WhatsApp Business: Accounts & Features Overview (Jul 2021)

So what is WhatsApp Business and how did it come about? There was a time when WhatsApp costs 99¢ before it was acquired by Facebook for $19 bi

WhatsApp Business: Accounts & Features Overview (Jul 2021)

What is WhatsApp Business

So what is WhatsApp Business and how did it come about? There was a time when WhatsApp costs 99¢ before it was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion dollars. After the acquisition, WhatsApp became free and pledged to never have ads.

However, Facebook needed a business model to monetize its new gargantuan purchase. The answer? WhatsApp Business. Businesses were already using the regular app before Business WhatsApp exists, especially the use of WhatsApp Groups among salespeople.

For WhatsApp, it made sense for them to charge businesses to use the platform. And in January 2018, WhatsApp introduced WhatsApp Business.

Why is WhatsApp Business Important

With so many users on WhatsApp, it's hard to ignore the platform. In early 2020, WhatsApp hit 2 billion users, up from 1.5 billion users in Q4 2017. This is an amazing feat considering it’s approaching Facebook’s number at 2.7 billion users in Q2 2020.

But it's not just about the massive number of users - it's about engagement. WhatsApp users send about 65 billion messages per day, which is about 750,000 messages per second.

The Importance of WhatsApp for Business

Compared to traditional methods of reaching your customers like emails, 80% of messages sent to WhatsApp are seen within 5 minutes. In use cases where Business WhatsApp is used by universities, they have recorded a 99% open rate for messages.

Today, more than 5 million businesses are on the Business App and there are many more registered with an API account. For countries where WhatsApp is popular, it has become increasingly important for businesses to use the platform to reach their customers.

Where is WhatsApp Popular

With 2 billion users worldwide and being the most popular messaging app in 133 countries, WhatsApp is a great way to build relationships with your customers. But which regions actually benefit the most from using the platform for business?

Here is a simple rule of thumb. For Europe, Africa and Latin America you can expect WhatsApp is either a leader or has significant enough penetration that you should be targeting WhatsApp users in those countries.

Where is WhatsApp Popular Globally

The countries with the most WhatsApp users in descending order are India, Brazil, The United States, Indonesia and Mexico. As of 2019, India has 340 million users and Brazil has 99 million users.

Despite its popularity, there are also regions where WhatsApp takes the backseat. For instance, although the US is the birthplace of WhatsApp and has the third-highest number of users - the leading messaging app there is Facebook Messenger.

While other countries like Thailand, Japan and South Korea are dominated by regional apps like LINE and KakaoTalk. And in China specifically, WhatsApp has been blocked since 2017 and we don't expect them to lift the block anytime soon.

WhatsApp Business Basics

We’ve covered why WhatsApp Business is important, it's time to discuss the basics and how it affects the way businesses use the platform. To start, there are three key questions to consider before signing up for a WhatsApp Business Account:

  • Do WhatsApp Policies allow you to carry out your desired business activities?
  • What type of WhatsApp Business Account best suits your messaging needs?
  • Does using WhatsApp for Business fit within your desired budget?

In the following section, we’ll be answering these questions in detail. Let’s start with understanding the basics of Business WhatsApp Policy.

WhatsApp Business Policies

WhatsApp aims to provide a quality experience for its users. To ensure the platform remains safe and spam-free, businesses must abide by WhatsApp Business & Commerce Policy which protects users’ data and bans trading any illegal products & services.

WhatsApp Policies

In case you’re wondering what happens if you are caught in breach of WhatsApp's Policies, they can limit or remove your access to any WhatsApp Business Products indefinitely.

But let's assume you don't plan to break any laws and it is possible for you to carry out all your desired business transactions via WhatsApp. What's the next step? It's time to pick your WhatsApp Business Account.

Types of WhatsApp Business Accounts

This is where things get a little complicated. WhatsApp created two types of Business Accounts on WhatsApp - the WhatsApp Business App for small businesses and the WhatsApp Business API for medium to large businesses.

Business App Account

The Business App helps small businesses to separate their personal and work messages. Because it’s an app, businesses can easily reply to messages on the go. Outside of operating hours, businesses can also set automated greeting messages & away messages.

One Phone, One SIM Policy for App Users

To create an account, download the App onto a phone with a SIM card. Keep in mind, you will need a separate SIM card or number for Business WhatsApp. You cannot use the same SIM card as your personal WhatsApp account.

While getting started is as simple as downloading the app and buying a separate SIM, there’s also a downside to it whereby only one user to one device is allowed. Although, there is news that WhatsApp will soon allow up to 4 devices per app account.

Business API Account

WhatsApp API is made for medium to large companies looking to use the platform with multiple users for customer service & sales. Applying for an API account is a complex process and businesses cannot apply for the account directly from WhatsApp.

WhatsApp API: Account Application Available Via WhatsApp Partners (BSPs)

Instead, businesses must first apply for an API account with Business Solution Providers (BSPs) or also known as WhatsApp Partners. Essentially, they are the middlemen that give you access to WhatsApp API. Once approved, connect the API to a WhatsApp CRM like resala.io to start messaging.

Since the account is just an access to an API, the full potential of your account depends on your chosen BSP. The pricing for an API account also varies between different BSPs. We’ll discuss more on the pricing below.

WhatsApp Business Pricing

As mentioned, there are two types of WhatsApp Business Accounts - the Business App and the API. The amount you pay to use the Business Account depends on which account you create.

Business App Account

The WhatsApp Business App pricing is simple. WhatsApp doesn't charge for using the app, but there are some associated costs. You'll need a dedicated phone number because using the same number for personal and business WhatsApp is not allowed.

Nathan Harper

Nathan Harper

Co-founder & COO

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