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WhatsApp’s Business API has become one of the best digital communication & customer relationship management tools available today. With a growing number of small & medium businesses from all around the globe looking to incorporate WhatsApp API into their business strategy, WhatsApp has created the Cloud API iteration to help them.
What is WhatsApp Cloud API?
As the name implies, WhatsApp’s cloud API is the cloud-hosted version of the business API. The cloud API is similar to the WhatsApp Business API and it provides most of the features & functionalities that the business application provides. WhatsApp’s cloud API was created with the goal of helping small & medium businesses get instant access to WhatsApp API at affordable rates. Similar to the business API, the cloud API charges businesses for the number of business-initiated conversations that they are partaking in. You can find more details about WhatsApp pricing by reading our WhatsApp conversation-based pricing blog.
Differences between WhatsApp Cloud API and WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp Business API & Cloud API have identical UX and a host of similar features/functionalities. However, there are some fundamental differences between them. Some of the main differences are listed below:
If you need further information about WhatsApp Business API, you can read All you need to know about WhatsApp Business API.
Features and Benefits of WhatsApp Cloud API
The WhatsApp Cloud API was created to help small & medium businesses expand their business strategy by easily integrating WhatsApp API solutions into their workflow. So, it provides several excellent features & benefits to businesses. Some of them are:
Businesses can get their WhatsApp Business API account verified directly through Meta for free. This allows them to integrate and manage their API accounts instantly without any roadblocks or delays.
No Additional Cost
If you integrate the cloud API, you won’t need to pay any additional installation or operational costs except the conversational pricing model. This allows businesses to concentrate their budget on additional fronts.
Less Resource Intensive
Since WhatsApp cloud API hosts all the application data on the Meta, they can rest assured that they won't need to add unwanted additional resources that some BSPs would require them to add. This allows for a much smoother API experience.
With the WhatsApp cloud API, businesses can get instant updates on API functionalities as soon as they become available. This allows businesses to stay on top of API changes without worrying about their BSP’s update procedures.
With the API hosted directly on Meta servers, businesses won’t have to worry about the security of their WhatsApp API information. The server will also help businesses to make sure that the applications stay up & running even during the peak of the season.
Related Topic: 13 WhatsApp Business Features you should know in 2023
The following is the step-by-step overview of how to apply & get started with WhatsApp cloud API.
Step 1: The first step is to connect your WhatsApp number to your cloud API account by clicking the ‘Add phone number’.
Step 2: In the next dialog box, fill the business information & click on Next.
Step 3: Add a phone number in the next box to connect your WhatsApp number with your cloud API.
Step 4: Verify your phone number with the 6-digit verification code that you’ll receive.
Step 5: Create a Facebook for Developers Account or log in to an existing account. Then, click on ‘Create App’.
Step 6: Select the Business app type and then provide the basic information about your business.
Step 7: Select WhatsApp from the list of Apps & click on ‘Continue’ to accept the terms & conditions.
Note: Facebook will create a new business account if you leave your Business Manager account unselected in Steps 2 & 3.
Step 8: In the next step, send a message to the business number (that you added in Step 4) from the test number that is provided.
Step 9: Once you verified your phone number, you can connect the WhatsApp cloud API with a BSP like Gallabox.
Step 10: To connect the cloud API with Gallabox, you need to choose Channels & click on ‘Add Channels’.
Step 11: In the dialog box, choose Gallabox and click on next. You can then continue the same process that you use to connect your WhatsApp Business Account. You can find the detailed steps in our How to open WhatsApp Business Account blog.
How does pricing work for WhatsApp Cloud API?
WhatsApp cloud API uses the same conversation-based pricing model as the business API account. In brief, the WhatsApp API pricing is calculated based on the two main types of conversations that businesses will undertake. They are
- User-Initiated Conversations
If a conversation is initiated by the users, they will be charged once for the user-initiated message. For the first 24 hours after the user initiates the conversation, businesses can freely converse with the customers and they will not be charged any additional price.
- Business-Initiated Conversations
If the business initiates a conversation through broadcast or starts a conversation after the 24-hour window, they need to use template messages. These template messages will be charged for these conversations.
Note: The first 1000 conversations for each month will not be charged.
The price also differs based on region. For a more detailed overview of the pricing, you can check our WhatsApp API pricing blog.
Limitations of WhatsApp Cloud API
While the WhatsApp cloud API provides several benefits for businesses, there are also several limitations to using it. Some of the most critical disadvantages include
Limited Market Availability
The WhatsApp Cloud API is newly launched and hence is not widely available in the market. Since many BSPs don’t have the infrastructure to host cloud API, you might need a good development team to benefit from WhatsApp Meta Cloud API integration.
No Hosting Assistance
One of the main advantages of using a BSP is the hosting assistance that they provide. Since WhatsApp chatbots are directly hosted on Meta, you might not get a custom user interface or comprehensive guidance on integration & maintenance.
The business API account supports 250 messages per second but the cloud API only supports 80 messages per second currently. While this limit will increase in the future, it might affect your business when it scales.
Reduced Customer Support
Another critical limitation of integrating the cloud API system is that you might not get the personalized support that BSPs provide. When you integrate the business API system, you can partner with a business solutions provider that’s based in your region. This allows you to get specialized support based on your region’s current market trends.
Certificate & Media Support
When you choose the cloud API system, you will not be able to manage your Certificate Accounts (CA) and Webhooks CA certificates. While this might not be a major limitation, managing your certificates will slightly increase your chat security.
The cloud API system doesn’t support the Stickerpack Management API, which allows you to manage first- & third-party stickers. Furthermore, media management is also depreciated when using cloud API.
WhatsApp Cloud API: FAQs
Will I get WhatsApp Cloud API for Free?
The WhatsApp Cloud API is free to use. You only need to pay the conversation-based fees. If you are partnering with a BSP, then you might incur additional charges depending on their pricing structure.
How will WhatsApp Cloud API affect businesses already using WhatsApp Business API?
The cloud API is directly provided by Meta, however, it only offers back-end hosting support and not a working front-end. This is similar to the business API system. Since the only difference is the hosting location, there aren’t any major advantages or disadvantages in using either of the applications. Since the major advantage of cloud API is its faster approval & integration time, there is little to no impact on businesses currently using the business API.
How will WhatsApp Cloud API make it easier for new people to apply?
Currently, the approval process for the business API lasts from a few days to a week. Since the process is also complicated, it dissuades several small businesses from using WhatsApp API. This fear is also compounded by the fact that some BSPs charge additional fees. The introduction of the cloud API will help small & medium business owners get access to WhatsApp API systems easily & reap the benefits that it brings.
Which languages does the WhatsApp Cloud API support?
The cloud API system supports all the languages supported by the business API system. However, the cloud API has a reduced messaging limit (80 messages per second) when compared to the business API (250 messages per second).
Which is better for you: on-premise or WhatsApp Cloud API?
This is completely dependent on your business needs. In our opinion, the cloud API can help you get access to WhatsApp API easily and integrate it faster. This is a clear advantage if you are a small business that is looking to improve your business communication. However, we will suggest you use the business API for a long-term advantage. The on-premise hosting and regional support that you get by using the business API can net you additional benefits and features in the long run.
Getting Started with Gallabox’s WhatsApp API
Now that we’ve briefly looked at the WhatsApp cloud API, it’s time for you to make a decision. If you are looking to integrate either the cloud API or the business API into your business strategy, you needn’t look further. As one of the leading WhatsApp workplace solutions providers in India, Gallabox can provide a smooth & hassle-free WhatsApp API integration. In addition, we also provide customized WhatsApp chatbot solutions that can further enhance your business communication. You can sign up now and get a free trial to check how Gallabox can boost your business revenue.