The Facebook-owned communications platform WhatsApp has announced the rollout of their WhatsApp Business API, which will enable businesses to manage communications and send notifications and other non-promotional messages, such as appointment reminders, event tickets and more.
WhatsApp has emphasized that when using this new platform, the communication must be initiated by customer sending a message or requesting information. Moreover, the communications between the two parties will incorporate end-to-end encryption, despite traffic passing through an API. There is a cost to this service – the businesses can reply to these messages free of charge within 24 hours, while all the replies sent after this period will be charged at a set price.
Another useful feature of WhatsApp Business is that it will soon be possible to use the Facebook Ads Manager to add a “click-to-chat” button on Facebook advertisements, with a direct link to WhatsApp Business chat.
WhatsApp Business for Android was officially launched last January, with a goal of enabling the interaction between small businesses and their customers in a quick and easy manner. To date, WhatsApp Business has 3 million users, which is a small fraction of the 1,5 billion user base for the original communications platform. Nevertheless, this product presents a significant opportunity to monetize the top communications platform in the world, targeting corporate customers who will benefit from employing this API, and can afford the associated fees.