Using WhatsApp via the API

WhatsApp is now available to businesses by using APIs through a select number of official providers.

Why now is the right time to adopt WhatsApp

You should start using WhatsApp because:

  • Consumers are today autonomous in their buying behavior. They can enter the traditional sales funnel now at any stage, empowered by their own online or first-hand research. Not using WhatsApp is closing a door they are knocking at.
  • Personalised experiences don’t stop at a coupon code. Your marketing needs to extend further than pre-sale communications. With customer experience already overtaking product and service in terms of importance in some industries, post-sale communications and other engagement tactics should be considered marketing too.
  • It allows your customers to respond to alerts, reminders and notifications, and to receive them on their favorite messaging app is key to an impressive customer experience that will keep them coming back.

A study conducted in the US shows 33% of consumers would consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. (NYSE: AXP, 2017). Messaging channels like WhatsApp help brands beat negative sentiments that could potentially linger a lifetime.

Do more as a business with WhatsApp

WhatsApp...

  • Is the fastest growing communication app.
  • Has 450 million daily active users.
  • Has more monthly active users globally than any other app (2 billion).
  • Sees 60 billion messages sent per day.

As a simple, reliable, and private way to talk to anyone in the world, more than 2 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends, family and businesses, anytime and anywhere.

WhatsApp Business helps brands and customers connect quickly and easily with fast, simple, and convenient messaging.

Your customers are already using it. Reach them in real-time. Relieve strain on call centers and remove friction and formality from your communications.

  • Send rich content such as images, PDF confirmations, QR code tickets, help and support videos, and more.
  • Create powerful personalisation for maximum results by including custom data fields, such as name, location or even previous buying history. Generate an experience that both retains and skyrockets lifetime value.
  • End-to-end encryption protects your business and your customers. WhatsApp for business means your customers know they are speaking to a verified company, and that their data is secure.
  • Let dotdigital and our 20+ year experience of business messaging handle the integration process.

Uses for WhatsApp

WhatsApp is all about providing a good customer experience and facilitating conversations.

WhatsApp marketing limitations

WhatsApp does not support marketing in initial outbound messages to end-customers.

To get sending, businesses must send the first outbound message to a customer in a conversation or ‘session’ as a ‘highly-structured message’ (HSM). Don’t worry, these can be personalised with any data fields you require. The only limitation is that WhatsApp must first approve them before you send, something we will help you with along the way.

HSMs can include:

  • Alert Updates
  • Appointment reminders and confirmation
  • Issue Resolution
  • Payment Update
  • Personal Finance Update
  • Reservation Update
  • Shipping Updates
  • Ticket Updates

To learn more, check out creating highly structured messages for WhatsApp.

While WhatsApp does prohibit the sending of marketing messages in its HSMs, there are no restrictions on replying to customers, whether they are replying to a HSM, or autonomously. This means you can facilitate conversations that lead to sales, whilst creating a unique and great customer experience.

Whilst WhatsApp in the past has been used by some brands for outbound marketing, this has always sat outside of their terms of use, and the company are cracking down. You can normally spot these unauthorised uses as they depend on customer sending a message to initiate conversation, or saving the brand into their contact book making it harder to detect. Don’t worry, you can still allow customers to initiate conversations with you on WhatsApp, but unlike unauthorised cases, your use case as an official brand will not depend on it, and will allow you to send outbounds via HSMs also.

Using the WhatsApp API

Think of an API as the waiter in a restaurant. If you or your customers send a message (or make an order), the API waiter is the one who takes that information, communicates it with the kitchen (or backend) and retrieves your order or message in the requested format.

WhatsApp, when used legitimately, is available via API only. However, it’s not as technical as it seems! Our in-house knowledge base and your dedicated account manager will guide you through it every step of the way.

Before you start

The team will walk you through every stage of the process, but it would be useful to make sure you have your Facebook Business ID ready.

To be able to use WhatsApp you need to have a Facebook Business Manager account and know your Facebook Business ID. Check with your marketing team if you aren’t sure if your business uses Business Manager.

To learn more, check out locating your Facebook Business ID.

We then use this business ID to kick off the process of getting you approved.

Set up your WhatsApp API

Contact our sales team for one of our experts to walk you through this new and exciting channel. Once you’re happy, we’ll begin the WhatsApp Business approval process, to get you sending as soon as possible.

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