Meta Opens WhatsApp Cloud API for Free!

In the past, upgrading the WhatsApp API’s advanced features required online merchants to pay a third party or WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSPs). These WhatsApp API solution providers, which can unlock auto-replies, one-click broadcast, multi-person login, etc, must be officially approved by Meta. Only partnering with WhatsApp API providers will enable more commercial communication features. These, however, are all history! All businesses can now access WhatsApp Cloud API for free, according to a statement from Meta (formerly Facebook).

Businesses will be able to utilize all of WhatsApp Business API’s features without having to pay for “Hosting” the API. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, announced in Q2 2022. Nevertheless, can the new Meta API truly displace the previously available, paid APIs?

This article will compare and contrast the most recent WhatsApp API from Meta with the available WhatsApp Business API  Solutions. Readers will comprehend how Cloud API will alter WhatsApp business communications, whether they plan or currently use WhatsApp Business API.

Further reading: 2022 eCommerce Trends: 3 Benefits of WhatsApp Business to Boost Your Store Sales

What is WhatsApp Cloud API?

Through the Business API platform, Meta has been generating more revenue in recent years. Conversations or messages have always been the primary means of billing merchants. According to the number of conversations/messages sent and the region, different rates apply. Since December 2021, many businesses have been using the “non-cloud version” of the Business API as WhatsApp’s commercial use gradually expands. Key industry giants like BMW, Vodafone, Iberia Airlines, and others are among them.

Cloud API for WhatsApp Business has been in beta since November 2021. Upon launch, merchants will be able to use WhatsApp Business API directly on Meta’s cloud servers. This implies that merchants can use Meta as a new communication channel to directly integrate WhatsApp Business API with their own systems (such as CRM).

According to Meta, the SME market is the target customer for this most recent “cloud” version of the API. This makes upgrading to use WhatsApp Business extensions simpler for companies all over the world. Additionally, it shortens the weeks-long process of opening the API to just a few minutes. Accessing the WhatsApp API is simple for any business or developer, who can then adapt the solutions to their particular needs. They can create a unique user experience, personalize it, and boost customer service effectiveness.

Mark Zuckerberg said that the new API could assist partners in reducing costly server fees. WhatsApp Cloud API offers customers speedy upgrades when new features are introduced.

If you are thinking about upgrading or are already using the WhatsApp API, here are some highlights of Cloud API: 

  • The WhatsApp Business API is typically only available to merchants through Meta’s BSP and partners. Whereas the Cloud API is freely accessible through Meta.
  • WhatsApp Cloud API can reduce or even eliminate WhatsApp Business API hosting costs
  • Developers do not need to obtain APIs through any third-party 
  • To reduce the time required to open an API account, merchants and developers can add new features directly on top of already-existing WhatsApp profiles
  • Using multiple devices, merchants can control conversations to handle a high volume of inquiries (up to 10 devices currently available)
  • Businesses can use WhatsApp to personalize links in chats to increase online presence and draw in more customers.
  • New features that are officially released are immediately available to merchants.
mark zuckerberg whatsapp cloud api

Differences Between WhatsApp Business Solution Enterprise API and Meta Cloud API (cloud hosting service)

Knowing how the Meta Cloud API differs from other WhatsApp Business API solutions is a smart idea. You can use the following comparison to clearly understand how internal APIs and cloud APIs operate and are utilized.

In addition to the free and open API, you may also want to know the difference between the Meta Cloud API and other WhatsApp Business API solutions available on the market. To learn more about the differences in operation and usage between Cloud APIs and internal APIs, you can refer to the following comparison:

Main DifferenceOn-premise API Meta Cloud API
Hosting Individual companies and/or through solution providers’ servers or data centersMeta server
Cost– Pay per message sent or per conversation
– Pay the costs of setting up and maintaining their servers.
– There is no cost to install or maintain a server.
– Charged with “Conversation-based pricing” 
API Protocol On-Premise REST APIGraph API 
Message throughput
(per second)
– Single connection can send up to 70 text messages per second
– Multi connection can send up to 250 SMS per second (sending media may reduce these numbers)There is no limit to receiving messages
Up to 80 messages per second of combined sending and receiving (inclusive of text and media messages) between one business number and many consumer numbers. There might be a drop in message throughput when the system is under a high load.

Starting from July 2022, WhatsApp Cloud API will support on-demand sending and receiving of up to 250 messages per second (including text and media messages).
Single-tenant vs Multi-tenant Single tenant (single phone number per deployment) Not applicable. Multiple mobile numbers can be registered in Cloud API.
Media Provider APISupportedTerminated. To upload media to the Cloud API, follow the instructions separately.

Mass broadcast, auto-reply, multiple logins, and other features of the WhatsApp extension are comparable to those available on the market.

Features of WhatsApp Cloud API

Businesses can gain access to new Cloud API features faster. The functionality of the Cloud API is now roughly equivalent to that of the WhatsApp Business API.

Functionalities include:

  • Using WhatsApp messaging in conjunction with other tools such as CRM, data analytics, and third-party apps
  • WhatsApp broadcasts and mass mailings
  • Chatbot for WhatsApp and auto-reply via third-party apps
  • Interactive messages such as quick reply buttons, link buttons, etc.

Fees for WhatsApp Business Cloud API

There is no additional charge for obtaining the WhatsApp Cloud API. Nevertheless, if users send messages via Cloud API, WhatsApp will continue to charge them based on the “conversation-based pricing” model. Furthermore, the conversation window is one “dialogue” per 24 hours.

  1. Business-Initiated Conversations: To start their initial conversation with a customer, businesses are required to use a template message. Conversation costs are charged every 24 hours for merchant-initiated engagements. If the customer’s last message to the merchant was sent more than 24 hours ago, the merchant will pay an additional fee. Each merchant-initiated conversation costs about HKD 0.57961.
  1. Customer-Initiated Conversations: If a customer initiates a conversation and the merchant responds within 24 hours, the customer will be charged a conversation fee. However, if the merchant does not respond to the client within 24 hours, the transaction is considered a “merchant-initiated interaction”, and the cost will be increased. Each customer-initiated conversation costs about HKD 0.174272.

Limitations of Cloud API (Cloud Managed Services)

Cloud API is undeniably appealing to a wide range of businesses! Meanwhile, like other APIs, it lacks a platform or application that businesses can use directly for WhatsApp Business communications. An application programming interface (API) is a link between WhatsApp Business extensions. It serves as the foundation for WhatsApp Business and other apps. The open API enables the enterprise to connect it to its internal system on its own. Furthermore, it does not imply that the enterprise can use the API’s functions directly.

A solution provider or platform is necessary if you want to connect your internal organization system to the Cloud API. You can also work with your developers and develop your own software.

More API solution providers may also directly combine with Cloud API servers in the near future. As a result, they can offer merchants with extra convenient and cost-effective API solutions.

If you want to learn more about the Cloud API, you can visit the official Facebook guidelines.

VIMOS is an automated sales dialogue platform. Our dedicated team can help you open WhatsApp Business API in real time!

VIMOS is an official Meta-approved provider of automated marketing conversations for WhatsApp, offering a secure and efficient WhatsApp API service.

The VIMOS platform works wonders for merchants. After officially becoming a VIMOS user, you only need to provide a phone number that can receive SMS, a Facebook Business Page, a valid business registration, and a company website. Following that, our team will assist you with the entire installation process! Without any programming knowledge, you can upgrade and use the WhatsApp API function.

Key features of the VIMOS platform include:

WhatsApp auto-reply after-sales service without waiting

  • Reduces waiting times, attends to customer issues immediately, and dramatically improves customer happiness and loyalty.
  • Chatbot to handle after-sales service  24/7
  • Automatic messages enable visitors to leave relevant information to increase response effectiveness independently.

Multi-person login to improve work efficiency

  • By designating the most qualified salesperson to handle inquiries whenever they arise, you can get around the bottleneck of customer service. Employees can carry on with business as usual even if they are unavailableMulti-person logins,  let team members take over conversations at any time
  • Real-time tracking of staff workload and conversation quality

WhatsApp broadcast remarketing without manually saving phone numbers

  • Add corresponding tags to guests to personalize messages, improve publicity efficiency and effectiveness, and broadcast messages in bulk with one click
  • Official WhatsApp Business API, reliable and safe from the account being banned
  • Add interactive buttons to broadcast content to improve affiliate promotion
  • Easily gather customer feedback

Further reading: Tips to Increase Customer Interaction via WhatsApp Broadcast

One-on-one live video marketing

  • Sales staff can quickly and thoroughly introduce products to customers through one-on-one video. Furthermore, sales staff can interact with customers anytime, anywhere!
  • Suitable for use in furniture, clothing, fitness equipment, and other industries.
  • Supports desktop and mobile versions

With VIMOS, you can provide a personalized experience for your customers while also expanding your online and offline business opportunities! Book a 15-minute demo with us and enjoy additional discounts, along with a free 7-day trial.

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