then WhatsApp announced the end of WhatsApp Newsletter for the time being. ‍Since mid-2021, companies can send push messages to customers again.

WhatsApp Marketing messages can only be sent out via the API and if the recipient gave their consent (opt-in) in receiving these promotional messages. Another requirement is the use of WhatsApp Templates. Before sending out the newsletter, the template has to be verified by WhatsApp.

More about WhatsApp & Marketing 🚀

Don't miss out on our new guide 👉 Conversational Commerce Guide (2023)

Is the WhatsApp Newsletter the same as WhatsApp Broadcast?

No, the WhatsApp Newsletter is fundamentally different from WhatsApp Broadcast. WhatsApp Broadcast is accessible to private users and users of the WhatsApp Business app and allows messages to be sent via so-called broadcast lists.

This function is not suitable for companies due to data protection concerns. The distribution of advertising content should only be managed via the WhatsApp API.

The benefits of using the WhatsApp Business API

For companies that view WhatsApp as an important communication channel, would like to use the messenger with several employees and value data protection, the WhatsApp API is the ideal solution.

WhatsApp is the most popular messenger worldwide. By using the WhatsApp API, you give your customers a digital way to get in touch with your company.

In addition to traditional customer service, WhatsApp offers plenty of options for use in other areas. The WhatsApp Newsletter allows for customer-oriented campaigns that are guaranteed to resonate with your target group.

Areas such as recruitment or sales also benefit from WhatsApp. Communication is accelerated and simplified.

The most important benefits of the WhatsApp API:

  • WhatsApp business profile with important basic information
  • GDPR-compliant use of WhatsApp Business
  • End-to-end encrypted messages
  • Use with multiple employees and across multiple devices
  • Creation of automated responses and message templates
  • Fast and uncomplicated response to customer inquiries
  • Sending out offers, information and more via WhatsApp campaigns

Get access to the WhatsApp Business API via Superchat

Superchat wants to make digital customer communication as simple as possible. Via Superchat's WhatsApp solution, companies can use the Messenger in a GDPR-compliant way to communicate with their target audience.

With Superchat, all messages received via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, email, Google Business Messenger, Telegram and SMS are bundled in one inbox. This gives you a comprehensive overview of all customer inquiries.

Want to know more? Do you have any questions about our product? Contact us easily and without obligation here via WhatsApp.

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Christina Wendt
Christina Wendt

Christina is one of our messaging experts and content specialist at Superchat. Besides communication and marketing related topics, she has an excellent knowledge of the Berlin food scene.