If you have a business located in Europe, South America, or Southeast Asia, adopting WhatsApp for your business may seem like a no brainer. Sadly, it’s more complicated than that.
Why? Because WhatsApp released two different versions of WhatsApp Business: the WhatsApp Business App and a WhatsApp Business API. And they made it somewhat difficult to switch between the two.
You’ll need to choose one of those options before you get started.
To choose between the WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API, you’ll want to consider three things: Company Size, Use Case, and Budget.
It may seem like a moot point, but there is a big difference between the app and the API. The WhatsApp Business App is just an app that you can install on your phone. Perhaps you can use a company phone and pass it around. But realistically, only one person will be able to use it at a time.
If you have a company where one person deals with all digital communications, the WhatsApp Business App makes sense. However, if you’ll need to pass one contact from one department to another, you’ll need to opt for the WhatsApp Business API.
We are all used to using emails for company communication over the web. It is relatively easy to use email for many use cases, even sending cold emails. On WhatsApp, that is not so simple, because WhatsApp limits the types of messages businesses can send.
Ever since Facebook launched Messenger marketing, people have wanted to use WhatsApp for marketing purposes. If that is your intention, you should go with the WhatsApp Business App. The app will allow you to broadcast marketing messages to up to 256 people at a time.
If you want to use WhatsApp for customer service, you’ll be able to use the app or the API. You’ll need to consider your messaging volume, of course. Because if it is high, you’ll be better off with the WhatsApp API, because you will be able to answer messages with multiple users.
Last but not least are transactional notifications. Wouldn’t it be great if you could receive your flight bookings and flight updates directly over WhatsApp?
If you have a business, you won’t want to send the updates manually over the app. You will want to send them updates programmatically over the WhatsApp Business API.
Last but most certainly not least is budget. It may surprise you to learn that WhatsApp sometimes charges companies to use WhatsApp for Business. The good news is that the WhatsApp Business App is entirely free. WhatsApp Business API pricing depends on the WhatsApp partner you get your account with.
Which Should You Choose?
The general rule of thumb is to opt for the app when you have a small company and opt for the API if you have a large company.